July 24, 2008
A hot summer night. We’re sitting around my in-laws’ round Formica-topped table. It’s the kind from the 70s with the Naugahyde seats (in dark green) that make the back of your legs stick to it in hot weather. We’re all facing the tele, watching the Turner Classic Movies channel, only with all those old classic films dubbed in Spanish.
There’s only one way to beat the heat. My brother-in-law, Marcos, comes in with a wire rack-like basket full of 6 huge bottles of beer; Quilmes. Earlier, Marcos had taken the same wire basket to the store full of empty bottles. In Argentina, the empties are sent back to the manufacturer, cleaned, and re-used. I don’t know why I was so impressed by that wire rack basket, but it is such a mental image in my mind, that little basket sitting on the floor in my mother-in-law’s pantry. The first time I saw it, I didn’t know what it was for, everything there in Argentina was so foreign to me. I’d go to bed with a headache every night from listening to that chattering, Italian-accented Spanish (or Castellano, as they call it) rolling around in my head like a bunch of marbles.
Marcos set a bottle on the table and brought over 4 glasses. It was at least 40 oz., which surprised me–in Argentina there aren’t little 12 oz. individual bottles, rather, one large bottle to share with a group. Served in mugs with handles, called ‘chops’, Quilmes was the perfect way to cool down on that hot, buggy night.
Quilmes, as I came to find out, just celebrated it’s 120 year anniversary, was named for a group of indigenous people of Argentina, and is also Argentina’s most popular and well-known lager. There’s also a flickr group dedicated just to pictures of Quilmes. (There’s a flickr group for photos of just about everything, really, from mustaches to empanadas, so there’s something for everyone!) flickr is this awesome photo-sharing service where you can upload your photos for anyone (or only those you choose) to see. But my favorite part about it is the groups–people with common interests join the same group and post photos of the subject (Argentinean food, for example) to one pool, to see and discuss each other’s photos of this subject. If you haven’t already guessed, I’m on flickr, (under Rebecca T. Caro)so if you are, too, please add me to your ‘friends’ so we can share photos! I’m off to post some photos!