In Argentina, beef is what’s for dinner — and lunch

Hunger – aside from being a nagging pang in your stomach, reminding you to consume – can often be the catalyst for adventure itself. Sometimes, your appetite can send you on a curious search for turkey in Turkey (“sorry, only lamb!”), or to an elderly street vendor for a moonlit dose of Indian junk food. Or, if you’re particularly hungry, your growling stomach can lead you to Argentina for an all-meat diet, as Maciej [MAH-tchay] Ceglowski fervently describes in his essay, Argentina on Two Steaks a Day.

“The classic beginner’s mistake in Argentina is to neglect the first steak of the day. You will be tempted to just peck at it or even skip it altogether, rationalizing that you need to save yourself for the much larger steak later that night. But this is a false economy, like refusing to drink water in the early parts of a marathon. That first steak has to get you through the afternoon and half the night, until the restaurants begin to open at ten; the first steak is what primes your system to digest large quantities of animal protein, and it’s the first steak that buffers the sudden sugar rush of your afternoon ice cream cone. The midnight second steak might be more the glamorous one, standing as it does a good three inches off the plate, but all it has to do is get you up and out of the restaurant and into bed…”

Indeed, food is one of those seemingly workaday aspects of life that — when out of your element, in your travels — can seem detached, mystical, romantic, and sometimes outright bizarre. It can even leave you with some of the most vivid memories of the places you’ve been – a virtual culinary postcard, stamped, dated, and filed away, waiting to be referenced again. For me, it’s the smell of freshly baked beignets and chicory coffee from Café Du Monde in New Orleans, or the sense of bewilderment when a flamboyant Italian waitress cracks a raw egg in the center of a once-delicious looking pizza in a small Italian café outside of Milano. For Maciej, it’s Argentine beef.

What is it for you?

Be sure and check out Argentina on Two Steaks a Day in full over at Maciej’s website.

[Have a travel website or article to recommend? Send suggestions to Justin Glow at collective (at)]

Posted by | Comments (3)  | July 26, 2006
Category: Notes from the collective travel mind

3 Responses to “In Argentina, beef is what’s for dinner — and lunch”

  1. Jamie Says:

    Ugh, I’ve heard about the egg thang, and I have to agree it doesn’t sound all that appealing. I recently found pizza here in Yinchuan, China, and they mucked it right up with peas and carrots!
    Food is definitely one of my favorite aspects of travel. Trouble is that upon returning home, it’s difficult to find the food you loved prepared authentically. Then again, it’s a good excuse to take off again. :~)

  2. Valerie Says:

    Roti canai in Malaysia