Skip to main content

Dulce de Leche...or...Now I Remember Why I Gained 20 Pounds in Three Months in Argentina


I recently made a run to the international grocery super-store in Indianapolis, called Saraga. While it's terribly inconvenient, and not terribly cheap, it's really fun to shop there once in a while. It's almost like going on vacation.



First off, the shopping experience itself is wild. It's this huge grocery store with food and products from all over the world, and with people of all different nationalities there. It's like another world, especially in a place as seemingly homogeneous as Indy. Even if you don't buy most of the stuff--or even know what it is--it's just fun to look around. What is that stuff in the big jar with the Japanese writing on it? The stuff that looks like monkey brains? Should I buy this outlandishly expensive yogurt from Turkey that comes in two-liter soda bottles? No...you probably shouldn't. But it's a treat for the eyes.

Secondly, once you actually make some purchases, you get to have food from around the world in your house all month. Cook up some chorizo sausage from Mexico. Who cares what's in it! Fry up some pre-packaged falafel cakes from Lebanon for a midnight snack. Eat all those Canadian mini-croissants before they go stale, etc. etc. If you've done any traveling, it can also be a comforting reminder of vacations past, as maybe you find that favorite brand of cookie you used to eat for breakfast in Italy, or what have you.

Which brings me to the reason for this post: Dulce de Leche.

A few years ago, I lived in Argentina for about three months. Among other amazingly delicious foods down in the Southern Cone, they have this thing called Dulce de Leche. It's basically a very creamy, spreadable version of caramel, kind of like the consistency of peanut butter. And man, is it good. I used to eat it on my bread in the morning, dip spoonfuls of it during the day, maybe even make a little DdL sandwich at night or spread some on bananas or apples for a late-night snack. It's delicious, and it's good on almost everything.

And...it's also really fattening. And, considering I had nothing to do but eat and drink all day when I was there, I ate a lot of it (along with all that great Argentine wine, steak, cheese, beer, etc.) and gained about 20 pounds. If there are, say, 25 different brands of Dulce de Leche produced in Argentina, I must've sampled them all. I even tried to bring some back through customs, but they caught me at Miami, and said it was a "liquid" so they eliminated all four containers of it. Waaaaaah.

Sadly, I don't remember my favorite brand. However, for the next month or so--or as long as the jar lasts--I can eat Dulce de Leche, drink a gourd full of yerba mate, and remember the good old AR days.

Comments

Pia said…
I think you can make DdL pretty easily. I think its just condensed milk and sugar that has been boiled down -- probably takes less time than in took you to cook those lupini beans.

Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review #151: "The Bog Girl" by Karen Russell

From the June 20 issue...

My loyal readers (if there are still any, which I doubt) will know I'm usually not a fan of Magical Realism, which, as you may also know, is Karen Russell's stock in trade. That said, there's nothing I love more than having my antipathy for magical realism shattered by an awesome story like "The Bog Girl."

Briefly, an Irish teenager discovers the body of a young woman who as been buried in a bog for over 2,000 years and begins to date her. What more do you need, right? If I'd read that one-line description somewhere else, and wasn't on a mission to review every New Yorker short story, I doubt I'd have read "The Bog Girl." But maybe I should start doing a George Costanza and do the opposite of everything I think I should do.

Where Russell succeeds here is in two main areas: 1.) Making us really love Cillian, the teenager who falls in love with the bog girl, and 2.) pulling the unbelievable trick making the characters…

Holiday Q&A, Volume 1

These questions come to us from Grace. Thanks for sending your questions!! Answers below:
What is the most thrilling mystery you have read and/or watched?
The Eiger Sanction (book and film) by Trevanian is what's coming to mind. International espionage. Mountain-climbing assassins. Evil albino masterminds. Sex. Not a bad combination. Warning, this is completely a "guy" movie, and the film (feat. Clint Eastwood) is priceless 70s action movie cheese. But in case that's your thing...
What's the deal with Narcos?
Narcos is a Netflix show about the rise and fall (but mostly the fall) of Columbian cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar. Thus far there are two seasons of 10 episodes each. RIYL: The film Blow, starring Johnny Depp; the book Zombie City, by Thomas Katz; the movie Goodfellas; true crime; anything involving the drug trade. My brief review: Season 1 started out a bit slow and I know a bunch of people who never made it past the first few episodes. Some of the acting is a…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…