Thursday, April 8, 2010

3 Life Lessons I Learned From Mexican Candy Sprinkles

From our August 2009 visit to Mexico to our recent Spring Break trip, I'd been daydreaming about the sprinkles that were put on my fresh hotcake with cajeta (caramel) on a hot night at a feria in Zacatepec.

We all eat sprinkles - more so in the United States than even in Mexico - but these sprinkles were special. They were so good and had me drooling for months and months -7 months to be exact.

This trip I was on a mission to bring some back and On the eve of our return - My beloved found them in a dulceria (candy store) and I was sooooo happy.

I put them on the shelf in my baking cabinet right next to all the other sprinkles we have - you can see them in the plastic bag in the photo here

Here are the lessons:

1. Things that look similar are often very different - the key is recognizing the differences and acting on what you see even if it's only instincts that tell you.

When I was offered the sprinkles that first time - I almost declined them - who needs the extra sugar? - I thought. But then I stopped and looked closer - while they looked the same as the sprinkles I use to amuse my kids on cupcakes and cookies throughout the year, these sprinkles were very different in shape and texture.
And then when I tasted them - pure sweet sensations. Ummhmmm. Way better than any sprinkle I'd ever tasted before. Sure glad I looked twice.

2. Simple and Authentic trumps everything else.

The sprinkles from Mexico are sencilla (Spanish word for simple). Pure sugar with only corn starch fillers to keep them shaped and of course colors.

There is no fancy packaging with descriptions I don't understand. You can't see it well but the sprinkles in the round shake containers that I bought here in the US have no less than 12 ingredients. Yikes.

No other ingredients are necessary for these sprinkles. Smell them and its just a sugar smell even through the plastic bag you see. Smell the ones from the US and I can't describe what it smells like - but it is only faintly like sugar.

3. When something captures your imagination and sparks your passion, find ways to experience it more. Find more time to give to that discovery.

These sprinkles had me at hello. The rest of the trip in August I was intrigued but did not pursue finding them to take home.

Big mistake.

I started longing for them. Seriously, thinking every time I made frosted cupcakes - "I bet those Mexican sprinkles would be awesome on these" or "Man, these butter cookies would be more fabulous with those Mexican sprinkles."
For seven long months, I thought of them.
Setting foot in Mexico last week - I was on a tear - where would I find my sprinkles? How much were they? How many would I bring back? When is the first time I will use them? (Actually this weekend - if you're friends on FB or follow me on Twitter you'll see which treat I make them in first)

If you look hard enough, there are life lessons in all places. Even in a sweet treat from a dulceria in Morelos, Mexico.

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