Back when the call for Cowboy Up came out (which was a pretty good while ago) I decided I wanted to write something different. I did a little (okay, a lot a lot) of research and came up with an Argentinean gaucho. I loved the idea that cowboys actually originated in Morocco and Spain, and came to the US, Canada, and Australia last by way of South America.
So, the Gaucho Code was born. I loved that story, and was sad to see it going out of print. It's being re-released as a Sip next weekend, though, and I'm really excited to see it coming.
Yerba Mate, which features prominently in the Gaucho Code, is the traditional drink of gauchos on the pampas. While it's all the rage now at the Whole Foods, traditional mate is pretty different from what you get in a bottle.
Here's a traditional mate recipe.
For the gourd
Tomando mate (drinking mate) is a symbol of hospitality. As the mate gourd is passed around, a sense of connection emerges. The first step of the ceremony is the preparation of the gourd. Typically, the cebador/a - mate server - prepares mate for a friend or a group of friends. The cebador/a drinks the first one or two gourd-fulls, testing the waters to ensure that only a smooth running mate is shared. Then the gourd is refilled with water and passed counter-clockwise with the bombilla (straw-filter) facing the recipient. Each person drinks the entire gourd: "you share the vessel, not the liquid." The recipient of the gourd has as much time as needed to finish the gourd-full. After the last few sips of the mate are gone, the gourd is returned with the bombilla facing the cebador/a. The gourd is refilled with hot water and follows around the circle, continuing in this fashion until the mate is lavado (flat). If someone has had enough mate, they simply say gracias (thank you) to indicate that they are finished.
1 liter of hot water (not boiling)
Yerba Mate (fill gourd 2/3'rds full)
(gourd and bombilla)
Guayaki Yerba Mate Gourd Preparation Procedure DrawingPreparing yerba mate in a gourd is an art.
1) Fill the mate gourd with a daily serving of Guayakí Yerba Mate.
2) Gently shake the gourd so that the yerba mate is on one side, leaving an open area on the other side.
3) Insert the filtered end of the bombilla into the bottom of the gourd.
4) Gently pour a little cold water into the open area to moisten the yerba mate. This protects the flavor and health properties. Leave the mate gourd tilted until the yerba mate has absorbed the water.
5) Add hot (no hotter than150 degrees F.) water until it reaches just below the top of the yerba mate. Sip from the bombilla until all the liquid is gone, then add more hot water. The first few drinks are strong; the flavor will soften as more water is added for each drink.
6) Now that the gourd is prepared, drink it, add more hot water and serve your friends one at time in a circular fashion. Basically, pour, pass, sip. Let them know not to move the bombilla, as to not disturb the yerba. - Before using the gourd, read the curing and caring section.
7. The mate gourd can be refilled 15-20 times.
For the mate: