We have now been introduced to the Argentinian "Asado" or feast of 'carne con cuero'
In this very family oriented culture the Asado or back yard barbeque is a regular social event. While it is mostly a
social gathering the availabilty of some of the world's best beef at affordable prices makes roasting a natural.
Seems the families congregate as often as every week to barbeque the famous Argentine beef over a slow fire and
talk for five or six hours. Kind of like having a Thanksgiving dinner every weekend. Dinner here often doesn't start until
about 9:00 at night which strikes me as more like bedtime. This Spanish culture is very laid back no one seems to
worry about time so Asados can go on for a long time.
Tradition has it that the Asado came from the Gauchos or Argentine cowboys. Seems all they had was water and
beef when out on the Papmas. Each night they would gather and build a fire out of available wood and cook a meal after dark.
We were first invited to an Asado at the home of the principal of the School where Jeremy works. This was mostly
Gringos except for Hercilia, Jeremy's lovely girlfriend and a oriental woman (American) who works in Malaysia. The
numbers grew to eighteen over the evening, including three teachers from Kuala Lumpar and one retired teacher from
Florida. The home was very open with the house blending into the porch where it is most comfortable to sit in the
summer. Everything seems to be in bloom and Helen created her own garden tour.
The fine Argentine beef is cooked slowly over hot coals for several hours. No sauces or marinates, just the real thing
with only salt from the Argentine salt flats in the north. I've heard of Argentine beef before (we're not normally meat
eaters) and it was indeed spectacular.
The next night we were invited to an Asado hosted by Hercilia's family at the local racetrack stables where her brother
is a manager. The small room where we met was a beautiful setting and homey atmosphere. The meal was (as
anticipated) rather wonderful but getting there was the adventure.
It had started drizzling in the afternoon while we were wandering the craft and antique fairs in downtown Buenos Aires.
By 7:30 when Helen and I began the three block walk to Jeremy's apartment it was raining hard. Less than a block
from our apartment is stopped simply raining hard and I began to sense what Noah felt like when the floods began. I
was soaked by the time I arrived. We dried out as much as possible before the 5 minute drive to the stables.
The remises (Argentine private taxis) arrived at 7:50 and we all got soaked just getting into the cars. The normal 5
minute drive took closer to 45. At one point our driver stopped when the water came up over the wheels and backed
up two blocks before turning around. We retraced our route and tried another. The defogger wasn't working and
Jeremy kept busy wiping the window for the driver. As we drove the waves from our front wheels rose above the
windows on either side of the car. Stop signs and traffic lights were abandoned and we plunged ahead. Seemed like
Venice instead of Buenos Aires, we needed a Gondola instead of a taxi. Eventually we found our destination and
stepped out of the remis into ankle deep water. By the time we got inside we were all soaked from head to toe.
Fortunately the smell of roasting Argentine beef and a supply of Argentine red wine helped us focus on the Asado and
forget about the torrential downpour that continued outside.
Somewhere around midnight we finally headed home. Good friends, family and food had triumphed over adversity once more.
Perhaps it is was "El Nino" but it certainly was not normal weather.
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