So, this morning I see this picture on Facebook:
… and it had this caption: ”Jimmies were first developed by Just Born Candy Company. Born briefly pondered that question before deciding to accredit the name to the producer, Jimmy Bartholomew. The new product was named JIMMIES.”
To be honest, I was glad. Throughout my youth we all called the little chocolate sprinkles that were applied to cakes and ice cream ‘Jimmies’. I grew up calling them Jimmies. I’m not sure if a local chain, Friendlies, called them that or sprinkles but I do know Brighams, the other local chain more convenient to us called them Jimmies. About 10 years ago though, my wife (who grew up in Maine … do they call them Jimmies there?) said they should all be called ‘sprinkles’ because ‘Jimmies’ was a racially derogatory name. She informed me that just as the colorful ones were sprinkles, they all should be called that because somewhere along the line someone started calling the dark brown ones Jimmies (referring back to the old Jim Crow laws). I had never given it much thought but it certainly made sense. I stopped calling them that immediately. How could I go on using such a horrible term?
What’s worse is that with my sweet tooth I had really enjoyed adding them to my ice cream. No, they aren’t premium chocolate and are more waxlike than anything, but any port in a storm and any excuse to add further sugar. To paraphrase WIlliam Shakespeare in Romeo and Juliet, would “a Jimmy by any other name would taste as sweet”? I’m not sure. Now, I rarely asked for them. It’s one thing to be a fifty year old guy ordering a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream cone with Jimmies, but to now order it with ‘sprinkles’? Then have to say, “No, not the colored ones. Just the chocolate sprinkles.”? I was ordering the cone sans anything more and more often. ;-)
Then came this morning’s revelation. A ray of hope. Could it be true? Named after a machine operator and not the derogatory slang that seemed so possible? I had to be sure so I visited Snopes.com to check it out, just in case. Sure enough, the racial slang has been pretty well debunked. It still doesn’t look good for Jimmy Bartholomew and Just Born as it appears the name was being used prior to their changing what they called them, but however they got their name it appears there is no racial connotation to it and they were likely named after some Jimmy somewhere. Now I have to get my kids asking for them by their proper name, Jimmies.
Yes, ma’am… JIMMIES ARE BACK.