Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Chocolate, Street Music, Crotches, and Invisible Friends


I am again well fed. Jerry served another delicious dinner New Year's Day and finished it off with Chocolate Custards (with a Citrus Cloud) from page 417 of "The New Spanish Table." Teré and Miguel were here and we all agreed (from the sounds we made) that this dessert was amazing.  I finally rolled into bed around 3 a.m. Two nights in a row! Last night, I went to bed at midnight.  I didn't get out of bed this morning until 10:45.

Despite our chocolate bliss, yesterday (2 January), Jerry and I both had a bit of the bah-humbug about us. We usually tire of "the holidays" by the first day of the year at which time, in the States, we were always relieved to finally take down the tree and pack up the decorations. However, the holiday is only just past half-way done in Spain on the first. We still have the Day of the Kings or Día de los Reyes (Epiphany) to get through on 6 January. The streets are even crazier this week with holiday shoppers since the Day of the Kings (and the evening before) is traditionally the time to exchange gifts in Spain, which makes sense since that's the day the Three Kings, bearing gifts, were said to have visited. So, we adjusted our attitudes last night and are back in the holiday spirit. We will get through this. However long it takes!

In the United States, it is not unusual to play "Secret Santa," whereby you draw a name and then anonymously buy a gift for the person whose name you've drawn. In Spain, it's called "Amigo Invisible" (Invisible Friend). Jerry and I are participating with our group of friends from the bar, La Perlita. We are looking forward to the exchange Thursday night when we meet at La Perlita to watch the Day of the Kings street festivities. It was suggested Friday of last week when we were gathered at La Perlita that we do the "Amigo Invisible." However, I had never heard of "Amigo Invisible" and thought Manuela, who suggested it, had said "Amigo Imbecile." Everyone found that entertaining. I also told Lola, who looked especially beautiful that day, that she was "the total package."  I said it in Spanish, which was a mistake. There is no such expression in Spanish, so what I basically said was she was the "total male crotch." THAT took some explaining. Lola played up her indignance, laughing at me the entire time. I'm sure I'll be hearing about it for years to come.

After breakfast at El Sanedrín this morning, I braved the crowds and went shopping for my Amigo Invisible. I enjoy shopping, but not during the holidays.  However, I endured and found exactly what I was looking for. And, on the way, I had the joy of being entertained by the great street musicians. It was enough to chase away any residual bah-humbug.


  1. Take down the "arbolito"? that is one task I refuse to do. Jonathan and his mom will do it but I have asked them to keep the tree up until Jan. 12 when my mom La Gran Dama Eloi returns from her trip.
    Other than that, I too get the blahs. I am seeking comfort in my blog instead.


  2. Our rule of thumb is that Christmas starts the first Sunday after Thanksgiving and ends the first available day and January 1.
    Our house is back to normal now.

  3. Amigo Imbecile sounds like much more fun... we must invent the rules immediately!

  4. Raulito:
    Truth be told, I can't remember the last time Jerry helped take down the tree and put away the decorations! But, January 12? I don't know if I could take it... well, maybe for La Gran Dama Eloi.

  5. Bob:
    Well, I'm glad someone's house is back to normal!

  6. The Owl Wood:
    Given some of the things I've said, Amigo Imbecile is more appropriate anyway.

  7. Good for you! I don't think I could handle the Holidays lasting past New Years. The decorations are still up and I'm just holding my breath until Fred takes them down in a few days. Then I can clean and be happy again.

  8. Mark:
    Jerry whispered to me today that "we" (read "Mitchell") could take down the trees now, but I said it wouldn't be right. So "we" (read "Mitchell") will do so after the 6th. Then "you" (read "Mark") can come and clean! (I only want to keep you happy.)

  9. That certainly looks fantastic. We also have a "secret santa" tradition, only ours is on Saint Nicks Eve, December 5.

  10. That long round of celebrations would take more stamina that I have, sounds fun though. Two chocolate custards with a citrus cloud, please - don't worry, I'll let George have one.

    I've just taken our decorations down, everywhere looks so bare now!

  11. Peter:
    I love the variations on the same traditions.

  12. Elaine:
    I should have confessed that I myself consumed not one but two chocolate custards the other night. Jerry's recipe ended up producing 5 and since there were only four of us and everyone else was rational, someone had to even things out.

    I'm looking forward to "bare"!

  13. My tree is down and the decs put away, but the Christmas wreath is still on my door. It looks so welcoming and cheerful, I don't want to part with it just yet. I'll leave it there a few more days.

    As for the choc custard - yes please!

  14. John:
    Well there's always dark chocolate, but then you miss out on all the deliciously sweet fat and calories. Anyway, you didn't miss a thing the other night. I lied. The chocolate custard things were awful and I was just being polite when I ate two. (And, from the recent pictures, I think you're an adorable bastard.)

  15. Judith:
    It's funny. I always left the wreath up a little longer. That didn't get on my nerves. As for the chocolate custard, don't believe a word I just told John. It was SO good.

  16. Chocolate Custard - now that sounds like a recipe I need.

    It is a good thing I don't live in Sevilla. I think I would bankrupt myself giving money to all those fantastic street entertainers. I wonder if after a certain amount of time you just become inured to them.

    You should turn all your new friends onto Chanukah - then you can REALLY stretch the celebrations out incorporating both holidays.


  17. Those street performers are rockin'...we love that kind of music. We've gone to the Jazz Festival here in the city in July and danced our asses/"oops sorry DD" off! I think the Spanish have it all with their celebrations! Mmm..that dessert...I actually had chocolate drizzled on my cake today!!

  18. Oh those Catholics!!! Love to draw things out! lol

    Oh those desserts! Hey Jerry, when you have a second......

  19. Oh yeah! Mitch, I love your new look here! Nice job!

  20. Tag:
    I probably should start monitoring how much money I'm tossing in those hats, guitar cases, and boxes. Every time I take a picture, I toss in some money; more for videos.

    And when Christmas and Chanukah don't overlap, 20 days of celebrations!

  21. sophie...^5(Ron, the birthday boy):
    That group today has incredible energy. Don't worry about The Duchess! That's my problem. (Anyway, I think "asses" are acceptable.) That dessert really was other-worldly. Jerry outdid himself again. Hope you are continuing to have a wonderful birthday!

  22. Jim:
    When you guys decide to visit Sevilla, I'm sure Jerry will be happy to prepare a special dessert for you. And thanks for the kind words about the new look. I just wanted a change. One of these days, I'll actually put my brain to work to create my own blog design. For now, blogspot templates and my own font and color adjustments will have to do.

  23. 'total male crotch' OMW that is the funniest thing I have read today. Glad you and Saint Jerry are out of your funk.

  24. The perils of literal translation! :-)

  25. Nubian:
    I'll bet no one has ever called YOU that!

  26. Will:
    I don't think I'll try it again.

  27. God, hilarious! I've made many verbal messes, but all have been in English. Once, I was on a date and he had promised to help me haul up a rug from the basement when we got back to my house. So, we were having wine on the sofa at my home and I wanted to make sure that he hauled up that sofa, you know? I could see that look in his eyes that meant that he was going swoop in for a kiss, so I quickly planned to say, "Wanna go down the basement and get that rug?" Instead, I said, "Wanna go down on me in the basement on that rug?" Yeah. I am THAT debonair.

    That dessert looks YUMMY. But, I'm already waddling around from too much Christmas fudge, so will be living on sugar free jello for a while...

  28. Maria:
    I do love this story, and I will remember to never offer to help you with anything in the basement.

    Ooh, fudge is one of my favorite things. I remember hitchhiking 70 miles to Niagara Falls when I was in school just to get some fudge at the base of the Rainbow Tower (obviously a serious case of the munchies -- and impaired brain processes -- was to blame).

  29. Hello Mitch, I've recently discovered your fab-u-lous blog. I can only echo the other comments on here drooling over THAT dessert. Shame it can't be mail-ordered!
    On the subject of language learning gaffes, a friend of mine ordered a prostitute in a pizzeria in SW France - something to with puttanesca getting lost in translation.
    Feliz ano nuevo

  30. Catherine:
    Thank you so much for finding me and for taking the time to say hello. I'm still drooling myself over that dessert. Unbelievably good.

    I don't know if you've yet seen another one of my gaffs when talking about donuts (http://mitchellismoving.blogspot.com/2011/11/chocolate-donuts-and-birth-control.html). I'm sure there are more to come.

    As for ordering a prostitute in a French pizza place, I've been told that's the place to go.

  31. Just finished listening to the street music - great stuff. Our street musicians in Truro have to be made of tough stuff as we don't have a Spanish climate by any means. Your chocolate indulgence loos good enough to die for. As for your gaff - enough said!

  32. the cuby poet:
    Supposed to be 23C (73F) today. Perfect day for the Day of the Kings Parade and lots more music on the streets. Jerry is cooking up his next Spanish holiday specialty and we're meeting friends this afternoon for Amigo Invisible. Open mouth, insert foot again I'm sure.

  33. what a greaaaat blog ,love your blog =) follow

  34. Damon:
    Thanks so much for visiting. I hope you find a lot of interest here. I look forward to catching up on my reading at your site!


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