Memoirs and Biographies We Love discussion

With Love, The Argentina Family: Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes
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message 1: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Trupp Hi all. Is it acceptable to post a few whet the appetite? :-)

message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (lisarosenbergsachs) | 69 comments Yes. That would be good. Then we could see if we wanted to read further.

message 3: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Trupp From "California Dreaming" pages 24-26:

On special occasions, holidays or birthdays, Mami would make sure that we had a bouquet of flowers or a cake decorated with the words, “With Love, The Argentina Family.” This was one way Mami included the beloved family members into our daily lives. Later, when it was time to make a toast, everyone would raise their glasses and exclaim, “Para los presentes y los ausentes!”(For those who are present and those who are absent) It was not unusual for some tears to be shed. Silently, everybody would be thinking about loved ones so far away; dreaming of the day they’d be together once more.

In the meantime, kids would be running in and out, under folding tables and between mix-matched chairs. The men would play dominos or truco (a traditional card game). They’d listen to futbol games on the radio and rant and rave until someone shouted “Gol!” With lethally-sharp toothpicks, they’d poke at their picada of pickles, cheese, and salami, drink effervescent combinations of seltzer and Cinzano and have fiery discussions regarding politics. The women, usually huddled in the kitchen, would discuss family issues, such as who was getting married, who was expecting a baby, which market had the freshest chicken, or more importantly, who was traveling to Argentina and could they bring back some Hepatalgina? (Medicinal drops for gastrointestinal ailments)

Everyone spoke at once; no one seemed to mind that others interrupted or raised their voices in order to be heard. There were groans and protests mixed in with shrieks of laughter. At some point, we’d all find a place to sit down so that we could finally eat. Delicious aromas would fill the small space. As children, we didn’t realize that our comfort foods were a blend of cuisines, Criollo, (a combination of gaucho or indigenous fare influenced by the Spaniards) “Jewish” (actually foods typical of Eastern Europe) and Italian (due to the tremendous influence of the Italian immigration to Argentina). Each one couldn’t be farther from the other culturally, but somehow the fusion of tastes and textures worked.

I noticed that the grown-ups would get very emotional and even angry at times when the subject turned to Argentina and it always turned to Argentina. One person would say, “This doesn’t happen in Argentina” and of course, the next person would say, “That doesn’t happen in America,” splitting themselves into groups of pros and cons.

Years later, when I would reflect upon these conversations, I realized that those heated words were not necessarily against each other. They were internal debates, each person trying to justify the huge sacrifices made in order to seek out a better future. Still, as children, all we heard, all we felt, was the conflict. There, lurking in the background was the unspoken and remote possibility that we’d pick up and move back “home.” Yet, where was home? To most of the young children, home was America and for those old enough to remember Argentina …well, the old adage of “You can’t go back home” rang very true.

With Love, The Argentina Family: Memories of Tango and Kugel; Mate with Knishes

message 4: by Mirta (new)

Mirta Trupp Lisa wrote: "Yes. That would be good. Then we could see if we wanted to read further."

Thank you Lisa!

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