Satsuma Snowball

Satsuma Snowball

An ode to a rediscovered flavor.

Snowy floral, warm and cold. Satsuma meets ice, shaved to crystalline softness. I stand rooted, eyes absorbing what the remaining senses salivate after in jealous anticipation. Clear colorless syrup pours and soaks, more flakes of icy softness fall, a mounding globe. Burrow small tunnels so the syrup can soak in. Will it be too sweet? No, don’t stop – Pour Pour Pour! Cradled in practiced hands, the globe is tendered across the formica divide to my supplicant self, upturned and seeking.

Satsuma Snoball sounds like Billie Holiday celebrating the last days between spring and summer. Lady sings the blues, but the blues sound golden. Satsuma Snoball smells pale buttery yellow at the edges, deepening concentric circles to a gilded orange core, golden as a Duke’s trumpet, asking me if I know what it means?

Yes, I miss New Orleans.

White spoon, white cup, white snow – my spoon gingerly scoops and digs humbly down. I imagine it is satisfied with the feathery icy down. Do I hear a wispy sigh? I take a tentative first bite. The small lump of snow sits like a tiny glacier on my tongue. Ice meets warmth and rivulets of orange blossom memories trickle down the sides. I am jolted and soothed.

Satsuma Snoball, I knew you when. I knew you on ordinary days. I breathed you in with greedy lungs on that sticky summer afternoon of Florida heat when we drove by your groves with windows down. I caught your scent and I leaned and careened, nose pointed out, and breathed in with all my might. Liquid delight. The scent, I couldn’t contain and it wafted away, but I bottled the image. A memory I could uncork any time. Uncolored and all my own.

Listen to Catherine read her personal essay, "Satsuma Snowball":

On that ordinary day, I kept you secret. I didn’t know why. Desperate fingers clutched and colored my spirit every step of the uncertain way, back then. They succeeded in their craft. This is what you think, this is what you feel, this is what you are. But no one can tell me what I smell. And the smell was salve to an unnamed ache. Time and again we’d drive by in the old van, and I’d breathe you in through a silent crack in the window, greeting my vaporous old friend. You, Satsuma, were all mine. 

I didn’t know your name then, and I’ve been searching ever since. Perfumes, single-note oils, cheap cologne – I’ve tried, but none of them funnel that fragrance I almost remember. Once I thought I found you in a jar of sticky body butter masquerading as Red Hibiscus. Almost. But not quite the same. 

At last, incredibly, I have found you frozen in a little melting mound. I taste your scent. And now I know your name.

Satsuma Snoball, tart and sweet. Your scent is mine to savor while this cup is full. I sift through layers of notes, looking, listening, lapping, lingering. Each layer languorously diminishing, memories melting down to clear colorless liquid left in the bottom. I tip the cup and my chin, and trickle that last bit in. (This time, I leave no bite for the elves.)

I have consumed it all. Satsuma Snoball burrows small tunnels to soak into my mind. The other senses satiated, my jealous eyes look ahead, to the next stop, where Satsuma will balance Snoball. Feathery golden softness on a cold colorless day. Warmth to fill my core and coolness to temper the skin. I find myself within. And I finally know my favorite color.

header image: satsuma sno-bliz / paul broussard (courtesy of is a labor of love both for its editors and its contributors. We hope you’ll consider supporting their hard work by pledging a dollar or two a month on Patreon. Those who pledge two or more dollars get a little extra perk: access to our private Facebook group, where you can interact with editors and writers as they share story ideas and previews of their work.
I, A Universe of Atoms, An Atom in the Universe

I, A Universe of Atoms, An Atom in the Universe