The Weekend of Food
This past weekend was filled with something that Argentines do best: eating! On Saturday, we had our “cooking class” excursion with IFSA-Butler. We went to a bodega (winery/vineyard) in the department of Maipu and we learned how to make several traditional Argentine dishes. We made two types of homemade bread, rice with hard noodles, four different types of salad, beef and onion empanadas (it is similar to a pizza pocket, but it tastes a lot better!), oven-baked potato slices with spices, steak fillets topped with a veggie and garlic sauce, tortas fritas con azúcar (similar to a funnel cake or other fried dough with sugar) and dulce de leche crepes (dulce de leche is similar to caramel, and it is the equivalent of peanut butter here in Argentina: they eat it with almost everything!) After we finished cooking, we had quite the feast…Needless to say, I didn’t eat again for over 24 hours! (See below for pictures!)
For Sunday’s lunch, my family had ANOTHER asado (similar to a bbq, but with more meat). We have had an asado every week for the last three weeks! Our family asado consisted of salad, bread, and four rounds of filled platters with all different kinds of beef. I am pretty sure that I have already eaten an entire cow since I have been in Argentina. I typically only eat beef four or five times a year at home in the States, so this beef marathon that is studying abroad in Argentina is quite the change for my diet! The asado also included not one, not two, but THREE desserts! My family rarely eats dessert with any meal, but when they do, they go all-out! There was some type of apple and raisin pie, a chocolate cake layered with dulce de leche icing, and alfajores (popular Argentine cookie sandwiches filled with dulce de leche and sometimes covered in chocolate and/or coconut). The asado is not just an event for eating, though. Asado is heavily based around spending time with family and/or friends, and enjoying each other’s company. My extended family was over all day yesterday, as they typically come over in the morning and stay until dark on asado days. It’s really nice to see the extended family so often, rather than just on holidays, as my real family typically does in the US. Saying this, I think it is a little easier to make happen here in Argentina, because there is typically absolutely NOTHING to do on Sundays, whereas in the U.S. several people still have to go to work, or go to sports events, or catch up on homework/laundry/cleaning etc.
Next week is our ‘Spring Break’ (I put it in scare quotes because I technically still have class, but several of the IFSA-Butler students do not, so those of us who have classes are skipping them to travel with the others!) and I am going to Salta, in the Northwest of Argentina. I am incredibly excited, because apart from the national parks and gorgeous natural beauties in that region of the country, the Salta area is also where much of Argentine folk music originated, so I hope to be able to experience some of that while we are there as well!