It might have been in 1950 when I was 8 that my mother took me to the Lincoln Library on Calle Florida (even by then vehicle traffic was prohibited on it). We went there for two reasons. The Filipino Legation (not a consulate and not quite an embassy) was there right next to the U.S. Embassy and the lubrary. My grandmother worked at the legation. The second reason was the United States Information run library, where they had a novelty in Latin America, of being able to check out a book and take it home for a week or two. I remember that the wall across from the building had graffiti that read, “¡Fuera imperialistas Yankees!
We Argentines have a conflicting relationship with the United States. We dislike their 19th, 20th and 21st century colonial shenanigans but we adore their products.
I remember that when I was around 7 my mother wrote on a grocery list for our live-in housekeeper/cook the word catsup. I remember not much later that my mother brought home from a friend at the American school where she taught a package of lime-flavoured Jell-O and some bread with poppy seeds. Most Argentines will kill to obtain American jeans.
And so when Rosemary, our two daughters and I lived in Mexico; we had to ask friends who traveled to the US to bring back Lipton Tea (bags!). Black tea was simply not available in Mexico and we actually re-used those precious teabags.
When we arrived in Vancouver in 1975 we were struck by how many American products were available at the supermarket, but at first I could not figure out why Captain Kirk appeared in TV Super Valu ads. We indulged in all of them until Mexican nostalgia hit us and suddenly we wanted Mexican style hot chocolate (containing traces of cinnamon) and other stuff that in 1975 was not to be found in the city. So we had friends smuggle back all those precious foods.
About a week while wheeling my cart at Safeway I noticed Shirriff Mouse. I remember how my Rosemary would prepare it many years ago. We had stopped the custom as we gravitated to better foods with fewer additives. I bought the double chocolate!
My youngest daughter Hilary visits on Mondays and Thursdays. I prepare a full meal for her so she can relax. At 6 we watch Rachel Maddow (Niño is on her chest while Niña is on my lap) and a bit of Lawrence O’Donnell. Then I take her home and in the car we listen to CBC Radio Ideas.
Today Hilary is coming. The menu is:
Barbecued chicken wings from my own barbecue, Mexican Rice, cucumber salad, fresh but barbecued California corn, and to drink a Mexican soda brand Jarritos in my fave mandarina flavour.
And for dessert it will be Sherriff strawberry mousse with chopped strawberries.