These are the words of Luciana as she reminisced to me about her Porteno Grandparents and times when she’s felt homesick for Argentina. She lived in London for a time. I stayed with her for just shy of a week and felt so at home in this big old bohemian 1930’s apartment. Within 5 minutes of being in the door, with my backpack heavily lumped onto the cool floor we were ‘sharing a mate’.
Tomar un mate!
=To take a mate (“ma-tay”). Much like black tea with milk in the UK – a.k.a. “a cuppa” – mate is ubiquitous in Argentine culture. Before the influence of American coffee shops took over the world, mate was even more embedded in daily life here. It’s not just a case of sipping this stimulating pick-me-up to revive yourself or to pausing for a thirst quencher – to “tomar un mate” is to share a conversation….to hang out….to be together.
Fancy a Cuppa?
I feel this way about tea in the UK. In my family a cuppa is drunk almost hourly (my father’s influence), much to the horror and puzzlement of our French relatives. To my delight, that cup of tea is nearly always accompanied by a chat, an update or a longer conversation.
So the social contact and the drinking are interwoven.
If you’re feeling peckish
…other Argentine delicacies to enjoy before or after your mate……