Friday, April 24, 2009

Meaty Culture

I was a vegetarian many moons ago, sometime in college when it was de riguer to do it. I eventually returned to my carnivorous ways, as my body never loved this state of being, always feeling deprived of something.

Thankfully I got over this before I came to Argentina. This is a place of meat, meat, and more meat. Ummm… Delicious meat. I have met some Argentine “vegetarians” who eat every type of flesh but actual red meat – this includes ham and chicken.

When you go to the carniceria (butcher), there must be more than two dozen cuts of beef to choose from, each with their own very Argentine names. Or when you go to a parilla for a diner with friends, there’s no less than 10 different types of meat to gobble down with your Malbec. I still don’t know what some of them are and I suspect if I knew, I still probably wouldn’t eat them.

For example, the other night I was at a small dinner party where the chef was a vegetarian and she cooked us a delicious Middle Eastern inspired dinner, with homemade hummus and falafel. While eating, we got into a discussion about meat and one of the guests (a dear friend), asked me about what cuts of meat I liked. Before too long, we had to pull out the Spanish-English dictionary to look up what we were talking about. Brains, livers, ever organ you could imagine was mentioned.

Nonetheless, the stuff I do eat is scrumptious! Some say it’s the grass feeding, others say it is the lack of hormones and medicines the cows are given here in Argentina. But it’s not important. It’s damn good, with a nice texture and gentler flavor than North American meat. But what do I know about meat anyway? I had seitan for lunch.

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