Apricot shoe leather / Cuero de zapato de albaricoque

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

DO YOU REMEMBER APRICOT ROLL-UPS before there were packaged apricot roll-ups? We called it apricot shoe leather or, simply, shoe leather, but apparently others might have called it apricot fruit roll. The thin sheets of sweetness came in large rolls at the deli (at least I think it was the deli), just like the butcher paper, and you’d simply tear off the amount you wanted. No preservatives. Less sugar. And completely unhygienic in its presentation and purchase. I haven’t seen it since the ’60s.

I was remembering this when Luke enjoyed a fruit roll-up Thursday afternoon. Ever since, I’ve been craving the original, which I remember buying for myself on Brighton Beach Avenue in Brooklyn. None of the packaged versions I’ve tasted can compare to the memory of tearing off a huge sheet myself (more than my mother would allow) and walking down the street. I wish I could find a picture. In my search, I found recipes and, I have to admit, I’m tempted. (Can you imagine?!?) Hey, Kathleen, there’s a project for you! Meanwhile, enjoy what’s blooming around town (the pink is crepe myrtle).


¿RECUERDA LOS ROLLOS DE ALBARICOQUE antes de que existieran los rollos de albaricoque empaquetados? Lo llamábamos cuero de zapato de albaricoque o, simplemente, cuero de zapato, pero aparentemente otros podrían haberlo llamado rollo de fruta de albaricoque. Las finas hojas de dulzura venían en grandes rollos en la tienda de delicatessen (al menos creo que fue el delicatessen), al igual que el papel de estraza, y simplemente arrancaba la cantidad que deseaba. Sin preservativos. Menos azucar. Y completamente antihigiénico en su presentación y compra. No lo veo desde los años 60.

Estaba recordando esto cuando Luke disfrutó de un panecillo de frutas el jueves por la tarde. Lo verás abajo haciendo una imitación de un lagarto. Desde entonces, he estado anhelando el original, que recuerdo haber comprado para mí en Brighton Beach Avenue en Brooklyn. Ninguna de las versiones empaquetadas que he probado se puede comparar con el recuerdo de arrancar una sábana enorme (más de lo que mi madre permitiría) y caminar por la calle. Ojalá pudiera encontrar una foto. En mi búsqueda, encontré recetas y, debo admitirlo, estoy tentado. (¿¡¿Puedes imaginar?!?) ¡Oye, Kathleen, hay un proyecto para ti! Mientras tanto, disfruta de lo que florece en la ciudad (el rosa es mirto crepé).

Acacia dealbata.
Agaves and more / Agaves y más
Poppy / Amapola
• Apricot lizard tongue. (It’s just not the same.)
• Lengua de lagarto de albaricoque. (Simplemente no es lo mismo).

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..

26 thoughts on “Apricot shoe leather / Cuero de zapato de albaricoque”

    1. Kathleen:
      I think Luke would love making them and understanding what they come from. (And I’d love eating them.)

  1. I don’t think I ever tried that. Nice flowers, saw my first dandelion this morning.

  2. Beautiful blooms!
    Ours are coming now, too, the dogwood, crepe myrtles and the Popcorn bush.

    I never saw that “original” roll-up, only the newer ones, but that lizard thing scares me.

    1. Bob:
      I don’t find that kind of fruit roll-up very appealing. The original was so good!

  3. No, I can’t remember that — I had no idea whatsoever that you could get sheets of fruit roll-up anywhere, before the packaged stuff (which I have never tasted). Living in the ‘burbs in NJ, though, we weren’t making trips to a deli … if it wasn’t in the grocery store, it wasn’t available.

    1. Judy C:
      I wish I could find photos of the original on the roll. The ones produced from the recipes I found look just like it, except for not being a roll hanging from the wall.

    1. anne marie:
      I had never seen crepe myrtles until we lived in DC. They also bloomed in summer, although before July I think.

  4. Never had any like you describe, but I’m sure I would like it. The lizard tongue is scary! My project today is to make tomato sauce from our garden tomatoes. Good, but not as good as fruit leather.

    I wish our agave had flower stalks like the ones in your photo. Ours seems to directly produce little baby plants without ever having a showy flower. That’s a massive plant – good thing the fence is keeping it from rampaging down the street!

    1. Wilma:
      I love the drama of the flowers of well-established agaves. There was one in Sevilla that produced a mile-high (well almost) stalk that looked like a gian asparagus. You must have a lot of tomatoes in the garden.

  5. Don’t remember ever seeing that anywhere in my childhood…….but I know what you are talking about.
    LOVE the blossoms!

    1. Jim:
      I guess they’re history. But I was surprised I couldn’t find any photos. I’ll keep looking.

  6. Yes, I remember! Not all that long ago, late 60s early 70s. I grew up in a Lebanese-American enclave and my Lebanese pals all had it at home for snacking. Then it was a staple in natural food stores during the hippy dippy years. It came rolled in cellophane with pretty yellow paper, not torn off the sheet as you experienced it, but we lived in northern New England, not too many true delis there back then. Product was a bit less refined, rougher around the edges than the “roll-ups” for kids which I think first showed up mid-eighties. You could get strawberry and other fruits, but apricot was the most common.

    1. Lynn Marie:
      I wish I could still find it even in those sheets you describe. It sounds exactly like what I had. A friend of mine wrote and said she thinks it’s still sold at Sahadi’s, a Middle-Eastern grocer on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, which is walking distance from the hotel where I stay when I visit. I can’t wait for the chance to check that out. I was actually at Sahadi’s the last time I was in New York, but didn’t think to look for it.

    1. Jennifer:
      “My” version was so much better. A friend told me where to find it (in sheets, not rolls) at a grocer’s in Brooklyn. Can’t wait.

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      I came up on those poppies in a field next to other Roman ruins in town (thermal baths). It’s been almost summer-like, so perfect poppy weather… except for today, which is raw and windy with roaring surf.

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