Let's first turn back the page to ten days ago when an article appeared in Clarín under the headline: "The Church reminds us that eating meat in Holy Week is not a sin." The price of fish was up 40% this year over last and the church felt it was important to reassure people that if you had to choose between going to the poorhouse and eating meat, you should eat meat.
The spokesman for the archdiocese of Mendoza was quoted as saying that for eating beef, "no one would go to hell."
Maybe so. But you may have to go through hell to get the beef.
After a long Lenten season of meat deprivation for (some of) the faithful, meat was finally going to be back on the menu Monday. But Saturday's news delivered an ominous warning: Supermarkets might experience meat shortages on Monday.**
Today the news hit the paper: the shortage had materialized. In the refrigerated section of one large supermarket, instead of meat, shoppers found a sign:
Dear customers: Please excuse the lack of beef. This is due to the fact that our providers do not wish to sell at the prices suggested by the Government.
Meanwhile, at the supermarket today there was only weird milk. And I'm not talking about milk in bags. I'm talking about iron- and vitamin C-fortified milk that always tastes a little funny. No normal milk. And there was a sign saying that my purchase of milk was limited to six liters because of supplier difficulties.
It's also worth noting that, despite higher prices and shortages, meat consumption continues to rise.
I guess what I'm saying is, if you have a cow you're not using, would you kindly send it to Argentina? Thank you.
* I have always enjoyed the honesty with which Spanish refers to meat, by using the term "flesh."
** Fortunately, only 30% of people buy their meat at the supermarket, with the rest preferring to buy from the neighborhood butcher.