I had the crazy idea last night to try to make soup in bread bowls. I have carried my mom’s butternut squash recipe throughout all of my travels, and made it many times as a “thank you” to house hosts or just for fun, and since I learned to bake bread in Cholila, I decided to unite the two! Today is Monica’s birthday, so it also was my little birthday present for her, especially since I made enough soup to last through the weekend. Somehow, the bread I made came out with a hard shell, so it worked perfectly to hollow out into bowls, and Monica and Raul enjoyed the dinner.
Then today, I house-hopped from Monica’s house to Alejandra’s house. Alejandra is my friend from Cholila who has an apartment in Capital (downtown Buenos Aires), and is in the process of moving to Cholila. This Thursday through Sunday, they celebrate Semana Santa here, so everyone has holidays and I am going to Mar de Plata, the beach closest to Buenos Aires, where my aunt Baboush lives. For the next few days, however, I get to live the Porteña life and enjoy the city center. Right now, I am in a café where they are playing Dave Matthews, Bonnie Raitt, and… what is it I hear now? Even Brett Dennen!
Yesterday, Irene and I ate lunch together, looked at some pictures, and went for a walk around the block. It was a good day for her; she remembered things clearly. When we finished our slow and steady walk around the block and returned to Claudia’s house, one of the street dogs wouldn’t stop barking at us, and suddenly this woman who has been shuffling by my side determinedly turns on her heels and starts stomping towards the dog. The dog stopped barking instantly and ran back along the street, and Irene walked into the house as if nothing had happened, leaving me chuckling behind her.
Yesterday, she told me about the process of caring for the sheep on El Fortín and El Verdín (the estancia on the east coast of Patagonia that the family owned before El Fortín). The father of the three girls, Enrique Carlos Tschudi or “Pa,” created a breed of sheep that had both fine wool and good meat. He crossed a type of Australian Merino sheep and a cross of meat sheep called a Corredale. The sheep lived freely in the campo, but once a year, they would gather them all to decide which ones to use for breeding the next year’s sheep. All the sheep would walk through a wooden aisle, and at the exit, someone would stand and direct them either to one side for the fine wool sheep or to another side for the good meat sheep. Then, Pa or one of the other helpers on the estancia would go through and choose some from each corral to use for breeding.
I also traced back another trait that Bridget and I have to relatives here: the love for water. Irene and her family used to go to Villa la Angostura for vacations, which is a town right on Lake Nahuel Huapi next to Bariloche. They loved to swim to a certain island, or row in a boat; there are a number of pictures of my aunts as little girls in the old wooden boat. Irene said, “one spent the entire month in the water, practically.” That’s not to say that this trait (or any of the traits that I am discovering, really) only comes from this side of the family – my grandparents on my dad’s side live on the water and spend a lot of time boating, fishing, and doing other water activities! It’s just interesting to see how perfectly I would have fit into the family here in the time when they spent their summers in El Fortín.