Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Why: Valentín makes it for his grandmother. I used to make Maté Latte for Claire when she forgot to do her homework, and now I am drinking Herbal Mist Yerba Maté Something.
Answer: Also called chimarrão or cimarrón, it is a South American infusion sort of like tea (or coffee, I guess), made by steeping the dried leaves of the yerba maté plant (a species of holly) in hot water. Drinking it is a common social practice. Drink it from a hollow Calabash gourd through a metal straw made of silver or steel.
The More You Know: The Guaraní people started drinking maté in the region that now includes Paraguay, southern Brazil, north-east Argentina, and Uruguay. The Guaraní have a legend that says that the Goddesses of the Moon and the Cloud came to the Earth one day to visit it but they instead found a Yaguareté (jaguar) that was going to attack them. An old man saved them, and in compensation, the Goddesses gave the old man a new kind of plant from which he could prepare a "drink of friendship." Also, drinking hot maté may cause cancer.