Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Nectar of The Gods

A rather unfortunate, toddler-bourne flu virus swept through our house over the weekend. I will spare you most the details, but I will tell you that, in the middle of a fevered night hallucination, I dreamt that Byron and I were on some kind of competitive cooking/travel show and absolutely had to find, clean, and perfectly prepare this special One True Sea Scallop before 3:00 A.M. and it was just so much work and when my bedside clock finally read 3:05 I nudged Byron and hoarsely whispered, We made it, babe, we really made it, to which he replied, Hrumpnnnnf-swaaa? and went back to sleep.

I digress.

So last night, in the weary wake of said flu, I was really craving a big-ass shaved ice.

shaved ice

When I arrived at our local snow shack, a light drizzle was falling and there were no other customers, so I took my sweet time perusing the giant board of syrup options. The snow shack lady leaned out the window and asked, "Whatta ya in the mood for?"

To which I replied, "I don't know. I have a really sore throat, and this sounded good, but I need a syrup that won't burn my throat, I guess."

And thus began a thorough line of questioning between me and the solicitous snow shack lady as to my personal shaved ice preferences, history with shaved ice flavorings, and interest in their own special house combinations with names like "Ninja Turtle" and "Star Wars."

She was like my shaved ice sommelier (though she did fail to ask if I'd be enjoying my shaved ice with the sea bass or the lamb shank.)

So, finally, the shaved ice sensei smiles, reaches for a certain bottle, and asks, "Have you ever tried Apollo's Nectar?"

"Apollo's Nectar?" I repeat. My head, though addled, reeled from the inappropriate joke possibilities. "Um, no?"

"A lot of people really like Apollo's Nectar. A LOT. It's very popular."

"Yeeeeeah. OK, I'll have that."

icy

And so I did. I don't know how to describe the flavor other than sweet. And red. It tasted very red. I gave her a nice tip.

And, though I'm sure this goes without saying, it took both a healthy dose of self-control and a deep respect for Snow Shack Lady and her craft to keep from calling gaily out the car window, just before speeding off, "THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!" Times infinity.

(Postscript: What do they call shaved ice where you live? Halo halo? Raspas? Snowball? Syrupy Frozen Leavings Of Greek Deities? What do you put on yours? I love to hear about regional takes on the same food stuff, so do edumacate me.)

44 comments:

Christina said...

I am delurking to say, hello! Your site cracks me up!

Where I live (southeastern Michigan) we don't really have snow cone stands (that's what we call them here, snow cones)... at least none that I've run across.

HOWEVER. Upon visiting my cousins in the way deep south of Texas, they introduced me to "raspas" - the most popular combination is this: a grape snow cone (raspa, whatever), topped with chopped dill pickles, extra grape koolaid powder, and this stuff called "trechas", which is chili lime flavored salt. First of all, it looks like vomit. Secondly, it doesn't sound even A LITTLE BIT good... but holy hell, it is DELICIOUS. So, so wonderful. It was like salty heaven in a cup. I would eat one every day, if we had such things in my neck of the woods.

Melanie said...

Christin:

Hi! We have a fairly large Hispanic population in my nearby hometown, and there are several raspas stands there. I'll bet they have techas, too!

I'm kind of a salty/sweet addict, so I'll be sure to give it a try this summer.

Mike Golch said...

I was visiting a site I believe it was hootin-anni's that had a recipe for ahaved ice yot use your blender to make it.

J. said...

What do/did we call shaved ice? Well, back in New York City, where I grew up, we called it "dirty snow," as in "that stuff that used to be snow that got shaved off when the sanitation truck plowed the street."

I do not recall there being a lot of edible ice, shaved or otherwise, except for, I guess, Italian Ices. There was red, lemon, and rainbow, and occasionally blue, and they came in little paper cups, the sort that used to come with water coolers. I remember getting them from a cart near Central Park. My favorite was lemon.

Hope you are feeling MUCH better, Melanie!

All Adither said...

I honestly don't know what they call them here in Seattle. I'm from Michigan, like Christina and I can validate that they're called Snow Cones there. In Hawaii, where I like to go whenever possible, they called them SHAVE ice. No D. Doesn't make sense to me, but that's how they do it.

It would be soothing on a sore throat. Hope you're all healthy soon.

Sweet Pepita said...

Oooh! Snowballs! We have snowball stands in Baltimore. I LOVE coconut or custard with marshmallow topping. Yum.

Kimberly said...

This is so weird! I don't think we have them here in Virginia, which considering the 104 heat the other day, is a crying shame.

Someone enlighten me if we do!

Though I think I always called them snow cones, you know, when made by the snoopy machine I had as a kid.

Lisa Milton said...

We have sno-cones at the fair I guess, but other than that? No such luck.

We settle for blue slurpies, foodies that we are.

standing still said...

Here in the Twin Cities of Minnesota Land, we do not have (as far as I know) this shaved ice of which you speak. We have Dairy Queen, though, where you can get a Mr. Misty Freeze (which has been renamed and extreme name to appeal to the EXTREME youth of today and they call it Arctic RUSH!) and have a flavored syrup in slushy water. I prefer raspberry flavor, but it's not red, it's blue.

Someone Being Me said...

Here in Texas we have quite a few shaved ice places. I am old school and still call them snow cones. Although the lovely melt on your tongue, soft ice of today is nothing like the hard ball of solid ice in a paper cone of my childhood that dripped down your arm and came in 3 flavors if you were lucky.

JennyP said...

my sister is a full-on Tiger's Blood girl...that's all she will EVER get. I like to mix it up, and upon the advice of your husband and his uncanny ability to expertly mix flavors together...I try to mix it up, but if I there is a line and the pressure of choosing a flavor combo is just too much...I go with pink lemonade, just enough sour and sweet.

iCarrie said...

My hometown had the "Snow Shack" and now we have a "Rainbow Snow". I love the stuff.
I used to always get sour grape and kiwi as a kid....but I have yet to find either flavor these days.
My kids always check the window of the little shack as we drive by, to see if their open sign is up. Then I hear the chants of Rainbow Snow until I promise that we will go sometime during the weekend.

MamaBird said...

Snow cones as a kid, but nothin special, just the ice cream truck kind unless you count the once a year North End Italian saint festivals in Boston and then we'd get the good stuff. Of course, we called it Italian ice. Now I'm just shafted. You have such an imagination even when you are *not* delusional. Hope you feel better soon, sweetie.

xtine said...

Oooh, halo-halo! I'm in California now but grew up eating halo-halo in Manila. Halo-halo (Tagalog for 'mix-mix') is sort of like a deconstructed ice cream where shaved ice, milk and sugar (or syrup) are piled on layers of ingredients (usually fruit and beans separately stewed in simple syrup). To make a halo-halo 'special' (now that I think about it, lots of Filipino food are sold as either 'regular' or 'special'), it's topped with either a scoop of ice cream or a small square of flan--or both.

Mmm...Halo-halo = summertime to lots of Filipinos. Must swing by the Asian store for fixins.

Speaking of Asian store...I found your [ridiculously addicitve] blog after Googling 'nori+rice chex+recipe' earlier today, so thanks for THAT recipe--and the unexpected abundance of laughs and great photos.

- Christine.

Jennifer H said...

We called them snow cones when I was a kid, but here in Arizona we have a Hawaiian Ice stand. It might be Italian ice other places here, though.

And now I seriously want one.

Feel better.

happygeek said...

I'm guessing the further North you go, the less likely you are wanting much to do with snow, eating or otherwise as we really don't have them up here. (Alberta)
Slurpees yes, shaved ice with syrup, not so much.
We do love frozen pop (soda) though. (Slurpees)

Nancy said...

jennyp's sister and I would be fast friends - I LOVE me some Tiger's Blood! So darn good. Not sure where to get me some of that here outside of DC. Growing up in south central Pennsylvania though...we had plenty of shaved ice and PLENTY of Tiger's Blood! Mmmmm...

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

We have shaved ice, snow cones and the ever-popular, sort of in that category, Slurpee.

Kathy said...

In BC, Canada we have sno-cones but they usually are found at the fair. Otherwise, Slurpees are the closest second.

Magpie said...

well, if we have that kind of stuff, it's bypassed me. that is, i've never had it.

"nectar of the gods" however - that is the household name for Coca-Cola. oft shortened to "nectar" - like "honey, bring me a nectar".

Optimist said...

Sno-cones here in Texas and our Slurpees are called Icees.

I have not seen Apollo's nectar as a flavor choice - sounds "spunky!"

San Diego Momma said...

I'm with Jenn. I think San Diego's comparable would be Slurpees. But do you ever see those Sonic commercials? It's a fast food place that seems to have raised shaved ice to an art form. I think your snow cone sommelier would be a real asset to that organization.

Deb
sandiegomomma.com

dkuroiwa said...

As a kid, we would go to the bowling alley and get sno-cones...in the paper cups...messy, messy, messy...but so good.

Here in Japan, we have "kakigori". You can get the basic flavors...cherry, grape, strawberry, cola and Blue Hawaii...but you can also get 'green tea' (which is actually very good!!). For a few yen extra, they will pour condensed milk over the top which just adds to the yumminess. My husband likes them to add "sweet beans" (azuki beans cooked in a sugar sauce) to his. You can get some really fancy ones at the family restaurants, but...we just go for the simple, and much less expensive, kind. When you see the "kakigori" wagons, you know that it's almost summer!!!

dharmamama said...

I'm in NC, and they were snocones here, but with the influx of folks from all over the world, now we've got shaved ice, shave ice, cremolada, raspa, raspada, and piragua. Not to mention in my head where the Simpsons are real, Squishees.

re: your dream
Food Network much?

Stacy (mama-om) said...

I grew up in Alaska and we called them sno-cones.

My husband is from the Philippines and we LOVE halo-halo. Oh my goodness. We LOVE IT!

It is shaved ice, ice cream, flan, sweet gelatinous beans, shaved coconut, condensed milk, and let's see, oh yeah! sometimes straight white sugar sprinkled on top.

It's totally insane and delicious.

Loralee Choate said...

Yup, it's shaved ice in Utah, too.

And? Times infinity, INDEED. (Really, I don't know how you refrained. I admire the discipline that must have taken.)

Jackie Tx said...

We have a snow cone shack. Its painted stripes and the colors of the stripes change often almost every summer. Its been there since I was a kid. A few years ago I went on a no sugar kick and pretty much have stuck to it. Snow cones and milk shakes are always welcome when I get sick. They do offer sugar free flavors. I do not ever ever recomend butterscotch flavor snow cone. My husband gets some God awful contraption that has lime salt and chili powder on his snow cone. Blah. Gag even. He loves them its some kind of mexican style snow cone. South Texas here.

Half-grape, half-cola said...

Since you and I live so close, I b'lieve our household term for this treat is: snowshack, as in, "Honey, I'm gonna take the Dodge down to King's parking lot for a snowshack." or "What is your favorite snowshack flavor...mine is Popeye" (it isn't).

Also, you and I both know that Creme Soda is "The Nectar of the Gods". You know this! Wait...I called it that before I met you, thats my OLD term for creme soda. Now I think I call it: creme soda. Is that right?

Professor J said...

Raspas. Red flavor.

i am very mary said...

sno-cones. And I cannot tell you how very much the lack of that "w" chaps my ass.

Mrs. G. said...

When I was a kid, your shaved ice was my ICEE...blue raspberry was the best.

planetnomad said...

We call it shaved ice, and I like mango-passionfruit myself, but once we were in Philadelphia and they called it water ice, which struck me as particularly stupid.

Apollo's Nectar is, well, nectar though ;)

Nora Bee said...

You and Jeff with the shaved ice. I'm with the why would you have shaved ice when you can have ice cream, or margaritas, or lemonade, or anything. I think in PA they call them snow cones though. Or is that just at 7-11?

The Cheap Chick said...

I believe we call them slushies here in the Great White North (ie, MN), but I could be completely wrong.

It's happened before, you know.

stu said...

I don't know if we have anything like this close to our house but I am always a sucker for a Coke Slurpee at 7-11.

I can't resist the nachos or the Big Bite hot dogs either. I know they are gross but I love them.

-Stu

hippyhappyhay said...

Darn toddlers and their germs. Every house needs an isolation chamber.
I think we call them slushies...or frosties, but then icees sound familiar too. I'll take more notice next time I see a stand and I'll email you. A little something for you to look forward too ;-)

Jen said...

Slurpee here...we are the Slurpee Capital of North America...the World?? I don't know which...but we are sure proud! ;-p (Winnipeg, Manitoba...Canada!) Slurpees that I've had in the states are so much different than we have here...so much air in the ice there...

j.

Minnesota Matron said...

Melanie,

Could you please teach my creative writing course for me this fall?

Sincerely,

Matron

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Sno Cones. Spelled that way. Really.

;-)

Serial Mommy said...

it looks like a slurpee to me...also known as a frozen soda or a slushee or an icee (ice-EE)... i'm glad it was so good, and with a sore throat, those are AWESOME. we don't have place we can drive up to to get those, we just go to 7-11 or the gas station and they come pre-flavored for us, my personal fav is regular old cherry...though there are many that mix quite a few of them together until you get this nasty brownish concoction that everyone swears by.

Moxy Jane said...

We are fortunate enough to have shaved-ice/snow-cone stands on nearly every block in town. Our favorites are the stands (or Airstream campers) that serve a scoop of vanilla ice-cream at the bottom of the cup. They also will drizzle cream over the top of your snow-cone, if you like.

I have never tried Tiger's Blood. I've also been curious about Wedding Cake. Last time we went, I chose the Mojito, which was lime, spearmint, and peppermint. With a scoop of vanilla on the bottom. Yum. My girls usually go for root beer or a tropical fruit. I'm such a buzz kill and discourage them from anything that turns their tongue (or pee) a neon color.

Moxy Jane said...

ACK! Caught in my own web of lies:

Spiral Bound: Color Me Summertime

This was a post of mine from summer of 2006...back when neon sno-cones were apparently considered edible.

I think this will be the summer of the raspa.

Jozet at Halushki said...

I hope you're feeling better.

Those red ice thingies looked pulsating with life force!

Surely, you must be renewed. :-)

bluemountainsmary said...

Slushies ! In Australia we call them slushies.

She sounded lovely that slushy lady.