Summer days spent in Mexico excited my older sister. She loves candy. Candy in all shapes, sizes, flavors and textures. Visions of hot days spent lounging on my grandmother’s porch stuffing her face with candy and cold Mexican sodas gave her a rush. In Mexico she would access to all her favorite candy; tamarindo, dulce de calabaza, dulce de coco, mazapanes or obleas. As we pulled into my grandmother’s drive way she began her plan. The plan to raid my father of all his change, for candy. She was patient, she knew from experience to allow my dad to settle in, greet the family, help him unpack the vehicle, hang around just long enough until we became a nuisance. That’s the exact moment she would strike. My father would quickly rummage through his pocket, hand us a mountain of coins and we were off to the neighborhood store.
With cupped hands we begin our sugar pile, carefully choosing each candy. The small store was packed with kids rummaging through candy; we paid little attention as we were in our zone. As we carried our loot to the counter in the excitement, we had forgotten the most important transaction. Money was to be dealt. Only thing is, we really hadn’t paid much attention to our father as he explained the value of each coin, before every trip. The tally was given and we began our weak effort to count change. We huddled together to brace others from hearing our English conversation,
“Which coins, how many?”
“I don’t know, didn’t you pay attention to dad when he was explaining to us?”
“Give her all the coins; let her count, how embarrassing.”
So we did, we gave her all the coins. She quickly counted them and handed us our change. We happily walked out with our little bags glad the coin situation was handled. As we walked down the street to my grandmother’s house we suddenly heard,
“Se creían más que nosotros porque hablan inglés”
You all think you’re better than us because you speak English
I like my father became quickly enraged and was ready to exchange words with the horrible girls.
My sister grabbed my arm and nudged me to walk away.
“What’s wrong? I asked her. We could take them I thought in my mind.
“It doesn’t matter, they will never understand, we’re different.”
This was the first time I realized we were different.
While grating the Jicama for this candy I finally understood what she meant.
We were American candy in Mexico.
How bittersweet, but to this day I still think we could have taken them! Enjoy!
Jicama (HICK-ah-mah) often served with a little lime and chile or tossed into a salad for crunch gets the royal treatment today. Mixed with sugar, coconut and orange juice over low heat gives the jicama time to slowly soak in the sweetness to give you the perfect after dinner treat!
Dulce de Jicama
by Sweet Life
by Vianney Rodriguez
1 jicama, peeled and grated
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup orange juice
½ cups sugar
1 tsp salt
Candied orange peel
In a medium saucepan combine jicama, coconut, orange juice and salt. Simmer on low heat until sugar dissolves and orange juice evaporates, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Transfer candy to serving dishes and allow to cool, garnish with candied orange peel.
Need more jicama? try these great recipes:
or try making your own