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Argentina

Alberto Ginastera, Argentine composer

.. among the greatest composers of the twentieth century.

 

Alberto Ginastera

b.11 April 1916, Buenos Aires

d.25 June 1983, Geneva

Alberto Ginastera was the leading Argentinian composer of the twentieth century, as important in giving the Argentinian folk heritage a voice in art music...

 

To compose, in my opinion, is to create an architecture... In music, this architecture unfolds in time... When time has past, when the work has unfolded, a sense of inner perfection survives in the spirit. Only then can one say that the composer has succeeded in creating that architecture." — Alberto Ginastera

 

Works by Alberto Ginastera include:

Dances from Estancia (1941) for orchestra

Variaciones concertantes (1953) for chamber orchestra

Bomarzo (1966-67) Opera in two acts

Popul Vuh [The Creation of the Maya World] (1975-83) for orchestra

 

http://www.boosey.com/pages/cr/composer/composer_main.asp?composerid=2699&ttype=BIOGRAPHY&ttitle=Biography

 

 

 

 

Several of the fifty-five works he composed stand as landmarks of Latin-American artistic creation and have earned him a place – together with the Mexican Carlos Chávez and the Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos – among the greatest composers of the twentieth century.

http://www.naxos.com/composerinfo/Alberto_Ginastera/26054.htm

 

 

 

Free classical music (mp3s) from composer

Alberto Ginastera

http://www.classiccat.net/ginastera_a/index.htm

 

 

 YERBA MATE - WHAT IS IT? 

http://www.noborders.net/mate/what.html


POWER POINT PRESENTATION OF THE CULTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OF SHARING MATE (IN SPANISH)
"Mate is not a drink..."

http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/milarki31956spaces.-12862-el-mate-tomemosmate-entertainment-ppt-powerpoint/


MATE IS NOT A DRINK (Translation) This seems to be a partial translation of the power point above: 

Un Mate y Un Amor
A mate is not a drink. Well, ok, it is. It’s a liquid you put it in your mouth. But it is not a drink. It this country, nobody drinks mate because they are thirsty. It is more of a habit, like scratching yourself. 
Mate is exactly the opposite of television. It makes you talk if you’re with someone and think when you’re alone. When someone comes to your house, the first thing you say is “hi” followed by “should we drink a few mates?”
This happens in all houses, rich and poor. It happens with women who never stop talking and women who are gossips. It happens with men who are serious and men who are immature. It happens with old people in retirement homes and it happens between teenagers while studying or getting high. It´s the only thing that parents and children can share without arguing and getting into each other´s faces. Peronists and radicals make mate without questioning one another. In summer or winter. It’s the only thing that the victims and the villains, the good and the bad, have in common. 
When you have a child, you give them a mate when they ask for it. You give it to them nice and warm, with lots of sugar, and they feel all grown up. You feel great pride when your child begins drinking mate, so much so that your heart swells. With time, they will choose whether to drink it with or without sugar, hot or cold, with orange peel, herbs, or pieces of lemon. 
When you meet someone for the first time, you drink some mates. The person making the mate asks: with or without sugar? The other responds: However you drink it.” 
Keyboards in Argentina are full of little pieces of yerba mate. Mate is the only thing that every house has all the time. Always. Amidst inflation, when there´s hunger, under a military regime, with democracy, during whichever of our eternal curses we are suffering. If one day you run out of yerba mate, a neighbor will give you some. Nobody is ever denied mate. 
This is the only country in the world where a child becomes an adult on one particular day. It has nothing to do with longer pants, circumcision, university, or living away from your parents. Here we become adults the day we feel the need to drink a few mates for the first time while we are alone. It’s not a coincidence. It’s not just because. The day a child puts the kettle on the fire and drinks their first mate when no one else is home, in this moment, they have discovered that they have a soul. Maybe they are scared to death, or completely in love, or something: but it is not just any day. None of us remember the day in which we drank our first mate by ourselves. But it must have been an important day for each of us. Inside of us there are revolutions.
A simple mate is nothing more and nothing less than a demonstration of values…
It’s the solidarity of putting up with mates lavados* because the conversation is too good…the conversation, NOT the mate!
It´s the respect for the time to talk and time to listen…you speak while the other drinks
…the sincerity to say “that´s enough, change the mate.
….friendship in the moment.
…the sensitivity to boiling water**.
…the tenderness to ask “It´s hot, isn´t it?”
…the modesty of who makes the best mate.
…the generosity to give until the end.
…the hospitality of an invitation (to drink mate)
…the justice for each individual.
…the obligation to say “thank-you” at least once a day***
…the ethical, franc, and loyal attitude to get together for no other reason than to share.
*a mate lavado refers to when the yerba mate is “washed out” meaning it has lost its flavor, and needs to be replaced with more mate.
**sensitivity to boiling water because boiling water will “burn” the mate, wrecking its flavor.
***when you are finished drinking mate, you say “thank-you” meaning you don´t want anymore. 


EXPOSE BUENOS AIRES
http://exposebuenosaires.com/yerba-mate-in-argentina/



LALO'S TAKE ON MATE AND ON EL ARGENTINISMO (Being Argentine)
http://patagonialiving.com/blog/?p=176


YERBA MATE SECRETS
Yerba Mate, the hot, new beverage, is said to contain many medicinal properties. It has a long history as a medicinal herb utilised for everything from increasing immunity and purifying the blood to minimizing stress and fighting insomnia. Throughout South America, yerba mate is utilised as a tonic, diuretic, and as a stimulant to reduce fatigue, curb the appetite, and helps with gastric functions. In Brazil, yerba mate is believed to stimulate the nervous and muscular systems and is used for digestive problems, renal colic, nerve pain, depression, fatigue, and obesity. In addition, Guarani Indians have relied on the beverage for years as a main component of their diet. They believe it is good for boosting immunity, detoxifying the body, lowering blood pressure, toning the nervous system, controlling appetite, curing insomnia, retarding aging, reducing fever.
http://yerbamate-secrets.blogspot.com/






How to prepare Yerba Mate > A Step by Step photo gallery with commentary!
Below you will find a step by step photo shoot of what's involved with preparing your Yerba Mate for full enjoyment :-) I hope this is helpful for you. EnJoY! There will be multiple pages to work through in this process as well as a link to more and larger photos at the end of the tour. Have fun and EnJoY your Mate! It's best when you share it with a good friend :-)



http://www.yerbamatedrinker.com/how_to_prepare_the_mate.html






Yerba Mate vs. Coffee: Which is Healthier? 
Get your aging brain back into shape - naturally.
At BrainReady, we've covered the brain health and longevity-related benefits of just about every natural drink one could think of; from Matcha green tea to cocoa to the differences between espresso and regular coffee, the list of health-fueling natural choices can be almost overwhelming if you're trying to pick the right one for you.

http://www.brainready.com/blog/yerba_mate_vs_coffee_which_.html






Bienvenidos!

YerbaMateTeaGourd.com now a yerba mate wholesaler. 
Mate cups, tea gourds, cuias, porongos ... and more!
Retail and Wholesale Yerba Mate Tea and Mate Cups, Kits
FRESHNESS DATING ON ALL TEA!
Yerba Mate, Ilex Paraguariensis, is a tea (...o.k.--a "tisane" really) loaded with vitamins and minerals. With yerba mate you can experience the great benefits of an herbal health supplement--and a coffee substitute--without all of the negative side-effects. 
http://www.yerbamateteagourd.com/




Yerba Mate (pronounced "yerba mahtay") is a medicinal and cultural drink of ancient origins. Introduced to the world by the Guarani Indians of South America, Mate contains ingredients that help keep its drinkers healthy and energetic. 
More than a drink, Yerba Mate has become a cultural phenomenon throughout South America. Its benefits are obvious. In Buenos Aires, where people carry their Mate with them throughout the day, the site of an obese person is rare. Click on the menu items to the left to find out if Mate could be for you. 
http://www.noborders.net/mate/index.html



GUARANI INDIANS OF PARAGUAY, URUGUAY, ARGENTINA

Argentina
Paraguayan Guaraní is an official language in the provinces of Corrientes and Misiones, alongside Spanish.
A different variety of Guarani, Western Argentine Guaraní, is spoken further west, by about 15,000 speakers, mostly in Jujuy, but also in Salta Province. It refers to essentially the same variety of Guaraní as Eastern Bolivian Guaraní.[1]
Additionally, another variety of Guaraní known as Mbyá is spoken in Argentina by 3,000 speakers.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guaran%C3%AD_language

GUARANI CULTURE SUMMARY
http://lucy.ukc.ac.uk/EthnoAtlas/Hmar/Cult_dir/Culture.7843

GUARANI LANGUAGE
http://linguistics.byu.edu/classes/ling450ch/reports/Guarani1.html

GUARANI SURVIVAL
http://www.survivalinternational.org/tribes/guarani

GUARANI WRITING SYSTEM
http://www.omniglot.com/writing/guarani.htm




SMITHSONIAN ARTICLE ABOUT ARGENTINA
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/Hola-Buenos-Aires.html


RECIPES FROM ARGENTINA
Argentina is known for beef. Prepared in barbeques, as an asado or parrillada, or in other ways, beef is consumed in great quantities. But there's more to Argentine cuisine than beef. Explore these sites.

http://gosouthamerica.about.com/od/recipesfromargentina/Recipes_from_Argentina.htm

http://fromargentinawithlove.typepad.com/from_argentina_with_love/

http://www.asadoargentina.com/

http://www.popular-traditional-argentina-food.com/maindishes.html

http://www.idlewords.com/2006/04/argentina_on_two_steaks_a_day.htm




ALFAJORES (sugar cookies)
country of origin: Argentina

1 Cup butter
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
3 cups flour
1 cup cornstarch

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add egg and beat until fluffy. Beat in baking powder. In a separate bowl, stir together flour & cornstarch. (Variation: Include 1 cup powdered cocoa for chocolate flavored.) Carefully fold in by hand, with a spoon, flour and cornstarch. Place in plastic bag and refrigerate 1 hour. Roll out dough to a thin 1/8 inch thickness. Sprinkle with SMALL amount of flour to prevent dough from sticking. More flour makes cookies tough. Cut with a very small biscuit cutter, 1 ½ inches. Bake for 8 minutes at 325 degrees. Sprinkle coconut on a plate. Spread Dulce de Leche between 2 cookies, press together, and roll the edges in coconut. Children enjoy pretending they are wheels and are driving through
snow!


CARBONADA CRIOLLA (Stew with Meat, Vegetables, and Fruit)
Country of origin: Argentina

Ingredients
3 Tablespoons olive oil 
2 pounds of stewing beef, cut into 1-inch chunks 
4 large tomatoes, chopped thick 
1 green pepper, chopped thick 
1 large onion 
3 cloves garlic, minced 
2 bay leaves 
1 teaspoon oregano 
2 cups canned chicken stock 
3 potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes 
3 sweet potatoes, diced into 1-inch cubes 
2 ears of corn, cut into 1-inch widths (or use 2 cups of frozen corn) 
2 zucchini, diced into ½-inch pieces 
2 peaches in ½-inch pieces 
2 pears in ½-inch pieces 
Procedure
Heat oil in heavy pot. 
Brown beef in separate batches so that all of it gets cooked. Remove from the pot and set aside. 
In that same pot, cook tomatoes, pepper, onion, and garlic until soft. 
Add bay leaves, oregano, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil. 
Return beef to the pot, and add potatoes and sweet potatoes. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. 
Stir in zucchini and corn. Simmer 10 more minutes, or until vegetables are almost soft, then add the peaches and pears. 
Cook 5 more minutes. 
Serve hot. 
Makes 6 to 8 servings.

CHIMICHURRI (Dipping & marinate Sauce)
country of origin: Argentina

Ingredients
1/2 cup olive oil 
2 Tablespoons lemon juice 
1/3 cup fresh parsley, minced 
1 clove garlic 
2 shallots (or 2 small onions), minced 
1 teaspoon minced basil, thyme, or oregano (or mixture of these, if preferred) 
Salt and pepper to taste 
Procedure
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and let sit for at least 2 hours before serving as a dip for empanadas or to marinate & baste meat for BBQ. 


DULCE DE LECHE (caramelized milk) 
country of origin: Argentina

1 can evaporated milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar

Combine milk, vanilla and sugar in saucepan. Cook over medium low heat for about 12 minutes until it reaches a boil. Stir occasionally to prevent burning. It should change to a darker, caramel color. Boil & stir until thick, bubbly, and brown. Remove from heat and allow to cool in pan. It should thicken as it cools to the consistency of peanut butter. This sweet spread is used on bread, toast, or the cookie recipe, Alfajores. 

[So. American METHOD: (warning: practiced for years, but now claimed to be dangerous. Hasn’t blown up on me yet.) Remove label from a can of sweetened condensed milk. Do not open can. Place entire can, unopened, in a small heavy pan. Cover unopened can completely with water. Put lid on saucepan. Bring to boil. Boil for 1 hour. Turn off heat. Remove lid. When water cools, carefully remove can with tongs. Allow can to cool before opening.]

EMPANADAS (Little Meat Pies)
Country of origin: Argentina

Ingredients
FILLING:
1 pound ground beef 
½ cup onions, chopped 
8 green olives, chopped 
1 teaspoon salt 
¼ teaspoon oregano 

PASTRY:
2½ cups flour 
1 egg yolk 
½ cup water 
¼ cup butter 
1 teaspoon vinegar 
½ teaspoon salt 
Procedure

FILLING:
Brown the ground beef and onions in a frying pan until meat has lost all its pink color. 
Stir in the remaining ingredients. 
Drain the mixture well, and allow it to cool. 

PASTRY:
Preheat oven to 400°F. 
In a bowl, mix the flour, butter, egg, yolk, and vinegar together by hand. 
Stir the salt into the water and sprinkle water, a little at a time, over the flour mixture. 
Knead the dough until it is smooth. (To knead, flatten the dough on a surface that has been dusted with a little flour. Fold the dough in half and flatten again. Turn. Repeat the process for about 15 minutes.) 
For each empanada, roll 1/4 cup of dough into a 9-inch circle. 
Put 1/2 cup filling on the circle, and fold it in half. 
Press the edges of the dough together, and poke a small hole in the top using a toothpick. Place on a cookie sheet. 
Repeat process until all the dough and filling are used up. 
Bake 10–15 minutes. 
Serve hot with chimichurri. (see recipe)



EMPANADAS (Chicken Pot Pie Turnovers)
Country of origin: Argentina

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup frozen peas
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (from rotisserie chicken)
1/2 cup prepared chicken or turkey gravy
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Half of a 17.3-ounce package frozen puff pastry, thawed (1 sheet)
1 egg, beaten

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the onion, garlic and pepper flakes. Saute until just tender, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and saut another 4 to 5 minutes, or until the peas are thawed.
Add the chicken and saut until just heated through, about 3 minutes. Add the gravy and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the mixture into the prepared ramekins.
Unfold the puff pastry and use a round cookie or biscuit cutter to cut out four rounds of the puff pastry. Place a small amount in the middle of the pastry and top each with a second round of dough. Press with fork to seal. Brush the pastry with the egg.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the pastry is lightly browned and puffed.

EMPANADAS DE COCO (coconut tarts) 
Country of origin: Argentina

Crust:
2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Coconut filling::
1/2 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup flour (or 1/8 cup cornstarch)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 Cups milk
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cups flaked coconut

PASTRY: Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles and place in cup cake tins. Should make 24 tarts. Bake 15 minutes. Spoon in coconut filling, sprinkle top with leftover dry coconut. Return to oven and .bake another 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. May be eaten warm or cooled.

COCONUT FILLING: In saucepan, using medium high heat, combine sugar, flour (or cornstarch), and salt. Gradually stir in milk and cook, stirring until thick and bubbly. Reduce heat, stir & cook 2 minutes more. Remove pan from heat. Separate egg yolk from whites. (The following step is important to keep the eggs from curdling.) Beat egg yolks slightly and gradually, little by little, stir in 1 Cup of the hot mixture into the yolks. Add yolk mixture to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla. Stir in most of the coconut.





EMPANADAS DE LIMON (lemon tarts) 
Country of origin: Argentina
Crust:
2 Cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Lemon filling: 
1 1/2 Cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
3 Tablespoons flour
1 1/2 Cups water
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoons lemon peel
1/3 Cup lemon juice 

Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles and place in cup cake tins. Should make 24 tarts. Bake 15 minutes. Spoon in lemon filling and bake another 10 minutes or until crust looks golden brown. May be eaten warm or cooled.

Lemon filling:
Combine sugar, cornstarch, and flour with whisk. Stir in water and cook over medium high heat in saucepan until thick. Separate egg yolk from whites. (The following step is important to keep the eggs from curdling.) Beat egg yolks slightly and gradually, little by little, stir in 1 Cup of the hot mixture into the yolks. Add yolk mixture to saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add butter, lemon peel, and lemon juice.


EMPANADAS DE QUESO (cheese turnovers) 
Country of origin: Argentina

Crust:
2 Cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Cup shortening
1 egg
2 Tablespoon ice water

Cheese filling:
2 eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
8 oz cottage cheese
8 oz cream cheese 

Stir salt & Flour together. Cut in shortening with fork or pastry cutter. Beat 1 egg in separate bowl or coffee cup. Mix ice water to egg. Toss into flour mixture until ball is formed. Chill 1 hour. Meanwhile, make filling. After filling is prepared, roll out chilled dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut into 2 inch circles. Place a Tablespoon of cheese filling in the center of circle. Cover with a second circle of pastry and press edges with fork to seal. Fry in oil making sure to brown both sides. Drain on paper towel. Cool before eating.

Cheese filling: 
Blend egg, sugar, vanilla, butter and cottage cheese in blender, slowly add cut up pieces of cream cheese as blender is running. 


ENSALADA RUSA (Russian Salad)
country of origin: Argentina
2 cups boiled potatoes, diced small*
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/2 cup cooked carrots, diced small
Mayonnaise
Salt to taste if needed
Variations: 1 can tuna, 4 hard boiled eggs, 
garnish with Spanish olives

Cook the potatoes however you like but I prefer to keep them whole with the skins on while boiling. Then when cooled, peel and dice them. In a large bowl, add potatoes, carrots, and peas. Gently fold in mayonnaise spoonful by spoonful, so as not to break up the potatoes, until the vegetables are lightly coated or whatever consistency you prefer. Don’t go overboard since some cringe when they see too much mayonnaise. You can always place extra mayonnaise on the table at serving time for those who like their salads heavy. This basic recipe has variations with additional ingredients, according to family traditions and tastes, just as you might have Grandma's original recipe for potato salad.


ENSALADA DE FRUTA Y YOGURT (Frozen Yogurt Fruit Salad)
Country of origin: Argentina

3 Tablespoons honey 
3 Tablespoons lemon juice 
1 medium apple, cored and chopped 
1 medium plum, pitted and sliced 
1 large orange, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch rounds 
1 large grapefruit, peeled and sectioned 
1 medium banana, peeled and sliced into rounds 
1 quart frozen vanilla yogurt 
In a large bowl, whisk together the honey and lemon juice. Stir in the fruit, and serve topped with a scoop of frozen yogurt. On Christmas Eve, celebrated on December 24, Argentines eat a late meal of cold beef, chicken, or turkey, and fruit salad. Because Christmas occurs during summertime in South America, Argentines often eat the meal outside on decorated tables. After dinner, they eat almonds, dried fruits, and pan dulce, a sweet bread that is similar to fruitcake but has fewer fruits and nuts.


Ñoquis (gnocchi)
Country of origin: Argentina

2 lbs. baking potatoes (about 6)
salt
2 eggs
1 cup fresh, good quality ricotta cheese
2-3 cups flour, plus more for dusting
Peel and quarter the potatoes, putting them in a medium stock pot with enough water to cover the potatoes with one inch of water. Add a scant handful of salt. Put the potatoes to boil until they are tender when pierced with a fork , but not mushy. Drain the potatoes.
Put the potatoes through a food mill or potato ricer. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, eggs, and ricotta, and mix well using your hands or a fork until a consistent dough is formed. Be careful not to overmix. 
Add the flour a half cup at a time, mixing each time by hand until there is a soft, pliable dough. The dough should not be sticky, and it should not be hard. If it's too sticky or soft, the gnocchi will be mushy, but if there's too much flour, the gnocchi will be chewy and tough. (This is the challenging part!)
Knead the dough a few times until uniform, and divide the dough in half . Flour a work area, and roll the dough out into a long thin roll about 3/4 inch thick. Cut these tubes of dough into sections about 1 inch long. Meanwhile, bring a stock pot of water to a boil. 
There are a variety of ways to 'mark' the gnocchi-all just a style choice, since at this point, they are more or less done. Here are some suggestions: Mark an indentation in the center of each gnocchi with your index finger; or roll over the side of a cheese grater to make patterned indentations; or roll over the backside of a fork, or roll over the center of a wooden gnocchi tool.
At this point, the gnocchi can be frozen laid out on a baking sheet lined with wax paper. After they are frozen, they can be stored in a freezer bag. Frozen gnocchi are just put into the boiling water like the unfrozen ones.
Throw the gnocchi one at a time into the boiling water. They are cooked when they rise to the top. Collect with a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Serve with the sauce of your choice. (Some nice choices are walnut Gorgonzola, tomato or white sauce.)

Ñoquis II (gnocchi)
Country of origin: Argentina

1 potato for each person 
1/3 cup of flour for each potato 
salt (to taste) 

Cook the potatoes 
Mash the potatoes, add salt to taste 
Add the flour 
Mix it till you have a soft texture (if necessary add more flour) 
Move the mixture to a flour covered table for forming

Cut the mixture into small strips (more or less the size of a carrot) 
Cut the strips into small squares 
Run a fork along the outside of each square to add design (optional) 
Let them dry for a few minutes, keeping the squares separated so they don’t stick 
Boil water with salt. Carefully add the ñoquis to the boiling water 
Stir slowly and with care 
When the ñoquis stop floating, stop the fire and strain them from the pot 
Ñoquis are great with tomato salsa and grated cheese 


Mate etiquette
When drinking mate, first a gourd is packed close to the brim with the dried leaves. Artfully 
Jorge Alfonso Hernández / Wikimedia
When drinking mate, never say "thank you" and never stir the straw. Both are considered rude.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

placed in the green leaves and twigs is a silver straw known as a bombilla. The brewer adds near-to-boiling water and a few moments later, you take a slow, steady sip from the silver straw.

Once it’s empty, the brewer takes the gourd, and fills it back up to either drink himself or to share with someone else at the gathering.

One rule: Never say “thank you.” That is a huge insult. As Macarena Preeyra Olazabal, a mate expert, explains. “It suggests you don’t want to drink more and don’t really want to extend the friendship.”

Oh, and one more thing -- I was scolded by brewer Soledad Olagregui: “Never stir the straw!” It’s an insult to the brewer, suggesting it was not prepared correctly.

Where does mate come from?
Mate is not a tea; it grows on a bush. Head to the grocery store and, like coffee in the U.S., there is one long aisle of choices.

Mate was first brewed by the Guaranies Indians. They learned long ago that it was a great “pick-me-up,” and that when they were hungry, it satisfied hunger. Studies suggest it does not have caffeine, but rather what Argentineans called “matine.” 

When the Spanish first came to Argentina in the 1500s, Jesuit priests studied its use and not only found it was indeed a stimulant, but also a superb way to keep people from drinking alcohol. The priests promoted its use and it’s been a staple here since.

It’s not uncommon to meet people today who swear by it, claiming it helps the digestive system and magically helps keep off weight.


Kerry Sanders
NBC cameraman Carlos Rigau tried mate for the first time. "OK to try once, but it's not my herb," he says. 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What does it taste like?
To me mate tastes like a very bitter Asian green tea. The more you drink it, the stronger the after-taste. 

The traditional mate is consumed without sugar, but increasingly the younger generation adds sugar, honey, sometimes even zest from an orange or lemon. I broke tradition and tried it with sugar. Were I to take up this habit, which is unlikely, I’d probably tend towards the sweeter side.

Want to give it a try? While mate was once only available in Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil and Paraguay, today it’s wildly available in the United States. Finding the gourd and “bombilla” straw may take a little more work, but it’s critical to take in the entire experience. Do not brew a cup as if you were drinking tea. You will not be happy.

MATE:
El mate no es una bebida. Bueno, sí. Es un líquido y entra por la boca.
Pero no es una bebida. En este país nadie toma mate porque tenga sed. Es más bien una costumbre, como rascarse. El mate provoca exactamente lo contrario que la televisión: te hace conversar si estás con alguien y te hace pensar cuando estás solo. Cuando llega alguien a tu casa, la primera frase es "hola" y la segunda "¿unos mates?". Esto pasa en todos los hogares, ya sean ricos o pobres. Pasa entre mujeres charlatanas y chismosas, y pasa entre hombres serios o inmaduros. Pasa entre los viejos de un geriátrico y entre los adolescentes mientras estudian o se drogan. Es lo único que comparten los padres y los hijos sin discutir ni echarse en cara.
Peronistas y radicales ceban mate sin preguntar. En verano y en invierno.
Es lo único en lo que nos parecemos las víctimas y los verdugos; los buenos y los malos. Cuando tenés un hijo, le empezás a dar mate cuando te pide. Se lo das tib iecito, con mucha azúcar, y se sienten grandes. Sentís un orgullo enorme cuando un esquenuncito de tu sangre empieza a chupar mate. Se te sale el corazón del cuerpo. Después ellos, con los años, elegirán si tomarlo amargo, dulce, muy caliente, tereré, con cáscara de naranja, con yuyos, con un chorrito de limón... Cuando conocés a alguien, lo invitás a compartir unos mates. La gente pregunta, cuando no hay confianza: "¿dulce o amargo?". El otro responde: "como tomes vos".
Los teclados de Argentina tienen las letras llenas de yerba. La yerba es lo único que hay siempre, en todas las casas. Siempre. Con inflación, con hambre, con militares, con democracia, con cualquiera de nuestras pestes y maldiciones eternas. Y si un día no hay yerba, un vecino tiene y te da. La yerba no se le niega a nadie. Éste es el único país del mundo en donde la decisión de dejar de ser un chico y empezar a ser un hombre ocurre un día en particular. Nada de pantalones largos, circuncisión, universidad o vivir lejos de los padres. Acá empezamos a ser grandes el día que tenemos la necesidad de tomar por primera vez unos mates, solos. No es casualidad. No es porque sí. El día que un chico pone la pava al fuego y toma su primer mate sin que haya nadie en casa, en ese minuto, es que ha descubierto que tiene alma. O está muerto de miedo, o está muerto de amor, o algo: pero no es un día cualquiera. Ninguno de nosotros nos acordamos del día en que tomamos por primera vez unos mates solos. Pero debe haber sido un día importante para cada uno. Por adentro hay revoluciones. El sencillo mate es nada más y nada menos que una demostración de valores...
Es la solidaridad de bancar esos mates lavados porque la charla es buena.
La charla, no el mate. Es el respeto por los tiempos para hablar y escuchar, vos hablás mientras el otro toma y viceversa. Es la sinceridad para decir: "¡basta, cambiá la yerba!". Es el compañerismo hecho momento.
Es la sensibilidad al agua hirviendo. Es el cariño para preguntar, estúpidamente, "¿está caliente, no?". Es la modestia de quien ceba el mejor mate. Es la generosidad
de dar hasta el final. Es la hospitalidad de la invitación. Es la justicia de uno por uno. Es la obligación de decir "gracias", al menos una vez al día. Es la actitud ética, franca y leal de encontrarse sin mayores pretensiones que compartir. Ahora vos sabés: un mate no es sólo un mate... 
Fuente: Editoriales Lalo BlaBla Radio Mitre http://rankinglalo.radiomitre.com.ar/ 

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