Avoiding Crisis

mate

with one comment

So yesterday I hosted a breakfast here at my house for the spouses/partners of embassay American employees.  It’s a great way to stay connected to other Embassy spouses as well as provide a way to welcome newcomers. 

My reasoning for hosting was two fold.  1) After almost 2.5 years of being here, I thought it about time to be an “old-timer” and help out and 2) I have this wonderful friend who has started this really cool company and I wanted to give her a platform to share her work with members of the Embassy community.

So in addition to the typical meet and great, catch up with old friends, get to know knew ones, we were treated to a wonderful class on mate (pronounced /ˈma.te/).

In Argentina, mate is not only the national drink, it is an obsession.  Drinking mate is nothing short of a cultural institution. It is not just a drink, it is a social norm.  And for some, it is a way of life.

There are a lot of rules and customs that go along with drinking mate, from how to cure the mate, to how to prepare the yerba mate infusion, to how to share mate.  Drinking mate is an experience. 

Until yesterday, I had only been offered mate two time in my 2 1/2 years living here.  The first time was only a few weeks into our tour and I was completely clueless as to what it was so I kindly declined.  The second time was at a kid’s birthday party, the adults were not people I knew very well, and the whole sharing the mate didn’t really sit well with me at the time.  Again, I declined. In both instances, I was with people who knew that I was a foreigner and weren’t offended by my refusal of the mate, or at least I don’t think they were. 

Most foreigners I have talked to about mate have told me that they didn’t really like it.  Some Argentines even have told me that it is an acquired taste that even they had to get used to it.

Yesterday, I finally tried mate.  And you know what?  I actually liked it.  I really liked it.  I liked everything about it, the preparation, the sharing, and even the taste.  It wasn’t awful like I’d been told.  It didn’t taste like licking an ashtray (whatever that is supposed to taste like), as it had been described to me on several occasion.  It tasted like an herbal tea, but a with a more bitter and smokey flavor. 

Not only does mate taste good (to me at least) but it has many more health benefits than both tea and coffee combined.  It’s known to boost immunity, cleanse and detoxify the blood, combat fatigue, stimulate the mind, control the appetitie, increase stamina and reduce stress.  It gives you a caffeine like boost but without the jitteryness.

I tend to drink a lot of coffee and tea during the day.  Coffee to get me going in the morning or to keep me going in the evening and tea during the day when I need a boost or when I just need something soothing and warm. I’m thinking of switching some of my daily consumption of coffee and tea to mate. 

Just one more reason to love this country.  

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Written by nicolemarie

October 26, 2007 at 3:39 pm

Posted in crazy argentina

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. Never know until you try … 🙂

    -SD

    SD

    October 26, 2007 at 6:00 pm


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