|From Coisas Minhas|
We sent this postcard to A. and R. in Portugal. They had a beautiful daughter some weeks ago. ;-)
Beschuit met muisjes or "biscuits with little mice" (that we see in the postcard) is the traditional cookie served to the relatives and friends who come to meet the new baby born.
These muisjes are sugared anise seeds. White and pink, if it is a girl; white and blue, if it is a boy.
These biscuits are round and prepared by baking a small cylindrical bread, cutting it in half and baking a second time. They are spread with butter or margarine. The muisjes (lit. 'little mice') are sprinkled on top.
When a child is born in to the Royal House of Orange (the rulling Royal House in the Netherlands), we see orange muisjes being sold in the bakeries.
The tradition of celebrating a birth with beschuit met muisjes goes back to the 17th century when it was thought that the anise was good for the mother’s milk, would ease the contractions in the womb and would drive away evil spirits.
The name ‘muisjes’ was derived from their resemblance to the shape of a mouse, with the stem of the anise seed resembling a tail.
Beschuit met muisjes was originally eaten only by the upper class. The lower classes celebrated a birth by eating white bread with sugar on top.