For the first time in three years, we spent Christmas in the United States. More specifically, with my family in Chicagoland.
Because I am a hypocrite (i.e. I mock aspects of the culture and then fully indulge myself in it later – see Panettone Panic as well as the upcoming “So You Want to Throw a Birthday Party?”), I ran out and bought a variety of Panettone to give to friends and family members. I also filled my suitcase with cachaça, Nha Benta and those illegal chocolate eggs with choking devices inside.
To my surprise and dismay, the special Christmas Panettone which I lugged from São Paulo to Chicago, four large cans of Kopenhagen and 5 boxes from Casa Santa Lucia, did not go over as well as I hoped it might. In fact, the only real reaction I got was, “It is a little sweet.” It was also pointed out to me multiple times, by my Brazilian husband and well as my mother, that Panettone is actually sold in the U.S. “But not the Brazilian Panettone,” I replied, when in reality, I had never tried any Panettone other than the stuff they sell in Brazil, so it could be exactly the same.
When I offered a bottle of cachaça to a friend, she responded, “Thanks. I think I still have the one you brought last time.” A year and a half ago. A box of Nha Benta is still sitting in my parents kitchen, along with the Kopenhagen Panettone minus one big piece I ate, and an unopened box of the Santa Lucia brand. “I wanted to save it to give in case someone brought over some cookies or something,” was my mother’s excuse for the unopened box.
What gives?! Are these midwesterners resistant to the delicacies of my new homeland? Or have my tastes just dramatically adapted to my surroundings?
What did go over big were sparkly Campana shoes for my sisters and nieces from Melissa and the chocolate death trap eggs (see Kinder Eggs). What was missed? Puxa sacos.
Sigh. Kinder Eggs from the grocery store and puxa sacos from the feira.