Giants love jimmies, too.

I’ve never liked sugar as a topping, not even confectioners’ sugar. But I do like candy, especially jimmies! Out here in Los Angeles they call them sprinkles.

giant with hot fundge sunday and sprinkles
"Uh oh, we're out of jimmies. (Or sprinkles, for you weird people.)" ©D. Barstow 2012

I like them especially on ice cream, but on a sugar cookie or other interesting place they’re also good. I prefer all chocolate.

Here‘s a whole forum on jimmies, in Boston, and Boston does know its ice cream. (favorite flavor in Boston? Coffee.)

Someone at school told me that jimmies is actually a ra-cial slur related to the Jim Crow laws (‘course, she was from Jersey)…anyone else heard this?

I hope not! I never heard that before. More comments ideas, below.

Yeah, I’ve heard that they’re sprinkles if they’re multi-colored, and jimmies if they’re chocolate, because it was slang for Jim Crow. And even if it’s not true, enough people around think it’s true, so I call them all sprinkles.

Noooooo guys! You’ve got it allll wrong! The chocolate sprinkles known as, “Jimmies” were started in the Boston area a number of years ago. The reason for calling them Jimmies was because each time a person put these chocolate sprinkles on their ice-cream, the money spent on the sprinkles was donated to the Jimmy Fund. Hence, they started calling the chocolate sprinkles “Jimmies.” I am not sure whether the money is still donated to the Jimmy Fund, but the act of kindness still lives on as the name “Jimmies” still continues.

dog bone sprinkles

Found these  DOG BONES Sprinkles, so cute!

The Philadelphia Inquirer had this article on jimmies, which is no longer available online:

“What came first? The Jimmies or the Sprinkles? “The beloved jimmy could be lost A sprinkling of history for a name that’s melting away. By Michael Vitez Inquirer, Columnist

Which came first, the jimmy or the sprinkle? Evidence suggests the jimmy. A far more important question for local readers is: Which will endure? Sadly, the sprinkle.

The jimmy – at least as a piece of slang, an expression of local flavor – is doomed. “If it’s not a dead term, it’s a dying term,” said Peter Georgas, vice president of Can-Pan Candy [Warning: really terrible Flash setup there], the Toronto-based company that sells a million pounds of sprinkles every month.”I will rarely, rarely get on the phone with somebody who asks me for a jimmy,” he said. “And if someone does ask me for a jimmy, he’s an older man.”The fact is that jimmies and sprinkles are the same thing, which is almost nothing, a wisp of sugar, oil, emulsifier (don’t ask!) and coloring.

But by any name, the world consumes about 50 million pounds a year, according to an industry expert – about 1.3 trillion sprinkles or jimmies, give or take a few hundred million. Mostly, they’re sprinkled on ice cream. But if laid end to end, they would stretch 2.3 million miles, enough to circle the Earth nearly 100 times. This region – from Philadelphia to the Jersey Shore – historically has been jimmies territory.Jimmies – not sprinkles – have been on the menu for 53 years at the Custard Stand on Ridge Avenue in Philadelphia.

“I don’t bother people who call them sprinkles,” said Vince Joyce, 21, a jimmies loyalist and employee for seven years. “But if you call them shots or dots or ants or black beads, I say something: ‘You mean jimmies, right?’ ”

Right across Ridge Avenue, at rival Dairyland, jimmies have been on the menu since the establishment opened 30 years ago. The present owner, Michael Kiedaish, 32, grew up with jimmies and says he will never change: “When someone tells you that something’s a jimmy, it’s a jimmy.”

But hints of extinction are everywhere, even in his own store. “The college people… they’re all sprinkles,” said Laurie Taylor, 23, who has worked the counter at Dairyland for eight years. “And the yogurt people are sprinkles. And kids all say rainbow sprinkles because it sounds more fun.”I grew up saying jimmies,” she confessed, “but from working here so long, I’ve started calling them sprinkles.

“Sprinkles are encroaching everywhere. Old reliables like Kohr Brothers on the boardwalk in Ocean City are holding firm with jimmies, but upstarts like Ben & Jerry’s on Rittenhouse Square? Sprinkles.At Daddy-O’s Dairy Barn in Mount Laurel, owner Rob Cotton grew up in Northeast Philadelphia calling them jimmies, but on his menu he lists them as… sprinkles! “The distributors all call them sprinkles, so that’s what I put on the menu board,” he said.

“This is the No. 1 question: Is there a difference? And where does the name come from? I must hear that three or four times a week.”
Here is some history:Back in the 1930s, the Just Born candy company of Bethlehem produced a topping called chocolate grains. The man who ran the machine that made these chocolate grains was named Jimmy Bartholomew.

“Thus, his product became known as jimmies,” said Ross Born, the chief executive officer. He was told this story by his grandfather and company founder, Sam Born. Just Born registered jimmies as its trademark, and continued producing jimmies until the mid-1960s – which is why the name was so popular here. The trademark expired and soon after, Just Born stopped making jimmies.This account, however, has been disputed.

The Boston Globe investigated the origin of jimmies last winter after a reader inquired about a rumor that the term originally was racist – the idea being that some people refer only to chocolate ones as jimmies, and rainbow ones as sprinkles. Perhaps, the reader surmised, the word descended from Jim Crow. The Globe found no evidence of this, but did cite a commentary in 1986 on National Public Radio by the late Boston poet John Ciardi, who claimed: “From the time I was able to run to the local ice cream store clutching my first nickel, which must have been around 1922, no ice cream cone was worth having unless it was liberally sprinkled with jimmies.”

Ciardi, the Globe said, “dismissed Just Born as claim-jumpers looking to trademark someone else’s sweet inspiration.” His jimmies had come first. The truth may never be known.But what is undeniable, according to industry experts, is that jimmies gradually gave way to sprinkles, a more vivid and appealing name.

For example, a world leader in sprinkles is QA Products outside Chicago. It started making sprinkles 10 years ago – under the brand name Sprinkle King. When Vince Joyce of the Custard Stand on Ridge Avenue gives his customers jimmies, he gets them from a Sprinkle King box. For the record, a chocolate sprinkle includes cocoa and offers a faint chocolate taste. But all rainbow colors taste exactly the same, which is to say, have virtually no taste. This was confirmed by Kasey Dougherty and Kathleen DeMichele of the Dairy Queen in Ocean City.

On a rainy day last summer, they conducted a taste test – blindfolded.Neither could tell pink from yellow from green.”Nobody gets rainbow sprinkles for the flavor,” Dougherty said. “They get them for the colors, and the crunch.”

Full disclosure: I’m from near Philadelphia. Jimmies it is.

Hmmm. Chocolate Vermicelli instead?? Never heard of it. Amazon readers seem to like it, however.

Also: I would have loved to have included this quirky cartoon in my chocolate book, but the title is “What do Women Really Want? Chocolate!” So I had to leave this manly one out. I’ll include it in my “What Do MEN Really Want?” book. The answer to that is chocolate, too, of course.

Um, do I have that answer right?

This is a very odd cartoon, and is the only giant I’ve ever drawn. But who doesn’t like a little fantasy with their ice cream?

Sprinkles! Sprinkles! Sprinkles! ( has more to say on this important subject.

I also used this cartoon in my cartoon blog, for Illustration Friday, for a topic that had to do with sugar. This is close enough.

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