This week, my husband Arie and I moved to Mar del Plata, a beach city 5 hours south of Buenos Aires. After a few days of getting settled, I decided it was time to try out some classic Argentinian recipes.
My husband’s parents are originally from Argentina, and no matter where they moved when he was younger (to Israel, back to Argentina, and then to Texas) his mother continued to make traditional dishes from Argentina. For a couple years, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting his parents and enjoying his mother’s home cooking. From Milanesa to Tarta de Atún, I’ve always found her meals to be wonderful. I admire her ability to cook the most delicious dishes with such ease, usually from memory, and with very few exact measurements. Thinking of her inspires me to begin my exploration into the world of Argentinian cuisine.
To get started, I took my husband to the bookstore to pick out a cookbook. My conditions were this: I wanted a fairly simple, mostly healthy, and entirely Argentinian cookbook. I wanted to be able to make him his favorite dishes.
He instantly gravitated toward Cocineros Argentinos. The cover is vibrant and immediately draws you in. Four chefs stand amicably, inviting you into their kitchen. The dining room table is full of traditional fare–flan, beef, pasta, alfajores, fugazzetta. Even a mate cup and seltzer bottle are to be found in their kitchen. Clearly we were on the right track.
Flipping through, he easily found all of his favorite dishes, from Empanadas and Matambre to Pastafrola and Panqueques de dulce de leche. He handed it to me, mission complete. We bought it and returned home.
The recipes inside are as varied as the chefs on the cover. Each chef has a distinct style, a different background, and differing specialties. When pulled together, all their recipes make for a well-rounded collection. There are vegetarian, fish, beef, and chicken dishes, as well as pizzas, sides, drinks, and desserts. Even different areas of the country are represented. For example, there is not one, but three different variations of empanadas from different provinces. The recipes are traditional (Arie’s grandmother made some of the same dishes) and delicious, but are accessible to someone new in the Latin kitchen (me!).
Each new dish I make from this cookbook makes me eager to try more. I am thrilled to share some of my favorites with you.