Thursday, February 02, 2006

Carne al por mayor

I cannot exaggerate the importance, both economic and cultural, of meat in Argentine culture. To illustrate this, I provide you the following anecdote:

Yesterday I moved to a new neighborhood. Thankfully I can still fit my continental possessions in a duffel bag, a messenger bag, and two pieces of Irish luggage, so my belongings and I traveled together in taxi.

Halfway between San Telmo and Palermo Viejo, the taxi driver switched the radio off and, as if to apologize, said, "Necesito comprar un gancho de chorizo."

Chorizo, by the way, is more like our "Italian" sausage than the stuff you might have at a tapas bar. I still did not understand what turning the radio off had to do with a large piece of sausage.

Then the driver spoke into his handset, asking the switchboard operator if he knew a good place to buy wholesale meat. The operator confirmed reception of the message, and within fifteen seconds, we knew where to get a gancho de chorizo.

"It's my kid's birthday," explained the driver, "and I'm making choripan." (Please refer to "Minutas" for an explanation of choripan.) His son was turning seventeen. The driver invited me to the party (in the southern suburb of Lanús), but I unfortunately had to decline.

For the next ten minutes, as we cut across the middle of Buenos Aires, the switchboard operator kept calling out addresses of wholesale meat vendors in Caballito, Boedo, Matadero, Avellaneda...

Moral: When you need meat in a hurry, don't consult the yellow pages. Get into a yellow and black car.


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