Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Sunday, 11 March, Córdoba (Ken)

In Argentina, Sunday is traditionally a family day.

We had some breakfast and walked around the corner to the almacen to buy some bread and charcoal (they call it carbon) for the asado. Eduardo then showed me how to use the parilla to make an asado. We had chicken because Helen happened to mention in conversation that she liked chicken. Eduardo has a neat way of butterflying the whole chicken and placing it on the parilla in one piece.

He showed me the proper way to start the fire and how the cooking begins with coals placed around the perimeter. A batch of hot coals is kept ready nearby to regulate the heat. This is slow cooking. The boys--Eduardo, Nicolás, and Ignacio, came over with Ignacio's wife, Laura, and their one-year-old son, Valentine. A s the first grandchild, Valentine was the center of atttention for the better part of the day. Edu's girlfriend, Cecilia, also came. Her family owns the paraderia where we bought bread our first day here in Córdoba.

Monica and Helen finished making the empanadas they had begun the night before while Eduardo and I sipped some Malbec. He was very kind to me as he talked to me about things he thought I would be interested in. Eduardo does not speak any English, so he was careful to use simple words and concepts so I could understand the stories. I enjoyed it very much.

We had a great meal with the whole family and then we all played guitars together. Ignacio is a very good bass player who studied music in Buenos Aires and played with a popular group for a while before returning home to start his family. Nicolás and Eduardo are also good players, and we sang songs and drank mate for hours. It was really fun to sit and play with some good musicians. I have not had a chance to do that since I got here. (These Argentino boys are all about the Beatles!)

We all went into town to the Paseo de Artisans where artists and craftspeople show and sell. I bought a handmade asado knife to use with the parilla I am going to build when I return to the USA. Monica got us each a little gift to remember Córdoba. Then we said goodbye to the boys and their wives and friends and returned to the house. Monica, Eduardo, Helen, and I sat around the table, ate leftover chicken and empanadas, and talked about Argentina.

I will be melencholy about leaving tomorrow. These are lovely people who have made us feel very welcomed. Spending time like this, with an Argentine family, is something I had hoped for as I planned this 6-month trip.

This visit to Córdoba was everything I had hoped for--and more.

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