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? 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.'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.


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 #146: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Issue: May 9, 2016

Story: "Three Short Moments in a Long Life" by John L'Heureux

Rating: $

Review: I feel like this is a somewhat tired technique, straight out of Creative Writing 101: write a story consisting of three or four different snapshots or snippets out of a character's life at different ages, sort of like a series of written photographs. Fun perhaps, but strikes me as a bit amateurish. However, I also think L'Heureux succeeds here by pushing it a bit further, playing with the character's tentative attempts at something close to faith -- in childish, adult, and mature adult ways -- and tying all three "Short Moments" together in a subtle and readily decipherable way.

L'Heureux's prose and his frank humor and his ability to glorify and find the meaning in the mundane events and thoughts of every day life, and thereby turn the life of an ordinary person into a drama with meaning and significance puts me in mind of John Irving. As well a…

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…

Water Review: San Pellegrino 250ml Bottle

Damn you, tiny little bottle of San Pellegrino. So little. So cute. But what are you really good for other than to make me wish I had a full bottle of Pellegrino? 
Good as a palate cleanser after a nice double espresso, I will give it that. But little else. The suave yet chaotic burst of Pellegrino bubbliness is still there, but with each sip you feel the tragedy of being that much closer to the end of the bottle, that much faster.

This is a bottle of water made specifically for the frustrated, for the meticulous, for the measurers among us with a penchant for the dainty. This water does not love you in the wild, on a sunny porch or with the raucous laughter of friends. No...much the opposite. Whatever that may be.

Best drunk in tiny, tiny sips, while forcing oneself through an unreadable and depressing Russian novel one does not want to read but feels one should, on a cold, wet day in December that promises four months of gloom and depression...or in pairs or threes and poured over …