After eleven years living, dancing, teaching tango, and writing in Buenos Aires, I came home to L.A. in 2014, where I'm reconstructing my life.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Summer Sunday

To all who know him, Ruben Aybar can be bigger than life--personality, energy, jokes--he can take up a lot of space in a room. Basically, believe it or not, he is a shy man who's motivation is making others around him happy.

View of Boedo from the Terrace by Sergio Stellato

This is never as true as when he is the host of a gathering, whether it's at a milonga or at home.

And it's also true that he likes to show off his cooking. So these qualities work really well together, and especially for me, because when we have people over, there is really very little for me to do until I do the washing up afterward.

Last Sunday began very hot and humid. We arose early to prepare for the "Bloggueras Barbecue" we had planned for that day. Lunch was for 1:00, and so the fire must be started by 9:30.

Photo by Sergio

While I dithered around looking for tablecloths and enough glasses and making chimichurri, Ruben was swabbing the terrace with detergent and cleaning the parrilla. Steam rose from the tiles and the hot metal grill even before he put any charcoal in it. Then he brought out the patio table and chairs, which I wiped down, and lowered the awning.

An Argentine's parrilla is sacred and quite scientific; the charcoal is lit in one location and added to the barbecue as needed; the grill is raised and lowered appropriately, and attention is constantly paid.

Just as the coals were beginning to blaze, a huge wind came up, blowing sparks all over the terrace and onto Ruben, who was working in his shorts. He got a few burns but paid them no mind.

He can scrub the vegetables while I'm just thinking about it, and he hurried to get them on the grill first, as the potatoes take the longest to cook.

Photo by Sergio

Everything was ready as scheduled and we sat down to enjoy an asado of beef, pork, chicken, chorizos, provolete (barbecued spiced cheese), red and green peppers, onions, potatoes, and a new item since our trip to Brazil last year, grilled fresh pineapple.
Photo by Sergio

The gale wind died down, but in its place were dark clouds. All of a sudden, like at picnics around the world, the sun was gone and the sky turned black. Then the hot steaming skies released buckets of water. The three men moved the table indoors and lunch continued while Ruben tore through the salon pushing the barbecue on wheels over the polished hardwood floor out to the quincho. He returned with more platters of food.
Photo by Sergio

The awning filled with water and tore, releasing another waterfall. Ruben remarked that he was glad he had watered the plants a couple of hours ago.

Conversation in three languages flowed like the wine without a break as we cozily watched the downpour outside.

Photo by Sergio

Photo by Sergio

Photo by Katie Metz

Photo by Katie

Ruben and I had a great time, although he never ate anything. He says that when he cooks, he gets filled up with the aromas.

By the time we had danced, eaten ice cream, drank coffee, and the last guest departed, it was a gorgeous clear evening, beginning to get hot again.

The blogs represented are SallyCat's Adventures, Seashells and Sunflowers, and Tina Tangos.


Katie said...

Many thanks to both you and Rubén for showing me such a good time during my visit to Buenos Aires. The food, conversation and company were just wonderful, and I'm so grateful to you for organizing and hosting a lovely afternoon. I hope I can return the favor one day! Hugs from Necochea!

Tina said...

It was such a nice time! Thanks! And it was great to finally meet Katie in person!

Taos Turner said...

Hi there. Nice write-up. Things have definitely gotten a lot more expensive here. Even so, some things are really good bargains, especially in the services industry. Guitar classes, voice lessons, yard work, etc. That kind of stuff is still incomparably less expensive, in general, than in the US or Europe.

tangocherie said...

Thanks, Taos, for reminding us of this. You are so right.