I had written a really witty, detailed blog on vegetarianism, complete with examples, definitions (like lacto-ova-pesca vegetarians), Davis, and the relative impossibility of being a vegetarian in South America. Truly, that blog was a masterpiece. However, if you are reading this, you already know something about me and Kristin and our feelings about meat. I don't need to repeat all of that. And you also already know that this is not friendly territory for veggie lovers like us.
However,in Argentina the beef comes from free-range, grass-fed, mate-drinking happy cows. As such, I have enjoyed several non-vegetarian meals in Argentina. Here in Cordoba, Carmela's dad made a traditional parrilla (bbq) with several cuts of beef and pork. Tonight we had Lomo, which is like gourmet version of a Philly cheese steak. We've tried various meat-filled empanadas, which are similar to slavic pirogi or chinese potstickers, though empanadas are usually baked or fried.
I also ate beef at the guacho festival. Just ordering the food was an experience on it's own. People had been waiting in line for an hour when finally two-foot by four-foot metal sheet was brought over by four guys. The metal was carrying at least half a cow. Two men used machetes to cut the meat. A younger gaucho helped take the money while el jefe weighed the meat, as people bought it by the kilo. It was, as Carmela says, "so typically Argentinian."
I remember when my friend Payam came back from his backpacking trip to Argentina and Brasil a few years ago. He told me all he ate was steak. It was delicious at first but eventually he was pining for something different, even just a sauce like A1. Well, I've eaten some meat but not enough to get bored. I'm glad that we gave Argentinian food a fair shot.
For vegan and vegetarian travelers out there, we have found the site happycow.com quite useful in finding meatless restaurants. Kristin does a fantastic job doing the food research when we arrive in new towns. It's been really great learning about traditional foods, and at the same time, how we can stick to a mostly-vegetarian diet despite these local fare :)
On an entirely different subject, my toe is still ugly and puffy and black, but my toenail hasn't fallen off and I'm not in any more pain. I would love to share more pictures but I'm afraid to upset any more stomachs. Tomorrow we take a 22-hour bus ride to Iguazu Falls. We'll camp and hike for a few days before taking another painfully long bus ride to Rio. Just in time for Carnaval!