2008.Apr.05 Saturday · 1 comment

in Life

“In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.”

– Thomas Carlyle, Philosopher

Buenos Aires – Just a few random notes…

Disco, one of the local supermarkets, is three deep with people at the meat, i.e., beef, counter. With the 30-day suspension of the strike, people are battling over the packages of red meat like they’re stocking up for an impending war. There are actually shoving matches going on, and the store has a couple of their managers there just trying to keep tensions difused. Shopping carts are being filled to overflowing with various cuts. What’s worse is, you have to figure that whatever meat is showing up here in the first days of the return of beef to the capital is whatever the ranchers had already butchered before the strike started, and had simply shoved into the deep freeze. And that means, given the quantity that people are buying, that they’re re-freezing stuff that’s already been frozen once – not a good move with meat – and the supermarket is covering themselves – they’ve got signs posted saying (in Spanish) “Do Not Refreeze or the Quality of the Meat will be Harmed”. Meanwhile, I noted that the corner butcher shop still has none – presumeably the supermarket chains got the first wave of whatever is being shipped in.

Television ads have appeared in the last few days for a new pasta product from the pasta company, Luchetti, originally a Chilean brand, though they sold off their Argentine subsidiary to local interests here, years ago. The product, a boxed macaroni and powdered cheese – processed foods are starting to appear on the shelves of supermarkets more and more. I suppose some think this is a sign of moving into a more “first-world” market – convenience of making things (there are more and more pre-made, boxed foods appearing every week), for me, it’s a sign of the beginning of the end. Not like the apocalypse, but a clear move away from buying and cooking fresh ingredients for the sake of expediency. I’d have said that it was a result of the influx of American and European expats and tourists looking for familiar conveniences from back home, and perhaps they were the impetus in some way, but the folks I see stocking up their carts with this crap at the markets are all locals. Next stop, the obesity train…

Was out in Barrio Chino buying some ingredients for this weekend’s dinners, and laden with far more than I’d planned to buy – especially after I saw a display at one of the markets of freshly butchered tuna – a rarity here, and generally only in the markets for a couple of weeks here in early fall – and decided to take a cab. The conversation went something like this:

“You’re buying stuff in Barrio Chino?”

“Yes, some ingredients for a dinner party.”

“Fish, right?”

“Well, I did buy some fish, some fresh tuna, but mostly other stuff.”

“Everyone comes here to buy fish. Me, I don’t like fish. I’m not a shark. Only sharks eat fish. And Chinamen. They eat the stuff too. I’m not a shark and I’m not a Chinaman.”

“Really? Actually lots of people eat fish you know…”

“No, just Chinamen. And it’s all they eat. Fish, fish, fish. They don’t eat anything else you know.”

“Have you ever eaten Chinese food?”

“Of course not, I don’t like fish, and I’m not a Chinaman.”

Never let it be said that prejudice is on its way out here…


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