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Welcome to the Life In Argentina WikiEdit

Argentina is the 8th largest country in the world! With a population of over 42 million people, Argentina is filled with rich culture and cuisine.

Location and GeographyEdit

Argentina officially the Argentine Republic, is a country in South America, the continent's second largest by land area, after Brazil and eighth-largest country in the world. Argentina's continental area is between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south. Argentina has six main regions: Gran Chaco, Mesopotamia, the Pampas, Patagonia, Cuyo and the Norwest[[1]]. The Pampas are fertile lowlands located in the center and east. The Mesopotamia is a lowland enclosed by the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, and the Gran Chaco is between the mesopotamia and the Andes. Cuyo is at the east side of the Andes mountain range, and the Argentine Northwest is at the North of it. The Patagonia is a large plateau to the South.

ClimateEdit

The generally temperate climate ranges from subtropical in the north to subpolar in the far south. The north is characterized by very hot, humid summers with mild drier winters, and is subject to periodic droughts. Central Argentina has a temperate climate, with hot summers with thunderstorms, and cool winters; and higher moisture at the east. The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous zones. The hottest and coldest temperature extremes in South America have occurred in Argentina[[2]]. In 1905, the town of Rivadavia recorded a shocking temperature of 120° F. Additionally, in 1907 the temperature plummeted to -27°F in the small town of Sarmiento.

Demographics and ReligionEdit

Argentina is Latin America's third-largest economy. Argentina is considered a country of immigrants. Most Argentines are descended from colonial-era settlers, and 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe. Argentina was second only to the US in the numbers of European immigrants received and, at those times, the national population doubled every two decades. The majority of these European immigrants came from Italy and Spain. 86.4% of Argentina's population self-identify as being of European descent. An estimated 8% of the population is Mestizo and 4% of Argentines are of Arab or Asian heritage.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but also requires the government to support Roman Catholicism economically. Catholic policy is influential in government, and still helps shape a variety of legislation. Also, Argentina has the largest Jewish population of any country in Latin America.

General and Regional CuisineEdit

Argentinian people have a reputation for their love of eating. Social gatherings are commonly centered around sharing a meal. Invitations to have dinner at home is generally viewed as a symbol of friendship, warmth, and integration. Sunday family dinner is considered the most significant meal of the week, whose highlights often include asado or pasta.

Argentine cuisine may be described as a cultural blending of Mediterranean influences within the wide scope of livestock and agricultural products that are abundant in the country. Argentine annual consumption of beef has averaged 100 kg (220 lbs) per capita, approaching 180 kg (396 lbs) per capita during the 19th century; consumption averaged 67.7 kg (149 lbs) in 2007. Beyond asado (the Argentine barbecue), no other dish more genuinely matches the national identity[[3]].

Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations!

In most parts of Argentina, lunch is the largest meal of the day. Excluding the largest such as Buenos Aires, most towns close for lunch time. This is when most people return home to enjoy a large meal.

Central Region and las PampasEdit

Dishes such as pasta, pizza, pucheros (stews), croquetas (fritter)s, sauces, embutidos (sausages), and chicken and meat courses brought a wider scope of options to daily menus. Furthermore, the bread-making, dessert, pastry, and dairy industries have achieved considerable development in this region.

Northwest and CuyoEdit

This region perhaps the one most influenced by native Indians, and its foods are closely linked to the Andean-Incan tradition. When preparing regional dishes, potatoes and corn or wheat are almost always used, including quinoa, peppers, squashes and tomatoes. The most popular dishes are humita and tamal, in which the corn husk is stuffed with the corn filling itself, seasonings or meat.

MesopotamiaEdit

This is another area influenced by native Indians, particularly by the Guaraní tribe. Abounding in rivers and shores, it offers a wide diversity of fish species, such as dorado, pacú, surubi, boga and silverside

PatagoniaEdit

Marine species such as salmon, spider crabs, squids and other shellfish and molluscs may be fished in this region's shores. Furthermore, trout may be found in Patagonian rivers. The Northern and Central European settlements in this region have built up a large-scale production of chocolate and its by-products, thus rendering them quintessential products to the region. Viennese and German cuisine and pastries are also typically associated with this region. Mutton and lamb, together with wild boar and venison tend to make up the region's meat-based dishes. Also typical of southern region are smoked products, including salmon, stag, wild boar, and pheasant.

Significant FoodsEdit

Lean Beaf

The Argentine diet is considered a high protein diet, with the majority of the protein coming from beef. Argentina is best known for their national dish: ‘asado’ or barbeque. The typical Argentinian will consume 149 lbs of beef each year! Here are a few favorites:

  • Asado: A beef roast cooked over an open fire. There are various types of asado, with steak and beef ribs being the most common. Chimichurri, a blend of herbs, garlic, and vinegar, is almost always used to marinate the meat.
  • Parrillada Mixta: A mixed grill of steak and other cuts of beef. The parrillada is best when eaten immediately after preparation. The meat is often prepared right at the table and includes various cuts of steak, lamb, sweetbreads, and internal organs[[4]]
  • Milanesas: Breaded and fried versions of meat. These are often served as snacks or in sandwiches.
  • Carbonada: A stew that contains meat, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and chunks of corn on the cob.

An excellent Cardonada Criolla recipe can be found here: http://argentinahonr.weebly.com/carbonada-criolla.html

Empanadas

These are often served at parties as an appetizer, or main course. Empanadas can have various flavors and fillings. The dough generally consists of wheat flour and beef dripping with fillings that vary from province to province. The most common fillings are chicken, beef, ham, and fish. Empanadas can also contain onion, olives, or raisins.

Dulce de Leche

This staple sweet is a treasured national food that can be found in a variety of desserts. It can be used as a spread for toast, served with ice cream, or used as a filling for pancakes and cakes. Alfajores are one of the most popular desserts found in Argentina. An alfajor consists of two round, sweet biscuits held together with dulce de leche and then dipped in chocolate. Dulce de Batata is another popular item. However, instead of using dulce de leche, the main ingredient is sweet potatoes or yams!

An excellent recipe for Dulce de Batata can be located here: http://argentinahonr.weebly.com/dulce-de-batata.html

Special Ceremonial FoodsEdit

Locro

This traditional stew is typically prepared on May 25th, the anniversary of the May Revolution. The stew contains corn, beef, beans, chorizo, bacon, onion, chili powder, and sometimes, pumpkin. The soup has both Argentine and Incan origin[[5]].

A delicious recipe can be found here: http://argentinahonr.weebly.com/locro-argentine.html

Frijoles Negros a la Olla

It is believed that if black beans (frijoles negros) are consumed on New Year's Eve, then one will either continue to experience success in their current job, or more opportunities will become available. Additionally, two unusual traditions accompany the consumption of beans. Members of the household will run around the house while holding a suitcase, with a belief that doing so will ensure more travel opportunities in the coming year. Argentinians may also go swimming in local pools, lakes, or even the ocean. It is believed that this tradition can be traced back to native Argentinians[[6]].

Easter Traditions

Lent is the 40-day period preceding Easter in the Christian year. During the week before Lent, a large festival, Carnival, is celebrated in many parts of Argentina. During Carnival, people dress up in costumes and dance. They eat spicy food, including corn stew and humitas en chala (corn patties wrapped and cooked in their husks). It is a tradition to eat a cake in the shape of a large ring. On Easter, children eat chocolate eggs with tiny candies hidden inside.

Because it is also tradition in the Roman Catholic Church to not eat meat during Lent, Argentines eat more seafood dishes during this time. Bocaditos (finger sandwiches), made with shrimp are a popular lunch or snack food during Lent[[7]].

Additional InfluencesEdit

Argentina is considered to be a melting pot of cultures, especially Mediterranean. Many of Argentina's meals originated in Italy, Germany, England, or Spain. Additionally, Argentine cuisine is largely influenced by Judaism. Argentina has the largest Jewish population in South America.

The German influence threw medialunas (croissants) and even sauerkraut (renamed chukrut) into the mix of foods available. In the southern Patagonian community of Chubut, there is also a long tradition of Welsh inhabitants who have introduced traditional tea drinking and scone eating! A famous Welsh-Argentine recipe for a Black Welsh Cake. A recipe for this delicious cake can be found here: http://argentinahonr.weebly.com/index.html

However, instead of reproducing the foods from other countries to the dot, there is often an interesting Argentine touch added to traditional dishes. For example, typically Italian food like pasta and pizza is widely available and extremely popular in Argentina but the pizzas are generally calzone-like and very filling whilst the pastas are doused in thick sauces more resemblant of stew than a light Italian sauce[[8]].

AgricultureEdit

Agriculture is the most significant contributor to the country’s economy. The majority of Argentina’s wealth comes from ranching cattle and growing wheat and soy beans. Argentina produces 18 percent of the world’s soybeans but accounts for 46 percent of the world’s soybean meal exports and 55 percent of the world’s soybean oil exports[[9]].Other important crops include cereal, seeds, sugar, fruit, wine, tea, tobacco, and cotton. Argentina is also one of the world’s leading producers of wine. The principal agricultural region consists of the humid pampas[[10]].

Food SecurityEdit

Food security refers to the ability to produce enough food to feed the entire population of a country.

The weather is one factor of food security in Argentina. A prolonged dry spell during December and early January 2012 significantly reduced yields and output of corn and soy beans. Another factor is that the area that has previously been used to grow wheat is now being used to grow different crops. The production of wheat has been declining as the country is switching to more profitable crops. Other factors that contribute to food security are the loss of land due to water or wind erosion and chemical contamination. These have resulted in resulted in the degradation of 46 million hectares of arable land or 16% of the total land area[[11]].Tucumán region of Argentina local customs define food security having beef as a daily component of the diet[[12]].

There have been many initiatives to improve food security in Argentina. One was started by the Monsanto company, which started the use of Integrated Farming Systems in Argentina. These systems provide farmers with the best tools and technology, and are key to doubling yields, using less resources, improving soil quality enhancing water use, managing crop residues and reducing environmental impact through better fertilizer management practices. They also teach farmers better ways to maximize their yields.

Another initiative is the use of biotechnology. Argentina is one of the leading countries using biotechnology, with more than 22 million hectares that contribute to the sustainable production of soybeans, corn and cotton.It's been said biotechnology has given to Argentina a cumulative gross profit of $72.6 billion USD. They contribute to more affordable food by doubling yield and creating social, economic and environmental sustainability benefits for farmers and society[[13]].

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