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Oliebollen day

Oliebollen day at the Post family

New Year's tradition: Rolling in dough of ‘oliebollen'

TUESDAY , DECEMBER 22, 2015 - 4:41 PM

The powdered sugar will be flying when the extended Post clan gathers to party on New Year’s Day.

And why not? It’s Oliebollen Day. 

Hazien Page will be frying up these small Dutch doughnuts by the dozens on Jan. 1 in keeping with an old family tradition.

Her siblings and their families — a total of 150 or more members strong — will feast on the doughy treats after they have been rolled in plenty of powdered sugar.

“There’s never any other kind of dessert — and the grandkids love it,” Judy Post, Page’s sister-in-law, said.

The making of the oliebollen began with Page’s two grandmothers, and then her mother, Geesjen “Jane” Post, as a traditional Dutch way to mark the new year. In Holland, the “oil balls” are deep-fried in homes or sold in bakeries or street stalls. Contests are even held to recognize the best recipes.

When Page’s mother died in 1967, the tradition could have very well passed away as well, if not for Page’s decision to try her own hand at cooking the balls of dough, with the help of her father, Balster Post.

“We fumbled through it together,” she recalled of that first effort.

Page was only 19 at the time, recalled younger sister Deena Dominguez of Ogden, but she stepped in to preserve a family legacy.

“My sister’s the one who always kept the family together,” said Dominguez, who explained Hazien finished raising her and became like a mother to her.

The doughnut tradition of this Utah family of seven siblings is not only about the food but also about the gathering with relatives.

“It keeps our family together; it keeps all the young kids intertwining with each other. … That’s the best thing about it,” said Eelje Kapp of Hyde Park, one of Page’s sisters.

Of course, the doughnuts are a hit too, with children and grown-ups alike.

“It’s just something you can’t find anywhere around here,” Nicole Hall of Plain City, a daughter of Page’s late brother, Henry Post, said.

Jake Post, 79 and the eldest of Page’s siblings, loves the fried dessert from the Old Country that he remembers his grandmother Hillechiena "Helen" Harmeina Wolthuis making.

“I can eat them any way,” with powdered sugar or not, the Salt Lake City resident said. “I can even eat them when they’re cold.”

If there’s one “rift” in this close-knit family, it’s over the raisins. Should the oliebollen contain raisins — as is traditional — or not, to appease the raisin haters?

“All my grandkids are telling (Page) to make more without raisins,” Judy Post said.

But Jake Post admits, “I’m a raisin guy.”

The New Year’s Day gathering used to be held at Page’s home in Roy, but nowadays, due to the ever-increasing size of the group, it’s held at a church with plenty of room for dinner and basketball.

As she cooked a batch of oliebollen at Judy Post’s home in Plain City, Page pointed out that the splattered pan that held the hot oil is the same one her mother once used.

Page doesn’t have a written recipe for the doughnuts; she just mixes the flour, milk, eggs, yeast, sugar, salt and raisins together by sight and feel.

“That’s how she does all of her recipes; she just does it till it looks right,” daughter Alison Stander of Roy said.

Madison Stander, Page’s 13-year-old granddaughter, was ready to learn how to make the treat, and Page told her, “Grandma’s going to show you the first one.”

She then used two large soup spoons to scoop up some dough, round it into a ball and slide it into the hot oil.

One of the tricks is to keep the ball smooth — no “tails” sticking out, Page said. When the orbs are cooked to a golden brown on one side, they will naturally flip over.

‘It’s harder than you think,” Madison said as she gave it a try.

Her cousin Carter Pritchett, 15, said he hopes this family ritual is something his generation can pass on “to our kids and our kids’ kids.”

“If we didn’t have the tradition, New Year’s would be boring and you wouldn’t get to spend time with family and stuff,” Kinsley Stander, 11, another of Page’s granddaughters, said.

Hall said she visited Amsterdam last summer and tasted oliebollen there, but said of her aunt’s recipe, “This one’s still better — much better.”

Eelje Kapp remembers hearing her mother tell stories about growing up on a boat in Holland. Her mother came to the United States when she was just 16 and settled with her family in the “Dutch Hollow” area of Ogden.

What would her mother think if she could see this huge crowd of descendants eating oliebollen on New Year’s Day?

“I think she’d be proud that we carried it on all these years,” Kapp said.

The children of Hazien Page and her siblings realize that one day, they will be the ones to spearhead Oliebollen Day.

“I want to carry it on,” Sidney Pritchett of Roy, one of Page’s daughters, said. “I just mastered (making) bread; I’m going to master this next.”

Owner of originalStandard-Examiner
Date22 Dec 2015
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