Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Posole and Conversation

I am getting more and more like my father as I get older. It would probably be better for me if I were instead getting more like my mother -- she is genteel, dignified, and never leaves the house without a perfectly accessorized outfit and a list of errands and items needed. But instead, I leave the house to take LW to playschool, intending on returning straight home, only to get a thought of this or that and then find myself at Fiesta, looking for posole, clad in a velour jogging suit.

My father has a habit of getting into conversations with strangers, which makes my mother roll her eyes, and used to embarrass me. Well, now I am the one in those conversations. Now, sometimes, it's not my fault. People just come up and talk to me. The Husband swears this never happens to him. He is, however, 75% deaf, and thinks that I talk to him far less that I actually do. So it's possible there are many people wondering about that cute man who completely ignored them in the grocery store.

Anyway, so I am in our local Mexican grocery, looking for fresh posole, when a very nicely dressed lady addressed me. "They don't have the After Eight mints. Isn't that crazy? This is the time you need them!" We chatted a bit about After Eight mints. See now, I didn't initiate that one.

But I am completely culpable for the next. I was on a different aisle, loading up on Ibarra Mexican drinking chocolate tablets and picking up another molinillo, when I overheard a nice white lady asking a store employee about an enchilada sauce. "It's not a red sauce. We can't eat red sauce anymore. But it's on enchiladas."

The employee, confused, was directing her towards some instant mixes. I couldn't help myself. I spoke up. "What you want is 'chili gravy.' You can find a recipe for it online." I added, "If you don't find what you want in the mixes." She won't. There's no such thing as a chili gravy mix.

The lady responded, "It's not red sauce." She looked at me suspiciously, the way any normal person would look at a red headed white woman in a black velour jogging suit, who thought she knew better than the Mexican employee.

"Yes," I answered. "But are you looking for a brown sauce? That goes on Tex-Mex enchiladas?"

"Yes," she said.

"It's called 'chili gravy.' There's no meat in it, but that's what it's called. You start like you're making a regular gravy ..." She and I discussed the details.

I continued filling up my basket -- stuff for a Texas care package for the California relatives, some Zatarain's for our Christmas shrimp cocktail, a cream cheese empanada for me, since I forgot to eat breakfast, as I didn't know I was going to be running errands this morning.

I ran into the white lady a few rows later. She was looking at the mixes. "I'm going to look for that recipe," she promised me, guiltily.

Well, she will or she won't. There are those of us who get our answers from strangers in the grocery store, and those who don't.

I never did find that posole.

Robb Walsh's Chili Gravy Recipe, via Homesick Texan

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