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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

As you might expect, vegetarians will have a somewhat rough time here. For most people in Argentina, a vegetarian is something you eat.

- Idle Words in Argentina On Two Steaks A Day

Bonus quote: Upon reading the article Mr de Havilland announced that he’s booking a ticket to Buenos Aires…

23 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Resident Alien

    Buenos Aires is a great city to visit, but you don’t have to travel far from Blighty to find places where vegetarianism is confused with a disease or a wacko cult. I escorted two visiting Indian businessmen around our various European offices. One of them was a strict vegetarian. While at lunch with our colleagues from an office in provincial France, I found the menu had not one single item without meat. I had to use my rusty French to explain that my colleague was a vegetarian, did not eat any meat and would like a simple salad with no meat. After taking our order the waitress returned and asked, “Your friend, the er vegetarian, does he want bacon in his salad?”

  • Ken

    “I didn’t evolve this highly to eat that lowly in the food chain.”

    I forget whose quote that is, not mine.

  • Sunfish

    “You will eat the meat, folks, because not eating meat is a decision. Eating meat is an instinct!” said Denis Leary, who also provides wisdom as to the true nature of coffee and putting cranberries in beer.

    I forgot whether it was Argentina or Brazil that gave us churrascaria (the kind of barbecue restaurant that mostly involves a non-stop procession of waiters bringing meat to the table) but it’s a beautiful thing.

  • When I was in Argentina some years ago, I got the distinct impression that eyebrows were being raised by my suggestion that we try white meat instead of beef. Great country.

  • ian

    I recall hearing a report (on the BBC – sorry) about a film crew in Montana, when a vegetarian cameraman asked the waitress what she recommended for a vegetarian in Montana.

    “Honey – I recommend you leave Montana”

  • ian

    Disclosure – I am vegetarian and have been for 25 years. This came about partly because I found red meat aggravated my arthritis and partly because the meat I could get at the time was from animals probably reared on ‘chicken droppings and feathers’ – it certainly tasted like it.

    Had the sort of food so lovingly described here been available, I may well have said to hell with the arthritis! Even now, the smell of bacon frying is still to me like the smell of a cigarette to an ex-smoker, (the BLT is surely one of the great contributions to world cuisine from the USA). Alas, I know the promise of the smell is unlikely to be matched by the taste – at least in the UK.

  • Tom

    (the BLT is surely one of the great contributions to world cuisine from the USA).

    Unfortunately one of the worst is mayonnaise with everything, especially burgers.

  • Midwesterner

    I can has Gardenburger®.

  • Upon reading the article Mr de Havilland announced that he’s booking a ticket to Buenos Aires…

    Why, is there no good meat readily available in the UK?

  • Paul Marks

    There were many butcher shops owned by farmers Alisa – connected to small family owned slaughter houses.

    However, various regulations (local interpretations of E.U. directives – “so the E.U. was not at fault”, yes it was because “it is an E.U. directive” is a cast iron defence for any administrator who faces questioning from a politician or anyone else), destroyed the local slaughter houses.

    Now cows are driven hundreds of miles to vast factories – then the meat is passed on to supermarkets (although there are still some small butcher shops about – here and there).

    The “health and safety” of the whole process is, of course, much worse than it was before, as is the treatment of the animals.

    In the old days Hereford claimed to have the best beef, but then that county claimed to have the best cider as well – matured in oak, not lead as with Devon.

    Some warnings about Argentina:

    “Gun control” – unless you are criminal or a policeman of course, and often the crimials and the policemen are the same people (especially in the kidnapping trade).

    Also government spending is out of control (true it is most places) and price controls are bankrupting a lot of companies in vital parts of the economy.

  • Why, is there no good meat readily available in the UK?

    Alisa, Argentinian meat is the best, by far, and I don’t think it has got to do with the universal villain, the EU. It was the best before they started the EU.

    Gun control, etc. : nobody said Argentina was wonderful. I think the meat is the only good thing in Argentina.

  • Why, the music is wonderful, and people are great too, as long as they are not from Buenos Aires:-P

  • Why, is there no good meat readily available in the UK?

    Alisa, as it happens the author of this article cooked us two utterly sublime rib eye steaks just this evening. The meat was British and came from Wholefoods. The meal, with onion, garlic and whiskey sauce, induced severe gastrogasms.

  • Russ

    Observation One:

    Feedlot beef is crap sold to city slickers.

    Observation Two:

    Even in the Nebaska-to-Texas belt, we’ve all got a lot of respect for Argentina’s meat.

  • The best steak I ate in the US was, maybe not coincidentally, in Dallas.

    and people are great too, as long as they are not from Buenos Aires:-P

    Which means: not many…

  • John Thacker

    Hmm, I remember reading exactly that same article before, in a airline (United, I believe) in-flight magazine. Perhaps it was bought to run in the magazine?

  • John Thacker

    Unfortunately one of the worst is mayonnaise with everything, especially burgers.

    Strangely, this is often thought to be a French/Belgian thing by Americans, because of the use of mayonnaise on French Fries. C.f. Pulp Fiction.

    However, there is an enormous difference between Duke’s mayonnaise (used by all good Southerners) and all that other crap.

  • Perry: what are gastrogasms? Feel free to pretend I never asked:-) Seriously though, it bothers me when people diss vegetarians (and I am NOT one, but some of my best friends and all that), just as it does when others diss carnivores. I wish everyone stayed out of everyone else’s plate, unless what’s on that plate is another human.

    Jacob: agree with both lines:-) (although in my case it was not Dallas, but somewhere else in TX). I never had Argentinian meat though. Is it the feed they use or something else?

  • Miichael Jennings

    Like Perry, I have eaten much good British beef. Australian beef is also superb, but Argentine beef probably is the best, yes

    The wine is another good thing about Argentina – still much underrated by many people I think.

  • Lynwood

    One of Dan Jenkins’s characters says (of a salad) “That’s not food: That’s what food eats.”

  • Is it the feed they use or something else?

    I had it explained to me by a big rancher and meat producer that I used to know: It’s the abundance of grass and it’s quality. The beast doesn’t have to run around seeking pasture, it finds all it needs without moving much, and cows, like some people, don’t move unless they have to. So they don’t develop hard muscles. Another point: they get fat fast and reach the optimal weight at an early age, so the meat is of a young beast.

    Another amazing thing about Argentine: you don’t have to seek out a good restaurant. Every restaurant is good. You can’t miss. And cheap (if you are a tourist and calculate in dollars).

  • Russ

    @Michael: And let’s keep it that way, eh? Remember what happened to prices when the “beautiful people” discovered port a few years ago? Sheesh…

  • Gosh…

    …you know, you Samizdatistas goota be careful in the UK now – publishing stuff like that about meat-eating will get your children taken away by the “social”. Specially when the BBC and stuff can put out Wireless tele-Vision progs fronted by “chefs”, about “The Ethics of Meat Eating”.