Without the speedbump of Thanksgiving, Christmas is already in nearly full swing in Santiago. I have not yet seen sweaty men dressed up like oversized teddy bears-meet-Santa Claus in the viejito pascuero getup on the street, but today I went to pick up the usual assortment of sugar n stuff for my upcoming family visit at the supermarket and I nearly slipped and fell on a cane full of Suny (a soft caramel-like treat, but not like kraft, more like the inside of a candy corn but tastes like caramel).
Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have spent Thanksgiving here, in fact I think I was here twice for the big day, and once we celebrated it in opposite time, in May, which is when the fall foods you need for Thanksgiving are actually in season.
What we discovered, amid all the planning and purchasing and whatnot is that:
-sometimes you’ll have to replace scallops for clams if you make that weird scallop stuffing, because they’re very expensive at this time of year (maybe always, don’t buy them, wouldn’t know)
-cranberry sauce in a can is available at Jumbo (and maybe at Shangri-La, I haven’t checked. Fresh cranberries may also be available at Jumbo, though we found out most people don’t actually like fresh cranberry sauce.
-drying out marraquetas for stuffing takes like five minutes. Put in lots of sage and butter, very tasty.
-you are unlikely to find celery at the feria this time of year, but you can get it at the super market, particularly Jumbo.
-sweet potatoes can be found at the very back of the Vega, get off the metro at Patronato and enter from there, in the second to last galpón, there is a guy on the left side of the rightmost aisle that sells radicchio and fennel and stuff. He has the last of last year’s sweet potatoes, harvested by hand so they’re not moldy. Pricey and dry, but if you need them, you need them.
-cooking down zapallo give you a very wet squash mush, and you are better off buying pumpkin in a can for a pumpkin pie.
-Lúcuma is not traditional, but it tastes thanksgivingy.
-Having to wear a tank top on Thanksgiving is just wrong
-It doesn’t really matter what you eat, being together with the people you love is the most important part.
Next time from San Francisco! (where many of the people I love will be waiting for me, clamoring for suny. Worry not, it’s in the bag.)