So off we went! The 14 hour bus ride made easier by a killer sandwich (homemade wheat bread I baked at 3am to finish off some pantry staples; grated zapallito, lentil burgers and classic lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise toppings. In addition to the midnight Quilmes, the sandwich delivered us to a snoozy slumber.
|Getting ready to leave Buenos Aires|
|Our midnight rest stop|
We stepped off the bus in the early morning light to find ourselves in the capital city of Salta which is surrounded by gorgeous, sun-streaked mountains. With Kitty as our tour guide (for the next 10 days) we darted around the city on orders from her mother. We picked up roughly 12 kilos of corn for the marvellous assembly line of humitas that would soon be started at her home in Coronel Moldes, a village about an hour and a half outside of the capital.
Humitas are a delicious traditional dish from Northern Argentina. They consisted of ground corn mixed with cheese and basil wrapped in a corn husked and boiled until ready to serve. They are delicious and the humitas of Kitty's mother were the best in the world. No biases here. I could barely concentrate on a post-journey nap, while everyone was outside in the humita assembly line. It was just too exciting to pass up!
|Humita assembly line|
|Ties made from corn husks to bind the humitas|
|Cutting corn off the cob to prepare to grind for the paste|
|We borrowed a machine from a neighbour to grind the corn kernels|
In San Antonio, TX where my family is from, tamales beckon a similar feeling. Usually made around Christmas time, tamales also require the support of an entire family. For me though, humitas take the cake since they happen to be vegetarian! (Moldes, in general, housed outrageously priced carnicerias so vegetarian food was easy to come by during our stay.)
This was a wonderful introduction to the north, not simply as a culinary lesson, but to experience the many values embedded in the culture of the north. We spent the afternoon making humitas and then drove around to the local diques, or resevoirs, in a large van with the children of the family while the humitas boiled at home.
|Our trip to local diques before settling down to eat some humitas|
|Coronel Moldes, Salta, Argentina|