Alright, here is my clip of Argentine culture for the week:
Mate (Mah--teh). A special drink of Argentina, this herbal tea can be found almost anywhere in the country. Every household has some stored in the kitchen cupboard, and every family offers us some when we visit them as missionaries. Simply put, it´s just part of the culture and quite different. If you would like to create your own at home, here is the process! I´ve heard from other RM´s that they do sell it in the States, so I will make some for you guys after the mission. Here is the recipe:
1) You need a mate. This probably sounds confusing. Don´t worry . . . it kinda is haha. The cup you use to drink mate is called a "mate." So basically you just need a cup.
2) Then you go to the store and find yerba (Sure--bahh), which is a special and very common herb of Argentina. They sell it in bags, sometimes up to two or three kilos in one package! The bags in which you find yerba at the store look very similar to flour sacs, just for those of you who actually go and buy some :).
3) The next necessary item: a Bombilla (Bomb--bee--shaa). This is a cool Argentine metal straw. It looks kinda like an ancient artifact, especially since many of them are designed with intriguing art or ancient symbols. I have already bought two on my mission, slowly adding to my collection!!
4) Grab a bag of sugar.
5) Go back home and put on a soccer jersey; otherwise you wont be Argentine enough to do this special cultural tradition. Seriously :).
6) Boiling water. Put a metal pot on the stove (preferably a tea pot) to boil some water.
7) Sit down on your table with everything spread out as follows:
boiling water in tea pot on a hot pad
yerba in the bag, ready to open
cup (a real mate from Argentina if you have one)
Bombilla ready to sip and in the cup
sugar placed in a shakable container
soccer game playing on ESPN, otherwise you can´t start the process
8) Shake some yerba out into your cup, filling it up about halfway.
9) On top of the yerba, shake about two teaspoons worth of sugar, an important step that adds to overall flavor.
10) Pour boiling water into the yerba and sugar up to the brim of the cup, mixing the sugar and yerba.
11) Use your bombilla to mix the drink until the sugar dissolves and the water turns a little darker.
12) Let the cup sit for about two minutes, allowing the water to absorb the taste from the yerba.
13) You're done! Stick your bombilla until it reaches the bottom and start slurping. Drink it like hot chocolate, else you will burn your tongue haha.
Sidenotes: There are some variations to the flavors. All of it depends on how much sugar you put into the mix and what type of yerba you buy from the store. In 85% of our appointments, someone in the house is drinking mate. This isn´t an exaggeration, but rather just a cool cultural part of Argentina! Generally, everyone in the family makes mate in the morning and sips it outside for a couple of hours while eating small donuts or crackers. They think we are really weird when we tell them that we cook eggs or make other foods for breakfast :). People also drink it during soccer games and just as a snack around the house.
And there you have it. If any of you actually make it, be sure to tell me! I really enjoy reading all of your letters and am writing quite a few today!!! Then we will go to the post office this week :). I hope you guys all have a great week!!!!