I’m not a magician. San Geraldo, however, has the ability to magically change (presto change-o) both Spanish and English into languages that are difficult to understand. Today after breakfast, we walked over to Triana’s Public Market to see if we could find a couple of the spices San Geraldo needs to make his Norwegian holiday pastries. We were looking specifically for star anise and bitter orange. We found star anise — the most aromatic star anise, but no bitter orange, which San Geraldo will concoct on his own (since we’re surrounded by trees loaded with bitter oranges).
|OUR STAR ANISE (ESTRELLADO). CAN YOU SMELL IT? IT’S MAGNIFICENT.|
Last year, we bought an enormous, solid marble mortar and pestle, because San Geraldo was sure he would need it for all the traditional Spanish meals he was going to prepare. He’s used it once. So, he was very excited as he held the star anise in his hand and said, “Now I can use my pesto!”
|“PESTO” A LA SAN GERALDO.|
I had a major compliment when we were shopping today. After we found the star anise, San Geraldo walked up to another spice counter and asked the woman (in Spanish) if she spoke English. She said (in Spanish), “Not a word.” I then stepped up and told her that we were looking for dried bitter orange. She said she only had sweet oranges. I explained that we needed it for Norwegian Christmas pastries and she laughed. She then said, “You speak perfect, proper Spanish! Better than I do! Why did you ask if I spoke English?” Flattered, I thanked her and explained, “He cooks. I speak.” I guess my Spanish has improved.
The other morning when we first saw Adela at El Sanedrín, I asked her how she was doing and she surprised me by responding, “Uf. Estoy constipado.” This was a bit more information than I had been prepared for, but then I suspected “constipado” was not the Spanish form of the English “constipated.” Maybe it had to do with having a stuffed up nose instead. I asked her to clarify. Yes, it was a stuffed up nose. Allergies, the weather, perhaps a cold, but not constipation. And she was appalled when I told her that’s what I thought she was talking about. full-voice, across the bar. “Hombre, por favor,” she said. (Man, please.)
|I MAY BE ALLERGIC TO JUNIPER (IT MAKES ME CONSTIPADO).
HOWEVER, PAULA, MAKES THE MOST DELICIOUSLY FRAGRANT AND ARTFUL GIN TONIC.