Surely Meatballs

When I began to study Spanish in the 7th grade at Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island, we listened to Spanish conversation records.

A record was a round, flat, hard vinyl thing with a hole in the middle and spiral grooves on the surface. It played music and recordings when a needle was touched to it. I’m not making it up. I swear.

Anyway, the record, which I think was produced by Linguaphone in Rockefeller Center, began with a boy called Juan saying, “Hola, Isabel. ¿Como estás? (Hi, Isabel. How are you?)

I remember little after that opening until a conversation about what Juan’s mother was serving for lunch. Isabel asked and Juan responded sadly, “Seguro que albóndigas.” (Surely meatballs.) I guess Juan’s mother made meatballs all too often. For some reason that one phrase has always stuck with me and, whenever I have albondigas, it comes to mind. So, what did I have for dinner Tuesday night at Meson Salvador? Happily, !Seguro que albondigas! 


I used to vary my order at Meson Salvador. But I hadn’t had their albondigas for a long time and they’re exceptional. However, instead of his usual (every single time without varying) bull’s tail and French fries, the ever-slimming San Geraldo, now 40 pounds/18 kilos lighter (What a man!), had a new-to-the-menu grilled seafood and vegetable skewer (with more grilled vegetables on the side). It was beautiful and delicious.


San Geraldo’s diet has been of tremendous benefit to us both. I usually eat very healthily along with him. And, since he’s no longer drinking any alcoholic beverages, I get both complementary after-dinner drinks wherever we go. It’s not easy, but it’s a sacrifice I’ll continue to make for San Geraldo’s well-being. What a man!


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

36 thoughts on “Surely Meatballs”

  1. I had a Linguaphone Spanish course too (though on audio cassettes). I think the meatballs references must have been cast aside in subsequent updates of the course.

    Sorry to hear about your 'ordeal' in having to down TWO G & Ts. But duty first, right?

    1. Raybeard:
      I couldn't possibly have downed two G&Ts. I'd still be asleep on the floor at Meson Salvador. So, I only had one G&T but followed that with two glasses of liquer of some type (kind of like limoncello). Still, I am all about doing my duty.

  2. What a man you are!!
    In Canada we all took French lessons from grade 7 to grade 12 and I am embarrassed to say, having a French name as well, that I couldn't carry on a conversation en Francais if my life depended on it!
    You on the other hand…..
    I have to admit that San Geraldo's meal looks more appetizing and congrats to him for losing 40 pounds! YEOW! What a man!

    1. Jim:
      I studied Spanish for the same number of years (French for a year before we left Long Island; I can remember more of that conversation record… between Georges and Jean). Before moving here, my Spanish probably wasn't any more competent than your French.

      The meatballs are unbelievably good there, but I agree that San Geraldo's meal looked so much better… except for those damned langostinos that you still had to "cook."

      The slimmer San Geraldo looks and feels years younger. He even lost 3 pounds while in NY. Really dedicated. Like you (and I… and Salt-n-Peppa and En Vogue) said, "What a man!"

  3. I think that some variety of meatballs must be found in every country just like tortilla-type breads which seem to be universal. However, here in the Midwest, we eat our meatballs with mashed potatoes and our "tortillas" are called lefse. The grocery stores carry lefse during the Christmas season. It's wonderful eaten with gobs of cold butter and a little sugar and rolled up, accompanied by hot coffee!

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      And the meatballs really are different. Oh, but, lefse!!! We love it. We brought it back from Norway with us. We've had it shipped from Ballard, Washington to California and Nevada. We've filled our freezer with it. In Bergen, we had a veyr special Christmas lefse with raisins (and then smothered of course in butter and sugar). Oh, I'm fantasizing about it now. (But it's not on Jerry's diet… especially not in the quantities WE consume!)

  4. I misread the post title and thought it aid, "Surly Meatballs."
    i was hoping for some kind of Albóndigas Food Fight.

    And aren't you the champion enduring the double after dinner drinks?

    PS My favorite soup is Sopa de Albóndigas

    1. Bob:
      Surly Meatballs. I like it. I THINK that would be HOSCAS ALBÓNDIGAS.

      Yes, I call Jerry "San" Geraldo, but really I'm the true saint. On our recent flights, among the many sacrificed I made I forced myself to drink his wine, and eat his chocolate mousse and his cheesecake. There's no end to my sacrifices.

  5. Records? Oh yeah . . . I think my grandparents had one of those (at least that is what my students say when I speak of such things). Actually I stunned them this morning by telling them that I watched the Landing on the Moon on TV when it happened.

    I remember the linguaphone records but the closest I got was cutting out the fancy stylised figures in national costume that usually adorned the brochures; and decorating my school folders with them…

    For a minute there I thought those were IKEA meatballs and french fries. . .

    1. Kirk:
      It's still a surprise to me when I talk about something with someone I think of as my contemporary and they tell me they weren't born yet.

      I had IKEA meatballs and fries once and was surprised at how good they were. But these are definitely Spanish meatballs. Very different and so good.

  6. Diets never work until they change your life. Then there's no looking back.
    What a trooper you are for helping out with those drinks and deserts.
    Sometimes you have to take one for the teem.

    1. Stew:
      You're so right about diets. For many people, getting started is hard but seeing the first progress is all the motivation they need. As for being a trooper, yep, I'm nothing if not self-sacrificing.

  7. Like Bob, at first glance I thought it was surly meatballs and I wondered what the meatballs were upset about. And I read Ms Sparrow's comment about lefse, which I had never heard of, so of course I had to consult Google…and found a recipe upon which I am about to embark So your blog is very educational!

    Kudos to San Geraldo on his very impressive weight loss, and to you on your self-sacrifice…TWO after dinner shots! The things we do for our loved ones!

    1. Judith:
      And now I can't look at the title without seeing "Surly." I like it.

      Lefse is so good. But I've never known anyone who makes it themselves. It's apparently not easy to get it just right. I hope you have great success.

      I even had to eat an entire piece of chocolate cake in New York, because San Geraldo could only eat one bite. It's hell.

  8. OK…diet time confidential….this man needs some 'splaining! He needs a REWARD of some kind doncha think?! So happy for Jerry! Now lookee you have all the extras and whatever!!

    Monsieur Mitchell et Jerry! Vous me faite sourire!! (if you want to be polite, like for older people and for strangers)….LOL!!

  9. San Geraldo — he da MAN!
    Great thumbs up for delicious-looking healthy eating.
    My 7th grade French class (with Miss Capacola, who married Mr. Siccola…yes, I lived in New Jersey) used a film strip and, as I'm SO much younger than you, a reel-to-reel tape 😉 "Où est-ce que vous habitez, Jacques?"

    1. Judeet:
      I love those names! Reel-to-reel was so "modern." I received a huge machine from my father for my 13th birthday. Had a ball with it for years before moving onto the even more modern technology of cassettes. (So, where did Jacques live? Hoboken?)

  10. Sometimes it seems all you guys do is eat! And it all looks sooo delicious and San Geraldo loses weight even while indulging in all that great food! Envy,
    Oh, and I do remember those black vinyl discs with music on them…got some in the closet.

  11. Got rid of my vinyls and all of the electronics involved over a decade ago.
    I do miss some of my classical music though…
    I still remember my German Teacher, a real German woman,
    Solveig Namy. She was a tough one, but most likable nonetheless.
    I'd say know to that meatball plate
    but the seafood and veggies look gorgeous and tasty.
    That;s much more to my liking!!
    So sorry for your predicament though,
    being stuck with so many drinks.
    Must be hell for you.
    Your sacrifice is admirable!!

      My first Spanish teacher was Mr. Goldstein. I don't think he was a native speaker. My final Spanish teacher was Sr. Moncayo. He made us read Don Quixote in Spanish; I barely understood in English!

      Thanks for your empathy. My life is one big sacrifice.

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