“Buenos dias, Oli,” my dad whispers as he gently pats my back to stir me awake. It’s early, but the busy city of Buenos Aires has been awake for hours, which is evident by the honking and chatter that floats through the air. I rub my eyes and jump out of bed to get ready for the day as quickly as possible. My dad is waiting for me by the door, and I grab his hand, ready to go.

We stroll through the streets of Buenos Aires with a sense of determination, knowing exactly what turns to take and which stores we will walk past. First, we pass the candy shop right below my grandma’s apartment, then the comic shop that indicates we’re almost there. My nose knows we have arrived before my eyes do, the smell of Confiteria Delgado is both familiar and delicious. My dad and I rush in, ready to order a box full to the brim with flakey and buttery pastries to bring back to the rest of our sleeping family.

“Cinco medialunas, por favor,” I order five Argentine croissants confidently. My dad and I then speedwalk through the bustling streets, passing our favorite magazine stand on the way. 

Bursting through the door of my grandma’s apartment, we announce to everyone, “Llegaron los pasteles!” My brother and sister burst through their doors, ready to dig in. For the rest of the morning, my family and I stuff our faces with the doughy delights and are already planning out what to have for lunch.

These memories of going with my dad to the bakery down the street from my grandma’s house in Buenos Aires, Argentina are just one of the many fond memories that I have surrounding Argentine cuisine. From visiting my family in Buenos Aires to dinners at home in Boston to the unique lunches I was able to take to school, food has always been a huge part of life, and Argentinian delicacies in particular. While reflecting on the idea of Hispanic Heritage Month, it did not take me long before my mind was flooded with memories of the culture of Argentina, a culture that I oftentimes feel is overlooked or that not many people know about. That is why I am here today to fill you in on all things food and Argentina.


First and foremost, I feel that it would be a disservice to not start with the traditional meal that is empanadas. Every Friday night growing up, my mom took camp in the kitchen for hours, cooking up the tastiest empanadas in preparation for the weekend family parties. I still remember the moment I successfully folded my first empanada. It was a Friday afternoon in third grade, and my siblings and I stood in the kitchen helping our mom with the sacred task of preparing the empanadas. After filling one-half of the round sheet of dough with the perfect beef mixture, it was finally time for the scariest part, folding the concoction into a flawless empanada. The best part of this experience was always making my mom proud as we threw the empanadas in the oven, ready to serve them to our friends and family. Dancing around in the kitchen with my siblings to Argentine music like Fito Páez as the smell of the empanadas filled our noses is a memory that I never want to forget. For those of you who might not have ever had the pleasure of trying empanadas, these delicacies are a baked or fried pastry-like turnover that can be filled with anything from cheese to chicken or beef. 


When I think of my connection with food and Argentina, one specific word always comes to mind: merienda. In Argentina, merienda is a form of afternoon tea that takes place anytime between lunch and dinner. For us, it happened after my siblings and I returned from school. After a long day, my older brother, sister, and I would run home for school, ready to sit at our designated barstool and drink our cafes con leche. At our young age, a cafe con leche meant a lot of milk and just a little bit of coffee. I always joke with my parents that giving me coffee at such a young age is why I grew up to be so short. Then, my mom would give each of us one individual alfajor, a cookie sandwich with dulce de leche in the middle covered in chocolate (if you have never tried these you basically haven’t lived). Even to this day, anytime there is a box of alfajores in the house, my mom makes us put a tally next to our names when we eat one to make sure that we all have an equal amount.

Sometimes for merienda, we would head down to the local cafes and sit there for hours, chatting and laughing as the city of Buenos Aires bustled around us. As someone who has more of a salty tooth, my go-to is always sandwiches de miga — I can pretty much down about five or six of these a sitting. Sandwiches de miga are thin, double-decker, crustless sandwiches usually filled with cold cuts or hard-boiled eggs. Mayonnaise and butter are also key ingredients. These addictive sandwiches can be compared to English finger sandwiches, delicious and the perfect midday snack. 

Everyday, I am eternally grateful for the experience and traditions that I get to live through as credit to my Argentinan culture. Food is a beautiful and important part of life, and I felt it was important to celebrate the Argentine culture that I believe deserves its moment.