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By Claudio Valerio From
a talk between friends, juicy anecdotes, invaluable advice, saving businesses — and impossible to realize in most cases — and shared projects or dreams that would otherwise be unattainable. A dessert, perhaps, can also be the ideal place to try to reveal great unknowns of the national being, such as, for example, the origin of one of the most traditional cuts of meat that ever lacks in Argentine grills: the roast strip. This was the theme that remained in the head of Claudio Valerio, a mechanical and electrical engineer, actor and career historian who after an informal conversation with a friend decided to investigate to establish that this court, as it is currently served, originated in the city of Campana, Buenos Aires province.
This fact, which would become a culinary and historical landmark for the district, happened during the 19th century with the installation of the refrigerator The River Plate Fresh Meat Co. in the town of Buenos Aires that grew on the banks of the Paraná River of Las Palmas, in the current territory of Campana. The story begins in the refrigerator that was founded in 1882 and closed in 1926 but started the industrialization process in the area. The main buyers of Argentine meat were the English, who preferred cuts with more meat and less bone and fat. Therefore, the whole rib was a discard cut and instead of throwing it away, it was consumed by the employees, accustomed to roasting because many of them came from the countryside or the interior of the country. “It was roasted at the withers with leather, matambre and skirt, so it was prepared since 1600. The Franciscan priests, for example, gave it to the workers working in church construction and so did the gauchos consume it,” explains Valerio, who concluded that the rise of the roast strip as it is currently consumed — or perhaps with some slight variation — was due to technological innovation. implemented in the Campanense refrigerator: the use of the saw to better fractionate the beef.
It is from the incorporation of this novel element that it was possible to start cutting the bone, since until now the workers had only one blade to fish and, no matter how sharp it had, it was impossible to cross it. From that moment on, he could cut his rib and separate the leather, the matambre and the skirt, resulting in a strip roast. The investigation allowed the engineer to learn more about the history of the match and some facts were surprising: “The brothers Luis and Eduardo Costa innovated in the feeding of cattle
to obtain better meat. In addition, it was they and Justa Lima de Atucha who donated the necessary for the first shipment of beef to Europe on ships with cold storage rooms. It was the greatest slaughter of animals,” says Valerio, whose wife, Fabiana Herreros, is a direct descendant — niece great-granddaughter, precisely — of the first intendant elected in the history of Campana, Martín Castilla.
Claudio Valerio has published a book, the second edition of which is available, in which you can read and deepen the reasons why they have led him to arrive at this discovery, as well as to ensure that his finding has national recognition, without this signifying personal clarity. In addition, with the formal presentation of his work, the intention is to institutionalize the “national feast of the barbecue of strip”, so that it will characterize the district of Campana.
Publication Date: 09/02/2019
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