Monday, July 14, 2008

Sabor de Soledad? Not Quite

Oh, the surprises that await me at my liquor store.

Mostly, these surprises revolve around the less friendly of the two men who work there. That could be an unfair assessment of him, as I feel his looser grasp on English prevents him from being as social as he might be if we were all speaking Arabic. Still, he bears some resemblance to Sesame Street’s Bert, and that fact alone makes me think he’s prone to sternness. (His more talkative counterpart, by the way, has a round face that makes him look more like Ernie. Perhaps the phrenologists were correct.) Despite comparisons between this man and Bert, I enjoy interacting with him because he frequently seems baffled by what use the various things his store sells might have. Mustard, for example. “What is it?” he once asked me. I was temporarily at a loss for how to explain the yellow condiment. “You put it on sandwiches,” I answered. “Like ketchup?” he asked. Again, a loss, then, finally, “Sort of. It’s… not red.” Then I paid for my mustard and left.

He’s been confused about other seemingly simple products, but I’ve recently come across a product that baffled me. I took a photo.

salsagheti

“Skwinkles Salsagheti — con sabor sandia!”

The hell?

I pointed to the monstrosity candy. “What is it?” Bert, perhaps recalling the many conversations we’ve had with reversed roles, just shrugged and offered, “Kids like it.”

I remain fascinated: red licorice-looking candy that combines the spiciness of salsa and the noodliness of spaghetti, yet somehow also incorporates watermelon flavor. Also — and you can’t tell by looking at the photo — the individual candy strands are encrusted in the kind of salt-looking substance, like that pucker-inducing stuff that elevates Sour Patch Kids above mere “Patch Kids.”

I’m fascinated. Each time I’ve been in the store since, I see that fewer and fewer Swinkles Salsagheti packages on the counter. Clearly, someone buys them — or at least steals them.

Is it you?

Who eats these?

Who thinks spicy watermelon spaghetti sounds good?

Stop buying the spicy watermelon spaghetti, you. But at least tell me what this item tastes like and why you like it. Otherwise, I may eventually break down and buy one myself.

5 comments:

  1. My girlfriend gave me skwinkles once, but I had to get her really drunk first.

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  2. This post is brilliant. I've got to keep my eye out for those things. Though the word "Salsagheti" evokes the image of lions and gazelles engaging in athletic yet sensual dance competitions.

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  3. Skwinkles is a play on words, it sound like a slang for small children that is commonly used in México. It seems to have evolved from the name of the hairless dogs Xoloitzcuintle (escuincle) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_Hairless_Dog

    So it seems to be named more or less as candy for children.

    Also it is common to have candy covered in chile (a kind called piquin) it is powdered and sometimes used for fruits, like oranges or jicamas, even watermelon.

    So, the salsaguetti is also a play on words. Salsa to mean that the candy has chile and spaguetti because the candy is shaped like small threads, like pasta.

    If you can find Vero lollipops they have a kind that's watermelon flavored and covered in chile piquin and they are SUPER GOOD!! If you want I can mail you a couple.

    :)

    -alice

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  4. Alice, thanks so much for putting this in context!

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  5. After laughing at Bad Candy.com one day when I was working at Sony, I needed a gag gift (pun? maybe not) and so gave out another brand that was just called SalsaGhetti. They were awful but that was the point. The problem is the concept of a gag gift was lost on some of my Japanese colleagues so they treated the receipt of the Salsaghetti like it was an honorable gift and no amount of talking to get them to understand otherwise....a bad moment in cultural relations to be sure..

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