My daughter moved to Brooklyn this fall and has been picking up a new vocabulary. Last night she was telling me that she and a roommate were making sugar cookies, and that New Yorkers call chocolate sprinkles “jimmies”. When she asked her roommate where the name came from, she said that it was from the term “Jim Crow”—which produced more questions than answers, in my mind.
The Wikipedia entry had this to say:
The origin of the name “jimmies” is unknown. It is first documented in 1930, as a topping for cake and although this may in fact be an error, the term “jimmies” became a popular name for sprinkles.
Though the Just Born Candy Company claims to have invented jimmies and named them after an employee, this is unlikely. The rumor that the name somehow refers to Jim Crow is also likely false.
I don’t expect to solve the mystery of the origin of “jimmies”, I just thought it was an interesting word and wondered if anyone else around here called them “jimmies”.