English empanadas and Argentinean bubble and squeak?

March 16, 2010 10 comments

When my husband Sean lived in Buenos Aires – before we got married-, he used to bring back goodies from his native UK that weren’t available in Argentina. Every time I opened that special kitchen cabinet, wonderful aromas of faraway places wafted out.

Sean introduced me to things like Heinz baked beans, Marmite, Bovril, mango chutney and Indian curry. It was love at first bite with Branston pickles! He would cook his childhood staples for me: cottage pie, beans on toast (oh happiness!), cauliflower cheese or toad in the hole, as well as the curries he is famous for. I think knowing what he ate as a boy helped me know the man a little better.

I didn’t really have to cook typical Argentinean food for Sean since he had already adopted it. He became adept at manning the parrilla (grill,) probably by channelling his inner gaucho. Every year, my family looks forward to Christmas because they know my hubby will produce yummy baby back ribs, grilled flank steak or sirloin, or whatever takes his fancy at the time. Last year he cooked a whole suckling pig for the first time!

One of Sean’s favourite snacks is empanadas: sweet corn, ham and cheese, beef, cheese and onion… and the mouth-watering list goes on. Not long ago, he came up with a new idea for a filling, one which perfectly combines both of our cultures: chicken curry empanadas. How’s that for multiculturalism? By the way, these curry empanadas were a huge hit with some our British friends too.

Although we can get some British and Argentinean food in Dallas, Texas, where we’re living now, we still like to bring some stuff back with us whenever we visit either Argentina or the UK and have a little taste of home.

This is what our pantry looks like now:

Read more:
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Don’t call me gordita – dinner in Chile
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About the author

Ana Astri-O'Reilly
Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.
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  • I loved this post! Trying each other’s food has to be one of the best advantages of a cross-cultural relationship. I loved seeing your pantry. Mine also has Marmite and Pataks curry paste – They are the two things I really miss from home. I haven’t managed to persuade my husband to eat Marmite though :)

  • marta

    ¡Hola, Ana! I love Argentinian food! As for British food, I have to confess I can’t stand Marmite! A friend from Northampton wanted me to try this and I thought it was a joke but, no, they actually eat AND like Marmite! One of my favourite cakes, though, is carrot cake, it’s delicious even if it doesn’t have any chocolate in it!

  • haha no, it’s not a joke! I sent some Marmite for Nuria to try. Maybe she thought the same as you Marta!

    In fact British people are also quite divided on Marmite. The advertising always says “you love it or you hate it”

  • I actually like Marmite!

  • Great article, Ana! From living in England for so long, I love all those British comfort foods like Marmite and beans on toast. I even wax nostalgic for the junk foods like Hula Hoops and pickled onion Monster Munch (Sadly, the pieces have been shrunk!). But I also learned to cook Indian food there and have had Indian food in England that was every bit as nice as that I had in India. And from the US…peanut butter and chocolate things! One of the best things about close friends and family is that they keep you in good supply of these precious items:-)

  • dee scheer

    ana, you truly have a way with words, now makes me mouth water, yummy!!!
    i love marmite, and colten is now eating it too.
    keep it up

  • A segregated cupboard!!!

    We’ve got the same situation in my house. The kitchen is segregated, not in organization, but definitely in process and result.

    I tell my wife, “Sorry, but if you want Dutch food [instead of my Latino/Méditerranée] you’ll have to cook it yourself!”

  • What a fun article! I’m an American (with British roots) and my boyfriend is Italian, but now we both live in the Netherlands. Our cabinets have a mix of Italian foods, a few typically Southern (US) ingredients, and some of the British foods I remember from visits to family, all blended in with Dutch items now. It’s fun coming up with new combinations!

  • So funny! And I totally get it too.

    We bring back maple syrup and either sriracha sauce or garlic chili sauce from the farmer’s market in Atlanta.

    But I try not to miss too much food-wise. And stick to what I find here in Salta.

  • Nuria

    Great article Ana! I love it! :) It’s definitely a lot of fun how food is such an important element in a cross-cultura relationship, especially when living together. Regarding Marmite, I have to be honest: I didn’t like it that much :( Sorry, Lucy! I do appreciate you sending it to me jiji My whole family tried it, and my sister said it’s not that bad lol I guess some people could get used to it, but I do prefer something either salty or sweet on a toast…and Marmite is like a mixture of both lol