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Argentinian "parrillada"

Wine from Mendoza, gauchos riding their horses, glaciers in the Andes, are a few thoughts that come to mind when planning your trip to Argentina. Another trademark of this South American country is the delicious “parrillada” roasted on a tabletop grill. No trip to Argentina is complete until you visit a restaurant serving this speciality.

Enduring Patagonia
Gregory Crouch.
New York : Random House, c2001.
"Enduring Patagonia", with its exhilarating yet poetic voice and extraordinary color photos, chronicles one man's obsession with the wind-swept mountains and steppes of this strange part of the world made famous by Magellan and Darwin. 16-page full-color insert.
     
The last cowboys at the end of the world : the story of the gauchos of Patagonia
Nick Reding.
New York : Crown Publishers, c2001.
Gaucho conjures up an image as iconic as the word cowboy. But according to historians and anthropologists, their semi-nomadic culture disappeared at the end of the nineteenth century, and no one has seen the gauchos since. Until now. Twenty-five years ago, the government of Chile began building a road into Chilean Patagonia, one of the least-populated regions in the world. In 1995, when Nick Reding traveled down that still-unfinished road into an unmapped river valley, he found himself in a closed chapter of history: a last, undetected, and unexplored outpost of gauchos so isolated that many of them, some of whom are boys as young as thirteen, still live completely alone with their herds, hours on horseback from the nearest neighbors. In 1998, Nick returned to the valley to witness what happens when time catches up to a people whom history has forgotten. Reding's account of the ten months he spent in Middle Cisnes, Patagonia, is a riveting, novelistic exploration of the longing for change by a people and a culture that, according to history books and the Chilean government, do not even exist. There's Duck, the alcoholic with whom Reding lives and who takes Reding on long cattle drives, teaching him to ride and work as gauchos have for centuries; Duck's wife, Edith, who is convinced she is reliving the life of her estranged mother, who was, according to legend, wed to the Devil; John of the Cows, a famed cattle thief wanted for murder who takes Reding to the secret place in the mountains where he hides his stolen stock; and Don Tito and Alfredo, two brothers who are unsure of their age and communicate with each other through smoke signals. In Middle Cisnes, Reding watches a singular-and ultimately murderous-conflict take hold between those who want to trade life in the nineteenth century for life in the twenty-first and those who want to keep living as gauchos have for hundreds of years. What all of them understand is the near impossibility of a journey through a world where everything from the fierce landscape to a ravaging disease conspires against them, a journey whose terminus-the Outside, the only town in central Patagonia's 42,000 square miles-is a place where the gauchos are not only ill-equipped to live, but clearly unwelcome. The Last Cowboys at the End of the World is a story of regeneration through violence and tragedy. When the people of Middle Cisnes finally try to take their place in the modern world, the results are as horrifying and surprising as they are heroic. In the collision of the gaucho past, our present, and an unknown future, Nick Reding captures a moment in time that we have never before seen and will never see again.
     
Buenos Aires : a cultural and literary companion
Jason Wilson.
New York : Interlink Books, 2000.
Intended for readers unfamiliar with Argentine history and culture, Wilson (Latin American and Spanish literature, U. College, London, England) explores the contradictory and culturally rich history of Buenos Aires through the events, people, and literature that have shaped the city. Fuzzy but evocative bandw photographs. Annotation copyrighted by Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
     
Bad times in Buenos Aires : a writer's adventures in Argentina
Miranda France.
Hopewell, N.J. : Ecco Press, 1999, c1998.
When Miranda France, a 26-year-old freelance journalist, arrives in Buenos Aires to live and work, she discovers a city in crisis. "People said the city was sinking," she writes. "Of the 300 brands of condoms in circulation, only eight were safe. The traffic was out of control . . . More than 2,000 bus drivers were found to be clinically depressed." After securing a dilapidated apartment with a permanently crossed telephone line, Miranda France starts her life as a foreigner in Argentina. At night, she learns the tango ("danced properly it should be as passionate and loveless as a one-night stand"). By day, she tries to acquire the knack of viveza criolla (artful lying) to crack the bureaucracy of the local library and explores the legend of Evita Peron and her well-traveled corpse. During her stay, France encounters first-hand the choas and deep melancholy of the Argentine capital. Buenos Aires is, after all, a city where elegant street cafes overlook local workmen grilling hunks of beef on the curb for lunch; where rats outnumber humans eight to one; where investigative television programs look closely at the trend of rising hemlines; where a nationwide shortage of coins causes trips to the supermarket to end in squabbles over small change; where almost everyone France meets is in therapy (Buenos Aires has three times as many analysts per person as New York). Bad Times in Buenos Aires is a brilliant blend of humor, personal narrative, and rich historical background -- including a chilling interview with an army officer from the Dirty War. Winner of the prestigious Shiva Naipaul Memorial Prize for travel writing, Miranda France has written an insightful, vivid, and often laugh-out-loud account of daily life in the "Paris of the South."
     

A “parrillada” is a fantastic mix of select cuts of meat grilled to mouth-watering perfection. It includes links of Argentinian sausage, strips of beef short-rib, skirt steak, chicken breast, pork chops, sweet breads, and other meats.

The meats are grilled on all types of sufaces including both portable and flat table-top type grills.  Prefabricated grills are often found inside or outside homes and restaurants.

Meats used in a parrillada:

Falda  - skirt steak
Matambre – flank steak
Chorizo –spicy sausage
Higado – liver
Rinones – kidneys
Mollejas – sweetbreads
Asado de tira – short rib steak

One unique benefit of the tabletop grills is the ability to adjust the height of the racks. Pieces of coal offer a true flavor to this mixed grill.

When serving a “parrillada,” Argentines rarely season their meats with anything but salt, or an occasional sprinkling of pepper.

If you order parrillada in a restaurant you will likely be asked to select your meats from those brought to your table on large skewers. When you have had enough, turn your skewer over. But come hungry. A parrillada is a treat worth traveling thousands of miles to enjoy. Once you get home, you will want to repeat the experience by grilling your own parrillada.

The food and cooking of Mexico, South American and the Caribbean
Jane Milton, Jenni Fleetwood and Marina Filippelli.
London : Lorenz, 2005.
     
Latin chic : entertaining with style and sass
Carolina Buia and Isabel C. Gonzalez ; photographs by Jim Franco.
New York : Rayo, c2005.
Featuring ten "Latin Chic" gatherings that readers can use as inspiration for their own get-togethers, this volume combines party tips, enticing recipes, and cultural history to create a guide that is stylishly practical and sassily informative.
     
The South American table : the flavor and soul of authentic home cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro, with 450 recipes
Maria Baez Kijac ; foreword by Charlie Trotter.
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Common Press, 2003.
This book has 450 authentic recipes from 10 countries for everything from tamales, ceviches, and empanadas that are popular across the continent to specialties that define individual cuisines.
     
The South American table : the flavor and soul of authentic home cooking from Patagonia to Rio de Janeiro, with 450 recipes
Maria Baez Kijac ; foreword by Charlie Trotter.
Boston, Mass. : Harvard Common Press, c2003.
This book has 450 authentic recipes from 10 countries for everything from tamales, ceviches, and empanadas that are popular across the continent to specialties that define individual cuisines.
     

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff