Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Marshmallow World

Our turkey (click here for yesterday's post) arrives tomorrow. With all that extra weight, it's finding it difficult to get airborne.

One of San Geraldo's family's traditional holiday dishes is their version of cranberry salad. I'll share the recipe later.

The recipe requires about six cups of cranberries. In past years in Spain, San Geraldo found containers of tiny cranberries for huge prices. About one cup of little cranberries for about €7. The price of that side dish would be too steep even by San Geraldo's standards.

This year, during a visit to Ana Crespillo's fruit market, San Geraldo discovered big bags of cranberries. Ocean Spray (the brand we always bought) from Massachusetts. They were less than €3 a bag, so he immediately grabbed two.


Given that the recipe comes from South Dakota, one of the ingredients is, of course, marshmallows. (It's a wonder they don't stuff their holiday turkeys with them!) Marshmallows are not a common ingredient around here. So, after San Geraldo struck out in his search, I decided to see if I had any better luck. I didn't find any in the first store I tried.

Store #2
I searched the shelves and then asked a cashier.  The conversation, all in Spanish, went like this:

"Hi. Do you have malvaviscos?"

Her eyes opened wide, she threw back her head, and said, "What?!?"

I told her they were called marshmallows in English.

"What are they?" she asked.

I explained that they were made of mostly sugar. They were white, usually. They could be little or large (hand gestures). And they were soft... "Like little pillows."

Her eyes grew even wider, "!Qué maravilloso! [how marvelous]," she exclaimed.


If At First You Don't...
I decided to give it one more try in the last store on the street.

"Hi. Do you have malvaviscos? They're called marshmallows in English."

The cashier said, "I've never heard of that."

So I repeated my description. "They're made of mostly sugar. They're usually white. They can be little or large (hand gestures). And they're soft... Like little pillows."

She gasped, "!Qué maravilloso!"

Later in the day, San Geraldo finally found a British version (very large and very pink) that will do in a pinch. But Judyshannonstreetwhat (click here) flies in from Seattle Christmas Day and I've asked her to bring a bag of mini-marshmallows if she can.

Then I'll have to head back to both stores so the women can sample our marshmallow world.


22 comments:

  1. Their response -- "!Qué maravilloso!" -- reminded me of an old Mexican friar (with Castilian pretensions) who often exclaimed, "!Qué milagro!" at just about anything. How nice of you to think about taking them a sample. Perhaps this will encourage them to stock malvaviscos in el futuro.


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    1. Michael:
      Not much call for malvaviscos around here. The English have them as a sweet (and don't cook with them). The Spanish shape them like Easter things and dip them in chocolate. I now know there are regional names and I used the wrong one for here... but they still don't have them!

      Delete
  2. Local cranberries are a 'mainstay' here at Christmas as well....minus the marshmallows.

    How lucky for SG to find cranberries! It just wouldn't be the same.

    I can just imagine the two store clerks sampling the marshmallows.....

    Have a wonderful Christmas you guys!

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    Replies
    1. Jim:
      And, hold onto your hat, I'M the one who "cooks" the cranberry salad. Stay tuned! Wishing your family a wonderful Christmas, as well!

      Delete
  3. Cranberries ~ yum ~ my Mom and I found cranberries near a bog area just off the beach many years ago ~ we picked until the cows came home ~ love those little red gems!
    Mom was a mini-marshmallow freak too ~~ you name it and there they were ~~ so filling!!

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    Replies
    1. Ron:
      I had no idea cows live in bogs in Nova Scotia. So glad they didn't come home sooner. I've been snacking on the pink marshmallows from England. They're just not the same!

      Delete
  4. I see a marketing opportunity in Spain. Marshmallows in a salad? Extraordinary!

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    Replies
    1. Andrew:
      I don't think it would catch on here. And wait until you see the "salad." Pictures to come later in the week.

      Delete
  5. I got a fabulous sense of joy hearing the way those women marveled at the idea of marshmallows.
    !Qué maravilloso!

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    1. Bob:
      Both women were so friendly and so funny. Can't wait to share American marshmallows with them.

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  6. We don't see fresh cranberries out here in the French countryside (Paris may have them). So I can't have my Aunt's special sauce, which is cranberries, sugar, and an orange all chopped to bits in a blender. Yum. I can't imagine marshmallows in it. Have a great meal! Enjoy "birdzilla!"

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    Replies
    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Your aunt's sauces sounds wonderful. Jerry also makes a delicious cranberry relish (that sounds similar), but this salad is something else entirely. Can't wait to share it. The turkey is here. It even fit in the elevator!

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  7. Mitchell I did not know this song.It is great.Merry Christmas from Poland. Gosia

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    Replies
    1. Gosia:
      Isn't this song fun?!? Were you familiar with the two singers on this video? Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra were members of what was known as The Rat Pack. Dean Martin had his own TV show and that's where this was filmed.

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  8. A world without mini-marshmallows? I can't even imagine. Merry Christmas.

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    1. Linda:
      Neither can Jerry, I think. We decided to live without whatever we couldn't find in Spain... except for mini marshmallows. (And I learned last night that we could find them here, too, if I had just asked the right person in the first place.)

      Delete
  9. What fun responses! You should get them bags of their own; why, you could start a new taste sensation.
    Cranberry salad with marshmallows? Sounds very, very interesting.
    I hope you and San G have a joyful time, eating all that turkey!

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    Replies
    1. Jacqueline:
      You won't believe the cranberry salad. Jerry's family calls it a side dish. My family calls it dessert.

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  10. I've never been a big fan of marshmallows but i imagine they will prove very interesting to people who have never seen them before. Merry Christmas

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    1. Stephen:
      The only time I ever had marshmallows when I was a kid was either in hot chocolate (cocoa) in winter or on a stick over a campfire in summer. Then I met the Midwesterners!

      Delete
  11. Merry Christmas! I can't wait to see the salad :)

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  12. Happy Christmas!
    I had the same experience trying to find suet in the Southwest.

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