Sunday, February 11, 2007

Let Them Eat Beef

Our asado (BBQ) last night was so much fun that we forgot to take pictures while it was happening. But here's a shot of the leftovers. Yes, this is how much we had left AFTER feeding eight people, if you can believe it. The redder meat is the bife (beef) while the whiter meat at the front right is the cerdo (pork). Most Argentines like to cook their meats very slowly until very well done, but we just couldn't come around to that perspective. We like our beef more medium (Amy) to rare (Matt).

As you can see, asados are not light meals. It's all about consuming as much meat as you possibly can over a three to four hour period. We started with salami, then moved to sausage, then pork and then finally, the beef. (FYI, I put the kibosh on blood sausage and sweetbreads, which are also very typical offerings.) But because meat prices are regulated by the government and thus extremely cheap, an asado is not an expensive event. We paid around $20 for ALL of the meat. Increible, no?

Here's our parilla (outdoor BBQ) the day after. You can see the ashes and also the long utensils you use. The typical way to do the fire here is with both charcoal and wood. (Supermarkets sell small pieces of wood specifically for this purpose.) A funny tidbit is that Argentines pride themselves on using just one match to light the parilla. More than one, and your reputation is sunk.

Here's who attended our asado:

--Ines and Santiago, our BFFs from Casa Coupage, who coached us through the whole process and even went with us to the grocery store to buy the meat. We couldn't have done it without their help.

--Charlie and Veronica, a very nice English-speaking couple. Charlie, who is from Texas, works for an American-owned engineering firm here in BA. He and Matt met in the Peace Corps in Nicaragua. Veronica, who is from Sao Paulo, Brazil, works for an ad agency here.

--Jeff, a freelance writer/editor from Los Angeles, who we were put in touch with by a friend of Matt's and who joined us on New Year's Eve. He is here for six months, and like me, he telecommutes for his US clients.

--Ronnie, the older Argentine fellow who is starting an olive oil exportation business in Patagonia and who befriended us at Casa Coupage. We sit at the same wine-tasting table with him and Maria Jose every Wednesday.

Sadly, Maria Jose couldn't attend as she's on holiday in Pinamar, a beach town about four hours south of the city.


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