The time has come to roll up my sleeves, grab a hoe and get to work, which is exactly what I have been doing. After 3 weeks in Uruguay, I headed to Buenos Aires for the weekend before hitting the farm; Granja Las Ondinas to be exact. This past week has brought with it the best and worst of meat eating.
On Friday I arrived at Nacho’s apartment in Buenos Aires to find him cooking up a feast in the kitchen. He was really excited about one ingredient in particular. A pale, knobbly meat he was in the process of cutting up. It didn’t take me long to suss out what it was; a lovely bit of stomach (or mandongo in Spanish). Fair to say it was one of the worst pieces of meat I have ever eaten in my life, proven by the state of my plate after the meal:
I didn’t have the stomach for it!
After arriving in Las Ondinas on Monday though things changed quickly. The recent sacrifice of a cow meant there was juicy beef all day long, but the best was to come on Wednesday, when Juan bought a 2 month-old pig from a neighbouring farm for a barbecue. That little pig was one of the best things I have ever tasted.
Pork has never been this tender.
The difference in how they prepare and cook meat in Argentina as opposed to England is very subtle, but it makes all the difference. They will always use meat from young animals; pigs that are 2 or 3 months old, and cows of only 3 or 4 months, and they are in no rush to cook it (the pig above took 5 hours to cook). I think it also made a difference that the meat eaten at the farm is only from their own animals or from farms nearby where they have a lot of space, are fed good quality feed and generally lead a pretty happy existence. Although even all of these things couldn’t have made that stomach taste any better!