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Mate can be taken bitter, sweet, hot, warm and even cold (it's called tereré but it's mate, don't screw me). You can add orange or lemon peel, chamomile, zedron or any horrible yuyo that we find out there. To sweeten it you can put sugar, honey and some even have the dreadful idea of putting sweetener (directly in the water or on the yerba , it does not matter, always a heresy). And the crazy thing is, let's do whatever we do, it's ugly.
The taste of mate is ugly. Don't stone me in the public square, I'll repeat it, without any euphemism: mate is ugly. So much or uglier, perhaps, than a good bitter beer (which is similar to sucking a chavo iced). Or like the fernet that looks like a cough syrup from the 80s. However, these last drinks that are also an evil for the palate and stomach, are not “unquestionable”. You can say that you don't take birra or fernet and no Argentinean is going to look weird or start asking you questions about your childhood traumas. You're not going to have to present your ID to clear doubts because they're not going to question your argentinity. Oh! But don't you say that you're Argentinian and not tomás mate because, I repeat, it's ugly, but everyone who makes sure they are from this earth consumes it.
Because we love to do something that nobody else does. Only the rioplatenses (and maybe some Paraguayan) can have occurred to grab a plant, cut it into pieces, put them inside a bowl (let's not mention those who take mate on a cow's hoof), throw that menjunje hot water and suck the contained by a metal tube . Only us can come up with the terrible idea, contrary to everything bromatologically recommended, of sharing that bulb as if it were something super normal, as if we grabbed the glass of water and passing it from one to another in a meeting.
But you know what? I love this horrible infusion. I can't imagine having breakfast anything other than mate and when a friend comes to visit, I can't think of offering him anything else. And hardly anyone tells me no (except, of course, those Martians I have to ask for the document). Because mate is shared. It's everyone's and it's nobody's. It's not a solitary drink: coffee is for one, tea is not even talking. Mate generates rounds, talk and friendship. It is one of the few things that still unite us, which is increasingly necessary. I'll put the turkey on. No sweetener, of course.
Publication Date: 19/04/2018
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