by wjw on February 3, 2014

Sopapillas1So I was in my local greasy spoon the other day, paying for my breakfast, and I saw a delivery that had been left on the counter near the cash register, a big cardboard box with the words SOPAIPILLA SYRUP.

And I think my heart probably skipped a beat.  Certainly my knees almost gave way.  I was struck dumb.  I couldn’t do anything but point.

“Oh yes,” the manager told me. “We can’t afford honey anymore.”

Because, you know, sopaipillas sit on the right hand of God.  Or somewhere nearby.

Let me explain for those of you who haven’t experienced the divine pleasures of our glorious native New Mexican cuisine.   Sopaipillas are a sort of light, delicious fry bread that, when cooked, puff up into wonderful golden-brown hot pillows, filled mainly with air and flavor.  (I don’t know if they’d puff up at sea level— I rather think they don’t.  I think thin high mountain air is required for the trick to work properly.)

They are served, hot from the fryer, along with your meal.  When they’ve cooled enough to be handled, you pick them up, bite off a corner, and pour honey into the interior before eating it.  And then you have to get the honey off your fingers somehow, but it’s a minor issue compared to the flavors that are tingling along your taste buds.

If you’re a real New Mexican, you know which corner to bite off.  (Hint: it’s any of them.)

This isn’t dessert, it’s an element of your main dish.  The honey helps take away the bite of the chile and the sweet is a terrific contrast to the acid of the hot sauces.

It’s all about the perfection of the hot crispy bread, the mountain air, the slight taste of grease from the fryer, and the purity of the honey.

Except it’s not honey any more.  It’s sopaipilla syrup.  It’s corn syrup or something all chemicalled up to taste like honey.

Honey has got too expensive.  Colony collapse disorder has ruined the glory that is my combination plate with green chile and a side of sopaipillas.

I feel like a shattered, shambling wreck.  Life is meaningless.  Existence is a hollow shell, filled maybe with corn syrup.  My last illusion has faded.

There is nothing to do but wait for the End.

TCWriter February 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm

Having just read a piece suggesting we’re destroying our universe simply by examining it, I’d guess this is the first obvious sign.

Brian Renninger February 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

Most honey is either fake or adultered and often smuggled into the country illegally.

It is a sad sign. At least your place is honest about it.

Also, I’ve made some good and puffy sopapillas in Washington so I doubt the altitude has much effect. Who knows though, I can’t say mine were as good as yours. I doubt they were. You do need real honey for them though.

wjw February 5, 2014 at 6:26 am

It’s one thing to adulterate something that already exists. Somehow it’s worse to make the stuff up from scratch out of ingredients that don’t even remotely belong there.

Adulterated honey at least has honey in it, somewhere. Sopaipilla syrup presumably doesn’t.

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