|Place of origin||Denmark, Sweden|
|Main ingredients||Oatmeal, sugar, coffee, cocoa, butter|
The oatmeal ball is usually slightly smaller than a golf ball and consists of oatmeal, sugar, cocoa, vanilla sugar, butter, and sometimes a small amount of coffee (some like to mix in a splash of cream to make them creamier and softer), which is mixed to a compact mass. Balls are formed and then rolled in shredded coconut, or sprinkles. The oatmeal ball can be eaten immediately, but it is usually first chilled in a refrigerator.
Because of its simple recipe, it can be quickly made by anyone and is popular at children's parties and as homemade candy.
Another similar confection is popular in Austria, especially around Christmas time. It's called Rumkugel (pl. Rumkugeln). It consists of the same ingredients mentioned for oatmeal balls with the addition of a small amount of rum.
The oatmeal ball was most likely invented during World War II, where because of the rationing, there was a limited supply of wheat flour, which caused many to look for substitutes. In 1943, the Danish Nationaltidende published a small booklet for housewives called Ingenuity in a time of crisis (Danish: Opfindsomhed i en krisetid), wherein the recipe for havregrynskugle was found. There is also an classified ad for a konditorei product with the name, negerbollar, from 1918 in the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. Although the content is unknown, they are described as "chocolate-coco" and are sold in boxes of 300 at 1.5 kilograms (3.3 lb).
Names in Swedish
One traditional name for the pastry in Swedish is negerboll ("negro ball"). Due to possible racist connotations, this name has fallen out of favor in recent decades, with chokladboll (chocolate ball) now being the most commonly used name. When made with shredded coconut, it is also known as kokosboll (coconut ball). The term kokosboll has been in use longer than the term negerboll.
The appropriateness of negerboll as the name of the pastry has been the subject of media debate, intensified by neger now generally being considered an ethnic slur, having undergone a similar change in tone to English negro. Chokladboll was first added to the Swedish Academy's glossary Svenska Akademiens ordlista in 2006, with only negerboll being listed prior. In the 13th (2006) edition, the pastry can be found under both names, with a comment that chokladboll is the recommended term. In the 14th edition (2015) negerboll was removed.
In mid-2003, a bakery owner from Sjöbo was reported to the Swedish Ombudsman against Ethnic Discrimination for using the word negerboll on a sign in her bakery shop. However, the case was dismissed since the person reporting it did not consider herself personally insulted.
Note that the Danish word negerbolle is a similarly dated term for a different confection, namely the flødebolle.
- Swedish Phrasebook. Eton Institute – Language Phrasebook. Eton Institute. 2013. p. pt20. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Palsbo, Susanne (1943). Opfindsomhed i en Krisetid : en Haandfuld Rationeringsopskrifter og aktuelle Husholdningsraad (in Danish). Copenhagen: Nationaltidende. p. 62.
- "Negerbollar". Svenska Dagbladet. 8 July 1918. p. 14. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
- "Vi jular gott". Svenska Dagbladet. 14 December 1943. Retrieved 15 November 2018.
- "'Negro ball' scrapped from Swedish dictionary". The Local. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 29 January 2017.
- Page 611 in Svenska Akademiens ordlista över svenska språket, 2006
- "Nu tas "negerboll" och andra kränkande ord bort ur ordlistan" (in Swedish). Aftonbladet. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
- Page 869 in Svenska Akademiens ordlista över svenska språket 2015.
- "Negerboll kan kränka enskild" (in Swedish). Svenska dagbladet. 24 January 2004. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
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