You Can Be a Vegetarian in Argentina, If You Can Cook. Jueves a la Mesa Comes To The Rescue.
Article by Sharon Salt.
You might already know Sofi and Meghan from Jueves a la Mesa, a popular puerta cerrada held every Thursday in San Telmo. Or you might recognize Meghan from Buena Onda Yoga, or Sofi from her statement style, or either one of them from their bright, energetic personalities.
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of making their acquaintances, though, you have a new reason to seek them out. On June 1, they taught the first Jueves a la Mesa cooking class designed to teach beginners how to cook healthy food in Buenos Aires. The classes are currently being offered every other Saturday for June and July, and each is ARS$280 for a recipe packet, a good meal, leftovers to take home, and all the tricks and tips you can remember!
I had the pleasure of joining them last Saturday. Between Sofi and Meghan’s smiles and the cozy apartment space in which the class is held, it felt like a simple afternoon just hanging out with good friends. From the very beginning, Sofi and Meghan were radiating warmth, weaving in and out of Spanish and English to give us the introduction. “It’s best to cook when you have time, so you can really appreciate what this is,” explained Meghan, holding up a squash to the light. “It’s energy, from the sun. And it’s delicious.”
Over tea, Sofi and Meghan gave us a few time-saving tips for chopping and peeling vegetables before we got started, each of which proved to be very useful as soon as we realized exactly how much food we’d be making. Thankfully, the adage “many hands makes light work” held true. Of course, drinking tea, taking your time, and picking at the ingredients always helps, too.
For that first class, we cooked a large batch of vegetarian locro topped with seeds, thyme, and a spicy green onion sauté they decided to whip up on a whim. We also made a large, colorful salad – think cabbage, corn, mushrooms, tomatoes, peppers and lemon juice, all the freshest – and a caramelized garlic tart with cheese and a homemade wheat crust. Through it all, Sofi and Meghan were there to offer guidance, back rubs, and a little bit of chit-chat.
Apparently, Sofi and Meghan first met at a coffee shop. “I noticed Sofi from across the room and I knew right then, I needed to be friends with her!” said Meghan. Little did she know, though, that Sofi loved to cook as much as she did, and before long, Sofi joined Meghan in cooking for Jueves a la Mesa.
Later, they realized that though they enjoy cooking for others immensely, they also wanted to start a cooking class.
“A lot of people were coming to us and saying, ‘I’m sick of eating out,’ or ‘I can’t get good vegetarian food in Buenos Aires,’” said Megan. “We always say, you can eat good, healthy meals here if you can cook. There’s amazing produce!”
After we finished preparing the meal, everyone sat down together at the table to enjoy our meal. We devoured our salad first, then the garlic tart straight out of the oven. Both were absolutely delicious, of course, and made even better knowing we had just cooked it from scratch by ourselves. We were so stuffed that nobody had room for the vegetarian locro afterwards, so we divvied up the leftovers. We joked and laughed a bit more, and I went home full and happy, with new friends, new recipes, and a Tupperware full of locro.
For more information about the cooking classes or the puerta cerrada, check out the Jueves a la Mesa website or Facebook page. Classes are available by reservation, and if you’d prefer to just eat and not cook, try one of their weekly closed door services.