Sunday, July 2, 2017

the last book I ever read (Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón, excerpt seven)

from Evita, First Lady: A Biography of Eva Perón by John Barnes:

American writer Bernard Collier once claimed that the most distinctive quality about Buenos Aires is that its olor porteño – the odour of fresh beef roasting.

‘An Argentine must have fresh beef,’ he wrote. ‘Without fresh beef he feels weak, angry, anxious and hungry, all the time without satisfaction. Give him lamb and he can’t stand the taste; chicken, fish and pork he rejects as baby food. You walk along a downtown street at 1 o’clock in the afternoon and watch the pipefitters, the cable splicers, the sewer workers, the diggers and the pavers pop out of holes in the street to check on the doneness of a 2-pound bife, which is sizzling over a wood or charcoal fire on a grill fashioned out of a tar bucket and iron reinforcing rods. By 2 o’clock on a hot summer afternoon there will be workmen in blue shirts and leather sandals lolling in the shade of buildings or construction fences all over town. In the winter they will be hunched over the little fires. They will be sleepy with their big steak and most of a bottle of good red wine and half a loaf of crusty Italian bread inside. At 3 o’clock they will return to their jobs refreshed and strong again. When they get home at night they want another steak for supper.’

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