Snoballs and Foodie Valhalla
I grew up in foodie valhalla. In what I still believe to be a not-so-distant past, it was a mythological and supernatural era where farmers markets were the norm and the processed foods of the giant evil grocers were a mere futuristic wife’s tale.
Lima, Peru in the 1980s was a land of fresh seafood, exotic fruits, the traveling egg and milkman, home cooked meals, and streets lined with produce and freshly cooked food vendors.
Amidst my many childhood obsessions including Peruvian style french bread, sugary milk, lucuma ice-cream, clementine oranges and picarones, the cherimoya and alfajores are memories of spiritual importance.
The godly cherimoya, known as the custard apple in England, is a rare and cherished find like a good pedicurist. Rich and delicious, juicy and sweet, slightly smokey and with a silky texture, it was a chore to eat due to the number of black seeds. Mark Twain called it the “most delicious fruit known to men” (and women). Sexy.
Alfajores are short bread sandwich cookies with a tingling dulce de leche filling and sensually sprinkled with a generous helping of powdered sugar (the naughty ones had a some cinnamon also). I mastered giving birth to these, especially in the delicate art of making dulce de leche, a custard of reduced thickened milk imbued with vanilla and cinnamon.
As I have eliminated dairy from my diet (to the best of my abilities), I have had to give up this delightful and mischievous treat. I have often longed to encounter this flavor and efforts to recreate this without milk and butter have proved futile.
MAM’S House of Ice Snoballs managed to reunite me with both these nostalgic foods in a gentle frosty treat. I had no trouble deciding between a myriad of different familiar and unpredictable flavors settling into half cherimoya and half dulce de leche. I was ready to be disappointed as I am a foodie purist: nothing can be a replacement for the original food, especially when considering syrups. But I am ready to quietly accept that this angel like treat was a much needed reminder of the mystical power of taste déjà vu. I savored the generous amount of flavorings. Often, my disappointment in iced based smoothies, frappes and beverages have to do with the tasteless and quasi dry ending. Mam’s snoballs stayed full flavored and consistent down to the last guzzle.
Although I am tempted to try many of their other flavors – curious about cookie dough, wedding cake, and dill pickle – I will probably remain faithful to memoirs of my utopian foodie childhood.