Tuesday, January 25, 2011


I encouraged the rest of my family to eat some nopalitos this evening during dinner. The other day I was tasked to buy tortillas, and went to an Aldi for that and a few other things. The stigma of highly visible discounting -- deposits on carts, no bags provided by the store, that sort of thing -- keeps some people away from that brand, I think, and if so they're missing out on some fine items, such as the store's superb line of German chocolates. Anyway, Aldi had no tortillas, or none that I could find.

That seemed odd, but then I remembered the Mexican supermarket at the other end of the strip center. Why would Aldi compete directly with that store on Mexican items? So I visited the other store and found tortillas among at least a dozen choices (half flour, half corn), but I also had to come away with an impulse purchase: a 15.5 oz. (440g) bottle of La Costeña brand tender cactus (nopalitos). Been a number of years since I'd had any.

Ingredients: tender cactus (phrased that way, I guess, to discourage the idea that nopalitos are prickly), water, onion, cilantro, serrano peppers, iodized salt, vinegar. Serrano are supposed to be hotter than jalapeño, but maybe not when being used this way, since the end result was a milder heat than jalapeño. In fact, the way I described it to Yuriko to persuade her to try it was "a mild jalapeño" taste (she is unusual for a Japanese in her fondness for jalapeños). Try it she did, and she didn't find it objectionable.

Lilly was harder to persuade to try it. Impossible, in fact. It was as if I'd suggested she take a bite out of one of those spiny cacti people keep in pots on their windowsills. Ann wasn't interested either, but her rejection wasn't quite as spirited.



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