Coloured sugar strands commonly sprinkled on the top of fairy cakes, trifle and other kinds of food served at kid's parties. A much beloved part of my childhood and many others, I suspect. Almost certainly full of E-numbers capable of inducing hyperactivity in any child they come in contact with. Related to those wierd silver balls that break your teeth when you bite into them.

A rare instance of the singular occurred in the respected toilet-humour magazine Viz. Writing about a waif-thin teenage supermodel who was denying that she had anorexia, she made the obligatory disclaimer that she had a hearty appetite, and "tucked into a hundred and thousand".

Strictly, hundreds and thousands are spherical, and the cylindrical ones are called sprinkles or dollars, but obviously the noders above and below me reflect a common usage.

Hundreds and thousands sandwiches are the only known use of white bread. It must be white with its horrible plastic chemical taste to bring out the sweet texture properly. Usually it is buttered to enable them to adhere, but I have to recommend, if only as a test of perversity, the unbuttered inch-thick hundreds and thousands sandwich, sealed at the edges with finger pressure only.

Then I grew up.

Known in the US as sprinkles and in Holland as hagelslag (yes, really), hundreds and thousands are tiny cylinders of artificially colored candy, usually each about half the size of a grain of rice.

Hundreds and thousands are usually sold in mixed colors, but it is also possible to buy them in single colors and in some flavored varieties, notably chocolate. They are usually used to decorate cakes and cookies, but in Holland chocolate hagelslag are sometimes eaten on bread for breakfast along with coffee. This is not the most healthy way to start the day, and it has the added disadvantage of being addictive, since very few things can replace the pure sugar and caffeine boost that this combination supplies.

The main ingredients of hundreds and thousands are sugar, artificial coloring, and sometimes, as noted above, artifical flavoring. I'm sure there are other ingredients in there but, surprisingly, I have been unable to find a comprehensive list anywhere online. If anyone can /msg a list of them to me, I'll add them here. Otherwise I'll have to buy some, and I don't want them in the house; I might start eating them for breakfast.

Many thanks to ThePope for supplying the correct spelling of hagelslag.

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