This past weekend, thanks to the immense generosity and love of my friends and neighbors, Silvana and Pablo, I re-experience what my life used to be like in Buenos Aires, before coming to Paris….
The weekend barbecue is a must, a ritual for the Argentinians, so much more in the summer, where with light clothes (or even swimwear) we start lighting up the fire….Men are usually in charge of that, and ladies begin to prepare the “picada”, that is some sort of appetizers, to be eaten while the “asado” (barbecue) is grilling at its slow pace…! I always warn: “Don’t exaggerate with the “picada” …then, nobody eats the meat!!
Here we have some salami, some brie cheese (of Argentinian production) and some smoked deer that Pablo had brought from a trip to Bariloche.…Contrary to the image that most people have, the south of Argentina..Patagonia, is rich in specialties made with deer, wild boar, trouts, salmon, and berries of all types….Silvana grows strawberries and raspberries in a little orchard, at the back of her garden, and in pots, for decoration!
Here we can take a glimpse of Pablo’s “parrilla” (grill) Very neatly, he has organised the “tira de asado” (spare ribs) , and the “vacio”and entraña (flank). These are special cuts and will never never understand why cows are cut differently in different latitudes! Then, he has added some champignons, to please the “French” visitors….some “provoletas” (Provolone cheese with oregano, and dried pepper flakes melted in special ceramic pans !) and our “chorizos” (not relatives of the Spanish ones, but rather some sort of sausage) with which we make a sandwich called the “choripan”!!
Would you believe this cat is French? Yes, it was a stray cat that I decided to adopt, when I was living in Pau, in 2005. And just to prove that black cats can be very lucky, “he” travelled from Pau to Paris to Buenos Aires in business class! He lived with us two years in our home, and then, having to return to France, I noticed that he was too happy on the Argentinian soil, so Silvana volunteered to take care of him….
This is Silvana’s dog, Isidoro, a shepherd of Bern, that is some sort of “bodyguard” for my cat!
Barbecue lunches in Argentina last till the evening ! When the sun begins to set, it is time for our mate ! I know what you are going to think…that this is the most “unhealthy” tradition on Earth….yes, we drink mate using that metal straw, and the same mate, and therefore the same straw is used by all the group of friends….Well, it is a deep ingrained tradition in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the south of Brazil, that we are NOT going to change no matter what doctors in other countries might say….Generations and generations of south Americans have taken mate for centuries, and noone has ever died for far!!! I guess more people die from air pollution, chemicals in food, and other things…
Why do we so stubbornly stick to this tradition? Because sharing a mate is more than drinking an infusion..it is an act of friendship, of trust, of sharing your feelings…When a friend phones you telling you he/she has a problem, we immediately say: “Come home for a round of mates” And the mate will be the witness of the most intimate confessions…
This is a glimpse of my life, before moving to Paris..Do I miss it? A lot!! Mind you, I love living in Paris !!! and I adapted vey well to French life !! but I guess somewhere this is my essence…the place, the customs I will always belong to…..