Monday, February 23, 2009
My love of granizados, or copos, as they're called in Costa Rica, goes back to when I was a little girl. In fact, one of my most vivid memories from when we had just moved here is of losing my copos money at school. I was in the third grade at our local public school for a few months and was teased mercilessly, mostly because of my gringuita accent. Those were such difficult months for me, having been suddenly uprooted and dropped into a foreign country, having to wear a school uniform, make new friends and adjust to making Spanish my primary language, but somehow a copo made everything all better at the end of the day. The day I lost my money, I cried all the way home.
Back then, they were sold by vendors who had little pushcarts. On the carts were strings of bells, and like the ice cream man, you could hear them coming blocks away. Inside the cart was a block of ice, which they shaved with a metal box-like contraption--the sound of the scraping of the ice is one I'll never forget. On top of the cart were bottles of flavored syrup and condensed milk, which was drizzled on top if you wanted a granizado con leche. And a bag of powdered milk if you wanted dos leches, for a price, of course, but dos leches was the only way to go. My tío N found granizados repulsive, because the señor de los copos touched the ice, money, and God-knows-what-else with his hands--¡qué asco!--but I sure didn't care.
I think the señor de los copos may be a thing of the past, but I still make a point to indulge when I'm here. Some places make them in slushee machines (bleh), others crush ice to perfection with a machine. A layer of ice, a layer of powdered milk, another layer of ice, syrup, and sweetened condensed milk on top--it's amazing to me how a copo can still make me feel like things are all better.