Last week I was watching on TV a compilation of episodes of Anthony Bourdain – No Reservations and I was pretty impressed.
In his culinary adventures, he mentioned one the most beef-eaters-country… and it was my country Uruguay. I can confirm that my country Uruguay together with Argentine, United States and Australia are the countries with the top beef meat consumption per capita of the world.
I don’t know if this is a merit, but these are real facts about worldwide culinary customs!
When Anthony visited Uruguay, he enjoyed our local top grass-fed beef utterly tender that kiss the palate. He couldn’t believe the Uruguayan savory beef-tower called Chivito. He relished a chivito in a famous “chiviteria” not far from where I’m.
It’s a pity I couldn’t see the complete episode about my country but it seemed that he enjoyed the visit.
Why in my country are people big beef eaters? The reason came with our history, the first animals that were introduced in the actual Uruguayan territory, by the Spanish people, were the cows. Since that moment, the beef became a vital and juicy part of the diet in my country.
The Uruguayan’s palate has its origin in Europe, but nowadays there’s a fusion cuisine together also with American, Latin American, Indian, Japanese and Chinese cuisine. You can find gourmet restaurants with every imaginable dish you want but, if you want the real tradition here, you’d go to the parrilladas.
The traditional Uruguayan cuisine has one of the largest spectrums of the world in beef dishes – the most picturesque for the tummy and eyes are the parrilladas!
We’ve in our country approximately 4 cows per habitant; with a population of 3.5 millions of people we’ve 14 millions of cows… a lot of them! Beef and milk are the principal products, by the way of excellent quality, so this is the reason why we’ve all type of milks, cheeses, butter, yogurts and.. dulce de leche resulting in delicious alfajores too. Of course the contribution to international culinary world is vaster than beef but this a typical one.
The back side of this high beef consumption is the trend to avoid fresh vegetables and to minimize the fish consumption, some of them with high percentage of omega 3, beneficial for health. If we add that more than 60% of the population is sedentary (and they aren’t doing anything to change it) give an outcome of high percentage of heart diseases in my country. The uric acid is overall extremely high, giving gout frequently among the people.
I know that a lot people, have no idea about Uruguay. They said Uru..what? A soccer team? Not precisely, but we’re all well known worldwide about the soccer (but not with good luck lately)
Paraguay? (no, either, this is a neighbor country not so far from here, but this isn’t Uruguay)
Just in case, Uruguay is a state in the cone of South America between Argentina and Brazil
Every country has its own culinary delights; Uruguay can be recognized by the beef and the mate, just to name only a very few.
Many times the world recognizes a country for some specific dishes or ingredients, which do you think that represent yours? Share your good taste!
Photo credits by felixion and by G Velasco