Yesterday I was on a mission. I had a meeting in the morning, followed by a purchasing spree at one of my favorite “Chinese import stores” whose owners, it turns out, are Vietnamese, and this mainly to buy a spicy chili paste I’d had at a friend’s house the other day. This of course turned into buying sesame oil, tea for a friend and a bunch of other assorted tasty, salty treats.
Since I was already out and about, and since I hadn’t blown my whole discretionary budget on goods at China House Market, I decided, on a tincada (hunch) to go over to “my” secret tostaduría (dry goods shop) on Avda. Matta. I know they are no more my tostaduría than I am their gringa, but I feel a special affinity for the place, and they’re thoroughly lovely to me every time I’m there.
And the purpose of my trip was to solve the burning question: is there anyone left in Santiago that sells brown sugar? The usual suspects, the two big tostadurías had already turned up nothing, as I was told by a friend, so I headed to El Mataquito, where they had pepitas (pumpkin seeds) long before anyone else did, and where some bulk goods are actually in bins, and you can even taste them before you make a purchase.
So off to El Mataquito I biked, and lo! Brown sugar, both dark and light (morena and rubía) for sale, 400 pesos for 250 grams (about 1.80 a pound). I was so clearly delighted that I’d found it, that when they asked me what it was for, I was in a great mood.
Well, it’s essentially the national cookie of the United States. You know, the ones with the chocolate chips, I explained. And that’s when I had my great epiphany. Of all the times I’d ever been asked what the national dish of the United States was, and I guessed it might be meatloaf and mashed potatoes, or possibly something chickeny, or maybe lasagna (which just seems wrong on a number of levels). The answer was staring me in the face the whole time. It’s none of those things.
The national dish (or national snack, perhaps?) is the chocolate chip cookie. With brown sugar in it. So thank you El Mataquito, for making it all possible. Now I just have to hunt down some chocolate chips (though chocolate chunks are an acceptable alternative, and easier to come by).
And yes, I said it was “my” tostaduría, but I will tell you where it is, if you promise not to buy up all the brown sugar. I told them they should get molasses, and they said they’d look into it. Now that’s good people.
El Mataquito, Avda. Matta 912, near Nathaniel Cox.
And please forgive me for the lack of a photo. I think you all know what brown sugar looks like!
Oh and if you make any cookies, you have to give me one.