What Do Y'all Call This?

Ask the Experts
What Do Y'all Call This?
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While it may seem that the staff of Jezebel is just a bunch of New York crones gathered in a basement chain-smoking and click-clacking onto keyboards using our painted talons, the truth is we are from different places. And as such, these regional and cultural differences can lead to lapses in communication, such as the one that took place today during a serious newsworthy discussion about ice cream trucks. As things usually do, this conversation branched out into a larger more in-depth discussion of delicious summer treats when my colleague, the brilliant Hazel Cills, used a phrase I had never heard in all my days.

One of the best summer treats, Hazel said, is a “water ice.” Now, I consider myself a worldly woman knowledgeable and sensitive to other cultures but what on earth is a water ice? Are water and ice not one and the same?

Intellects reflecting on the properties of both water and ice Screenshot:Shannon Melero

The only thing I could think of that might come close to a water ice was a piragua, a New York City summer staple of shaved ice topped with flavored syrup—which would cover both the water and ice bases, presumably. But after we began discussing the texture of water ice, and after I took the lazy route and just googled water ice, I made an amazing discovery.

A revelation Screenshot:Shannon Melero

Water ice is just Italian ice which is also just a coquito (the ice treat not the beverage). They are one and the same! But sort of different! But the same?

Unfortunately, we never arrived at a point of clarity because another regional conundrum broke out between myself and Julianne Escobedo Shepherd, the woman I battle daily for Latina supremacy on this website when she asked about Mamitas, another ice-based treat.

“Is a Mamita like a limber,” I asked Julianne, our two very different heritages clashing once again. “They might be,” she responded, ever the diplomat looking for common ground.

For those of you who did not grow up next to a bodega or inside a Puerto Rican household, Mamitas are flavored ice pops with flavors like tamarindo, guava, or batata. On the other hand, a limber is a much larger, much more syrupy ice treat which I have never been able to find in a store but fondly remember eating in bulk out of a cousin’s freezer in Puerto Rico.

While Julianne and I could not decide if Mamitas and limbers were distant cousins or estranged sisters, one thing was certain. We are both going to attempt to make them at some point this summer and if that doesn’t turn out well then we’re placing a bulk order for La Michoacana paletas. Everyone calls them paletas right?

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