7.29.2012

How to be Smooth: Dulce de Leche


Meeting people can be intimidating. I am not talking about your co-worker introducing you to her new boyfriend, I am talking about out on the town, smiling at strangers, and striking up brilliant conversation out of thin air. So brilliant in fact that this unsuspecting person now cannot live without you in their life and you exchange contact information and become friends. Woah, when you put it that way Rhiana… seriously talking to strangers is not so bad, and my outlook is – you aren’t losing anything by trying, and if it works out, well then…wonderful.  
Here are a couple things to remember, when you are out in the world and need to be smooth and sweet, like honey, like caramel, maybe like Dulce de Leche.
1. You have important and interesting things to say.
2. They would be nervous to strike up conversation too.
3. Introduce yourself and use their name.
4. Find a commonality.
5. Ask open ended questions.
6. Compliment them.
7. Know when it is time to go and make an equally smooth exit.   

If you keep these things in mind you will, eight times out of ten, have a pleasant interaction. Don't be down in the dumps because of the other two. Some people don't want new friends, respect that and move on.

Here's an example, now imagine your running errands and you spot someone you think looks interesting you could say:
"There’s so many tourists here right now! I can I always spot them from those weird scrunched white socks, what sets off your out-of-towner alarm?" (Now you have (4) found a commonality and (5) asked an opened question) they will then respond with either a shrug – which is when you make your exit, or with some equally witty remark which where you (6) compliment them on their perceptiveness and (3) introduce yourself. Easy Peasy. You just made a new friend.
I think it is pretty obvious that I am not shy, chatty and awkward, maybe... but shy... no.
It also helps to carry around home made treats in your purse... that way if you can't think of anything to talk about you can just smile sweetly at that cute boy on the train and say "would you like a cookie?" It works for me… but actually, now that I am admitting I do that, it does sounds a little creepy and usually they don’t say anything just shove cookies into their mouth. Maybe… don't offer strangers baked goods.
So, you’re not ready to brave the social world just yet, here’s something sweet and smooth to pep up your afternoon, with no fear of rejection. Dulce de Leche is a South American sweet made from milk. It is rich and creamy and can be used in any situation that you would normally use caramel. To dip apple slices, to drizzle over ice cream, spoon into a steaming cup of coffee.
The instructions are simple, but require a lot of attention, as does anything worthwhile.

Empty the contents of one can of condensed milk into a double boiler (Water in pot, over heat. bowl on top of that. snug fit) and stir over low heat until reduced by at least half and turned an irresistible light golden caramel shade. This takes about 90 minutes, you want to slowly tease out the flavor. You don’t have to stir the entire time, but check back and whisk every few minutes to prevent it from burning.

I am going to sandwich some between teeny shortbread cookies and keep them in my purse, just in case I need and ice breaker. You should use this recipe for when you meet Nancy and make her Dulces y Leches birthday cake. She’ll love you for it, or you could bottle and bow it and give it to your favorite coffee snob.



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