Candy apples / Manzanas caramelizadas

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

WHEN MY SISTER DALE AND I were kids, My Mother the Dowager Duchess never permitted us to have candy apples or caramel apples. “Just have a plain apple!” she would snap. “Those are disgusting, and nothing but sugar.” Check out the photo below and tell me if The Duchess doesn’t look like she’s enjoying herself.

Maybe it was my mother’s influence but, for as long as I can now remember, I’ve found candy apples and caramel apples completely unappealing — although nice to look at. Really though, it’s the mess that turns me off. I’d eat mine with a knife and fork. How about you?

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CUANDO MI HERMANA DALE Y yo éramos niños, Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda nunca nos permitía comer manzanas caramelizadas. “¡Solo come una simple manzana!” ella se rompería. “Esos son repugnantes y nada más que azúcar”. Mira la foto de abajo y dime si La Duquesa no parece que se esté divirtiendo.

Tal vez fue la influencia de mi madre, pero, desde que tengo memoria, las manzanas caramelizadas me resultan completamente desagradables, aunque agradables de ver. Sin embargo, en realidad es el lío lo que me apaga. Me comería el mío con cuchillo y tenedor. ¿Qué hay de tí?

Coney Island boardwalk, 1948. The Dowager Duchess, center, between two of her five sisters.
Paseo marítimo de Coney Island, 1948. La Duquesa Viuda, centro, entre dos de sus cinco hermanas.

San Geraldo’s Balls / Las Bolas de San Geraldo

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

SAN GERALDO’S MATERNAL GRANDPARENTS CAME from Norway, his grandfather from the north and his grandmother from the south. SG grew up with a strong connection to those Norwegian roots, primarily through the food.

His aunt gave him a Norwegian wall calendar in the late ’80s. One month, food was the theme. It opened with the statement: Norwegian food, usually a shade of white, is simply a conveyance for something that tastes better. I don’t completely agree with that. Some of the best and most beautiful meals I’ve ever had have been in Norway, but I do understand where the writer was coming from. Last night’s dinner was a good example.

Fish balls (fiskeboller) are off-white lumps (OK dumplings) often served in an off-white sauce. San Geraldo’s family swore by Spirit of Norway brand fish balls. Their large balls were tinned without sauce. SG made his own sauce (of course white).

San Geraldo recently had a craving and found fish balls in a local Scandinavian gourmet shop. The fish balls were from Sweden (where they’re called fiskbullar) by a company named Abba (no relation to the singing group). They were tinned in a dill sauce, so SG didn’t even have to mix anything up. They were much smaller than San Geraldo’s substantial Norwegian balls, but they were tasty. The dill sauce, although slightly salty for us, was excellent.

San Geraldo also bought a box of lefsa, which we haven’t yet gotten into. It’s a traditional soft flatbread, made with potatoes, flour, butter, and milk or cream. It’s also off-white, of course, and delicious when topped with butter and sugar — things that taste better. (But, I’ll admit, I love the taste of lefsa.)

Some day I’ll tell you about San Geraldo’s family recipe for raspekomler (raspeboller), which are flour and potato dumplings cooked in the broth from ham bones and served with butter or white Karo (corn or glucose) syrup. It looks like off-white, dried out Play Doh — and has the same consistency. For me, butter makes it better.

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LOS ABUELOS MATERNOS DE SAN Geraldo vinieron de Noruega, su abuelo del norte y su abuela del sur. SG creció con una fuerte conexión con esas raíces noruegas, principalmente a través de la comida.

Su tía le regaló un calendario de pared noruego a finales de los 80. Un mes, la comida fue el tema. Comenzó con la declaración: la comida noruega, generalmente de un tono blanco, es simplemente un medio de transporte para algo que sabe mejor. No estoy completamente de acuerdo con eso. Algunas de las mejores y más hermosas comidas que he tenido han sido en Noruega, pero entiendo de dónde venía el escritor. La cena de anoche fue un buen ejemplo.

Las bolas de pescado (fiskeboller) son grumos de color blanquecino (bolas de masa bien hechas) que a menudo se sirven en una salsa blanquecina. La familia de San Geraldo juró por las bolas de pescado de la marca Spirit of Norway. Sus grandes bolas estaban enlatadas sin salsa. SG hizo su propia salsa (por supuesto, blanca).

San Geraldo recientemente tuvo un antojo y encontró bolas de pescado en una tienda gourmet escandinava local. Las bolas de pescado eran de Suecia (donde se llaman fiskbullar) por una compañía llamada Abba (sin relación con el grupo de canto). Estaban enlatados en salsa de eneldo, por lo que SG ni siquiera tuvo que mezclar nada. Eran mucho más pequeños que los sustanciales bolas noruegos de San Geraldo, pero sabrosos. La salsa de eneldo, aunque ligeramente salada para nosotros, era excelente.

San Geraldo también compró una caja de lefsa, a la que todavía no nos hemos metido. Es un pan plano suave tradicional, hecho con patatas, harina, mantequilla y leche o nata. También es blanquecino, por supuesto, y delicioso cuando se cubre con mantequilla y azúcar — cosas que saben mejor. (Pero, lo admito, me encanta el sabor de la lefsa).

Algún día os contaré la receta familiar de San Geraldo de raspekomler (raspeboller), que son bolas de harina y patata cocidas en el caldo de huesos de jamón, y servidas con mantequilla o jarabe blanco de Karo (maíz o glucosa). Parece Play Doh blanquecino y seco, y tiene la misma consistencia. Para mí, la mantequilla lo hace mejor.

Kauppa, the Scandinavian gourmet shop owned by two Spanish brothers. A very friendly place.
Kauppa, la tienda gourmet escandinava propiedad de dos hermanos españoles. Un lugar muy amigable.
We started with some color — Caprese salad.
Empezamos con algo de color — ensalada Caprese.
Fish balls and potatoes in a white dill sauce, with broccoli for color.
Bolas de pescado y patatas en salsa de eneldo blanco, con brócoli para darle color.
We ended with toadskin melon — for it’s shade-of-white interior.
Terminamos con melón de piel de sapo, por su interior de color blanco.

Play Doh. Or is it raspekomler?

Play Doh. ¿O es raspekomler?

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Jeepers Creepers

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

JEEPERS CREEPERS, WHERE’D you get those peepers? Or in this case, where’d you get those Peeps? While we were in Las Vegas in February, I decided to find something traditionally American for Easter to bring back to Spain for some of our friends. And what could be more traditionally American for Easter than Peeps? Those marshmallow (pure sugar) baby chicks and bunny rabbits covered in a slightly crusty coating (of sugar) and dotted with little chocolate (sugary) eyes. And, best of all, they’re non-fat and gluten-free!

I ALSO BROUGHT BACK A couple of special items for my 3-year-old pal Luke — a plastic wind-up Easter bunny that walks and poops jelly beans, and a container of Fluffy Marshmallow Chick Slime, which contains three little chicks. The container says it’s scented. I don’t know if it smells like marshmallows or chickens.

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JEEPERS CREEPERS, ¿DE dónde obtuviste esos peepers [ojitos]? (Esa es una canción vieja y famosa de los Estados Unidos). O en este caso, ¿De dónde sacaste esos Peeps? Mientras estábamos en Las Vegas en febrero, decidí buscar algo tradicionalmente estadounidense para Semana Santa que traería a España para algunos de nuestros amigos. ¿Y qué podría ser más tradicionalmente estadounidense para Semana Santa que Peeps? Esos pollitos de malvavisco (azúcar pura) y conejitos cubiertos con una capa ligeramente crujiente (de azúcar) y salpicados de ojitos de chocolate (azúcarado). Y, lo mejor de todo, ¡son sin grasa y sin gluten!

NOTA: “Peep” es el sonido que hace un pollito.

TAMBIÉN TRAJE UN PAR DE artículos especiales para mi compadre Luke (él tiene 3 años): Un “Easter Bunny” [Conejito de Semana Santa] de plástico que camina y rellena gomitas (en inglés, el Easter Bunny es un conejo que trae Huevos de Pascua); y un envase de “Fluffy Marshmallow Chick Slime” [“Malvavisco Esponjoso Baba de Pollitos”], que contiene tres pollitos (plasticos). El envase dice que está perfumado. No sé si huele a malvaviscos (nubes) o gallinas.

Sweet Nectar / Néctar Dulce

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

Although I’m not completely convinced, I’ve been told as a result of my latest blood work (at the public health center) that my Diabetes needs serious management. I’ve been on meds for about three years and was told I didn’t need to do anything else. This time, however, the new doctor didn’t like my results and doubled my dosage while putting me on two other meds for supposedly Diabetes-related issues. She made me see the Diabetes counselor immediately, who gave me a lecture on diet and exercise. When I told her about my activity level, she continued the lecture on diet.

Now I know I’m always sharing pictures of the sweets I enjoy (sorry I haven’t shared the actual sweets), but I go for long stretches with no sweets. Plus, I eat a healthy breakfast and lunch every day, and usually a healthy dinner (not a lot of fried food and, rarely, potatoes). I even have to cut out my two or three small beers per week). The specialist told me I wasn’t like most of her patients. An important factor, however, is that both my grandmothers were Diabetic when they were still fairly young.

I’ve been told by another doctor that it’s possible my “numbers” were high simply due to dehydration. However, I drink a minimum of 1.5 liters of water a day, and usually more than twice that. I’ll go back to my private doctor just to check in. She has my history.

I have a lot to learn. So here I sit — eating my usual roasted almonds with a change to sugar-free chocolate (which is surprisingly good). I can no longer drink sweet nectar. In surfer lingo, that means a “pretty woman”. In MY lingo it means “sweet nectar.” Here are some Spanish surfers, over the last three days, who don’t use the phrase. Our poor friends (yesterday’s blog post) have been cruising on these waves.

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Aunque no estoy completamente convencido, como resultado de mi último análisis de sangre (en el centro de salud pública), me dijeron que mi diabetes necesita un tratamiento serio. He estado tomando medicamentos durante unos tres años y me dijeron que no tenía que hacer nada más. Esta vez, sin embargo, al nuevo médico no le gustaron mis resultados y duplicó mi dosis mientras me recetaba otros dos medicamentos por supuestos problemas relacionados con la diabetes. Ella me hizo ver al consejero de Diabetes de inmediato, quien me dio una conferencia sobre dieta y ejercicio. Cuando le conté sobre mi nivel de actividad, ella continuó la conferencia sobre dieta.

Ahora sé que siempre estoy compartiendo fotos de los dulces que disfruto (lo siento, no he compartido los dulces reales), pero hago largos períodos sin dulces. Además, tomo un desayuno y almuerzo saludable todos los días, y generalmente una cena saludable (no mucha comida frita y, rara vez, papas). Incluso tengo que cortar mis dos o tres cervezas pequeñas por semana. El especialista me dijo que no era como la mayoría de sus pacientes. Sin embargo, un factor importante es que mis dos abuelas eran diabéticas cuando aún eran bastante jóvenes.

Otro médico me dijo que es posible que mis “números” fueran altos simplemente debido a la deshidratación. Sin embargo, bebo un mínimo de 1,5 litros de agua al día, y generalmente más del doble que eso. Volveré a mi doctora privada para confirmar. Ella tiene mi historia.

Tengo mucho de aprender. Así que aquí me siento, comiendo mis almendras tostadas habituales con un cambio a chocolate sin azúcar (que es sorprendentemente bueno). Ya no puedo beber el néctar dulce. En la jerga surfista, “néctar dulce” significa una “comida” o una “mujer bonita.” En MI jerga, “néctar dulce” significa “néctar dulce”. Así que aquí hay algunos surfistas españoles, durante los ultimos días, que no usan la frase. Nuestros pobres amigos (de la entrada de ayer) han estado navegando en estas olas.

Chocolate-Smothered Waffle: Better Going Down

San Geraldo and I went last night to Feria Málaga (Málaga Fair). Last year I enjoyed the daytime festivities in the center of the old city (click here to see last year’s blog post). This year, we decided to check out the nighttime festivities that take place outside the city center and just a bit closer to where we live.

Unlike the casetas at Feria Sevilla (click here to see those pictures), the casetas at Málaga are free and open to the public. We didn’t see the horses and carriages famous in Sevilla. And the traditional feria costumes, although in abundance, were less so than in Sevilla. But there was still plenty to see and experience and I found it less overwhelming than Sevilla’s fair. The fairgrounds are beautiful and sprawling and much more pleasant to explore. The lights were enchanting. The rides were fun to watch. Given how things progressed, it’s good I opted out of going on any.

As usual, click any image to see it big time.

The Lights

THE ENTRANCE.

The food all looked really delicious. I take that back. Some of the food looked really delicious. However, there were a number of “edibles” that looked radioactive. San Geraldo and I succumbed to enticing gofres (waffles) smothered in chocolate. It was so good going down. About a half hour later, however, the waffle and chocolate decided to repeat itself. And, let me just say, it wasn’t quite so delicious on the reflux. And there were no antacids in sight. But, I soldiered on. What’s a little heartburn?

At 11 p.m., we caught the next to last train for home. It was crowded with fair-goers, so we stood most of the way. I felt fine. But we sat for the last three stops and the waffle and chocolate decided to make another return visit (I probably shouldn’t have bent at the waist).

The Food

MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE. MINE.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS.

One stop before home, I stood up, looked at San Geraldo and said, “I feel sick.” (Apologies to my third-grade teacher; I know I’m supposed to say “ill,” not “sick.” But her name was Mrs. Doody, so…) 

But back to the train. The doors opened and I signaled to San Geraldo that when I said sick, I meant I-need-to-get-off-the-train sick. He jumped off behind me at a, thankfully, dark and empty station. I quickly headed to the railing and wretched into the bushes. Now, don’t get all squeamish on me (although I would in your shoes). Nothing serious happened. Just a case of powerful reflux. And then all was well.

Truthfully, I did it all just to get San Geraldo to take a walk with me. That station is about 1.5 km (1 mile) from home.

The People

FREEZE FRAME:  THEY ONLY MOVED TO SHAKE HANDS
WHEN THEY WERE GIVEN A TIP (WHICH WAS OFTEN).

AND SPEAKING OF DELICIOUS…
WITH HIS PLEASANT (AND PROUD) GRANDPARENTS.