Sans Rival!
Sans Rival at Almon Marina

My grandmother used to make sans rival, we’d have them for dessert on Christmas day, after feasting on chicken relleno and embutido con sinsal. The sad thing is my uncultured child’s tastebuds really didn’t care much for sans rival back then, preferring Hershey’s chocolate Kisses any day to the desserts that my aunts worked hours in the kitchen to make. As with numerous good things, I didn’t realize what I was missing until I grew old, with memories of meals that I would not eat because my untrained tongue did not appreciate the flavors.

Now I crave them, as much as I would like to sit again in my grandmother’s dress shop at the corner of Taft Avenue and Julio Nakpil, amidst the grey-haired coiffed ladies with whom she spoke in Spanish. I used to hide behind the screen door that led to the modiste’s sewing area, watching these fair skinned ladies conversing animatedly with my Lola, in words that I could not comprehend but which sounded so lyrical even to my uneducated ears. Now, almost two decades after my grandmother had left for that sequined pillow in the sky, I regret never to be able to go back.


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