Thursday, February 22, 2007

Lard almighty

Among the products in the local mega-mart that I will not be buying in this lifetime:

Dulce de leche de soja
Dulce de leche made not from milk but from soymilk. Gack!

Hamburguesas de palmito
Hamburger-style patties made from hearts of palm. These suckers are more expensive than real beef or normal veggie burgers. This has got to be some sort of kooky government scheme to soak up surplus hearts of palm. (They're a big industry up north.)

Leche en bolsa
Considering you can buy milk in a eurostyle Tetra Brik or in a fairly normal looking bottle, milk in a bag is baffling. It must be a few centavos cheaper. I would hope it is. BECAUSE IT'S SOLD IN A FREAKING BAG! Also available: yogurt in a bag. Have I seen dulce de leche in a bag? I want to say I have. But now I don't know if I really have or if I'm starting to hallucinate some sort of fantastical land where everything is sold in bags.

Galletas de grasa
Lard crackers. Evidently good with mate, the tea-like drink that's a national favorite. I recognize that lard has its place in cooking. But even with that concession, this country's lard fetish is out of control. It's everywhere. I especially love it when it's in things that are slyly marketed as healthful, like cereal bars.

I'm sure I've unwittingly eaten my weight in lard since I've been here.

The first time I noticed lard for sale in the market, next to the butter, I saw that the label read: "primer jugo bovino," or "first juice of the cow." It made me think of extra virgin olive oil, obtained from the first cold pressing of the olives. I guess producing lard is like squeezing olives? You just press down on the cow? Neat!

Lard is not sold in bags.


Lor said...

Ok, i just had to comment when I saw your blog about Milk In Bags. Firstly let me introduce myself, I am a Canadian born daughter of two Argentinians (from Mendoza). And I've really enjoyed reading your blog, its neat to see your North American perspective of Beunos Aires and Argentina. But I have to laught at your dismay regarding milk in bags, we've had milk in bags in Canada since I was a wee one. (I'm 34 now, so its been at least 25 years, probably longer) And is it really that weird?? I'm not so sure!

Dan said...

Glad to hear you like the blog.

Is it really that weird? I guess not. As long as you're not bothered by products that upset the natural order of the universe!

I'm sorry. I'm kidding. You're actually not the only person to comment on my shock at milk in a bag. I guess I've led a sheltered life when it comes to dairy products. . .

All I can say is that I had never seen it before. And when you expect your milk to come in some sort of serving container, it's disquieting to find it coming in a gelatinous blob of a bag. Obviously you pour it into a container before you use it. But looking at it I was just confronted with the image of trying to get a glug of milk into your coffee mug as the bag flopped all over the place.

But, hey. . . it's definitely cheaper and it's probably more environmentally friendly.

In the end, the world is big enough for many kinds of dairy packaging. And possibly I am big enough to admit when I am too quick to judge.

Lor said...

Ok, now I have to confess that perhaps I was too hasty to comment about your naivete in regards to alternative dairy receptacles. You're right, seeing a bag of milk, that would raise some issues on how to use it, without getting milk all over the place. See this link
There are plastic jugs, and the milk bags slide in, and you are able to dispense milk much like you would a carton. Hope this helps. I look forward to more blogs. :)

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Anonymous said...

My very first memories of milk are from milk in plastic bag in central Europe.

It used to be in transparent bags with blue letters describing product. I also remember that 'low fat' was what is now 'full fat' or even beyond that. Well, times change.

When I was teenager (I'm almost 26) they started using TetraPak packaging for fresh milk. And later on all sorts of plastic bottles. Couple years ago blackened (protecting milk more) plastic bags made small comeback from where I hail. It's cheap, less polluting. Though, it's not waxed paper cartons..