Category Archives: Lanus, Bs.As.

Asado Lessons

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This is an emergency post in response to a comment from my dear mother on the nature of asado. First off, it’s important to know that all argentines eat meat literally all the time, in massive quantities, which they buy from a carneceria (literally translated as meatery) and cook on a grill (called a parrilla) over burning coals. My lesson (muchas gracias a David y Daniel) proceeded as follows:

1. Build a fire in a vented tin can, so as to heat the coals inside (also purchased from the meatery)

2. While coals are heating, clean grill with bits of frozen fat.

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3. Spread only the hottest coals underneath the parrilla. Once you can hold your hand directly over the metal for about fifteen seconds before it starts burning, it’s ready to go.

4. Ready the meat by rubbing in chimichurri (sauce made of garlic, jalapenos, onions, and other good things), then lay on the parrilla. The meat should NOT be cut into edible portions yet, and there should be enough to feed at least four times the number of people actually eating :P.

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5. After about half an hour, the meat is ready to flip. Note: flipping an entire chicken is extremely difficult.
(Note from Sara: the look on a porteño’s face as a Canadian attempts to flip an entire chicken is extremely entertaining!)

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6. Another half hour and the asado is ready to go. Cut into portions and balance the impressive heap on a plate. Bring into the eagerly awaiting comereros (‘eaters’…no, really, it’s a word!) who will traditionally applaud your arrival. Enjoy, possibly with a small side of lettuce and tomatoes as a polite nod to the fact that there are some other food groups out there besides meat. But who cares about those?

Bien provecho!

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Wandering Canadians adopted by Argentine family: Part 1

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After two lovely days of wandering BA on our own, we braved Argentina’s telecabinas and finally got ahold of Cecilia, my aunt Esther’s cousin’s daughter (international travel is all about the ridiculously complicated connections!). Cecilia brought us home with her to Lanús, a barrio of Gran Buenos Aires (GBA).

Quick explanation: The city of Buenos Aires (BA) is located in the province of Buenos Aires (Bs.As.) and is utterly massive! The city centre (most often referred to as BA) is where most of the famous sites are located and is where most porteños (residents of BA) work, but most people live in the surrounding neighbourhoods (GBA).

Immediately, we were adopted by Lidia and Emilio, my aunt’s cousins, and their children: Raquel, Cecilia, David and Daniel. When we ended up having a 2-hour jam sesh on our very first night there, Josh and I knew we would feel right at home!

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This amazing family filled our days with delicious food, guided tours of the city, long discussions of politics and faith (in Spanish!) over copious servings of mate, and (much to Josh’s delight) asado lessons!

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It was Cecilia’s birthday the week we were there, and she decided to have a party with an “international” theme, preparing dishes from all the places she’s visited. She asked us if we could prepare a special dish from Canada. Josh and I put our heads together, trying to think of an authentically Canadian dish, whose recipe we could remember offhand and whose ingredients were readily available: RICE KRISPIE CAKE was the obvious choice!

However, it turns out Argentina has never heard of marshmallows, so the family was very intrigued to try this exotic and obviously very elaborate Canadian dish. Raquel made a special trip to the one store in the city where they had seen marshmallows sold… and brought home crazy, twisted pink marshmallows that smelt like coconut and vanilla. The end result? A neon-pink cake that was almost devoured before we could get it into the pan! 🙂

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Cecilia also asked us to teach the little kids from church a song in English, so Josh and I led them in a rousing rendition of “Peace Like a River” (and we knew we for sure in Argentina when one of the moms explained to her son, “Si, River, ¡como River Plate!”), and eventually got all the adults singing along too! All the people from their church felt like family: we had such a hard time saying goodbye and were only able to leave them by promising to return in April.

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¡Muchísimas gracias¡ a nuestra nueva familia y todos de nuestros nuevos amigos. 🙂