All About Foooood
La comida argentina, in all its forms, has been one aspect I’ve consistently enjoyed while here, so good I’m dedicating this whole entry to bragging over how good it is. Hope you’re reading this with a full stomach!
Desayuno: The “most important meal of the day” is super light here in Argentina, typically consisting of just toast, jam and fruit. Then there’s coffee. Café or commonly café con leche is served in a smaller quantity than in the states and is actually not as strong, only meant for a morning boost. Nevertheless as a coffee addict, I enjoy it anyway, either at home or at one of the millions of cafés scattered around the city. It is commonly served with two or three sweet medialunas, or croissants, and a small glass or orange juice or seltzer.
Almuerzo: The first real meal of the day is much more filling. Many days I’ll stick with good old pizza– here it can be compared to Chicago style pizza- thicker with loads more cheese. One thing difficult to get used to: eating it with a fork and knife. It felt almost degrading the first time. Something else different- drinks in glass bottles. It’s a nostalgia factor, plus you can taste actual sugar in Coke and 7 Up, though you always pour it into a separate cup to drink from. Some days I’ll eat two or three empanadas, either filled with meat, chicken or my personal favorite cheese and onion. You can find these nearly everywhere and are reasonably priced. Choripán– chorizo meat between two buns. Condiments sometimes put on top but the meat is so flavorful it’s really not necessary.
Cena: the biggest meal of the night, although in the typical Argentine household, it’s typically not eaten until 10 or 11 at night! Thankfully because Marta is older we eat at 8:30 or 9. Still, especially in the beginning, there were times I needed to eat an apple before so I wouldn’t lose my mind. Starting with the most sterotypical- carne! I freaking love it here. There’s not a week that goes by without eating bife de chorizo or lomo at least once. Some of it could actually be comparable to what is served in the states, but it’s so much cheaper here, usually $10-15. Often times at steak houses or parillas, they don’t even ask how you want your meat- the huge slabs of meat will satisfy anyone. Pasta here has much less sauce, but the noodles themselves are often homemade and you can really taste the difference- definitely some of the best I’ve had.
Postre: There is one desert that towers over the rest: dulce de leche. This caramel-like sauce is often so sweet I can’t eat too much of it, although in small quantities is quite satisfying- often inside churros here with a little sugar sprinkled on top…the absolute best! Helado– a national obsession. I didn’t know ice cream was so popular in BA until I came a herredia on every other street. Again, the Italian influence is strong. It’s more comparable to gelato, with a higher quality and more flavorful. Even with a cone, people eat it with these small colorful spoons, another little thing that was strange to me. Nonetheless it is some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
Alfajores- small cake-like chocolates available in every café and every kiosk with dozens of different kinds and companies. You can expect me to come to class with three of them stuffed in my pocket to give me quick energy during the day.
Maté– omfg my absolute favorite food I have discovered here. I love it so much and it seems like everyone here loves it too. You can see people drinking this tea in parks, at work, on trains and in class. Maté is drunk from a small cup which is filled about 2/3 with the herb, or yerba, filled consitantly with hot water, sometimes cold water during warmer months. Consumed with a straw called a bombilla, you know it’s good when bubbles appear when you pour the water, a sign of nutrients being released. It has amazing health benefits and apparently more caffinne than coffee, which I can certainly attest to. It’s definitely an acquired taste, especially if you’re drinking it for the first time. Sugar and even an orange slice helps mitigate the inital bitterness. I love it, and I love the whole ceremony around it where people pass the maté cup to each person in a group. I am determined to bring some back to the states with me.