¡Graduación y Empanadas!

By Caroline M., CE Adviser in Chile

Yes, it’s true: I’m finished with finals! Glory hallelujah! I even managed to make all A’s, with the exception of a B in that pesky Spanish Grammar class that I was complaining about in my previous post (I will forever despise the subjunctive tense.) All that’s left is to walk across the stage this Saturday without tripping. Considering the heels that I’m planning to wear, this will indeed prove to be tricky…

Aside from packing up my little apartment, I have an ample amount of free time… and to be honest, it’s freaking me out. Therefore, I am going to take this opportunity to kill about an hour talking about what I’ve found out about Chilean etiquette and food culture thus far…

Chilean Etiquette!

After some very productive Googling, I discovered a website with some very interesting information on Chilean etiquette, and here are the highlights:

*Men will usually shake hands and women generally pat each other on the right forearm or shoulder.
*If invited to a Chilean’s home, take sweets/chocolates or wine for the hostess. Send flowers in advance. Do not give yellow roses as they indicate contempt, or purple/black flowers as they symbolize death. Also, do not give scissors or knives as they indicate you want to sever the relationship.
*Dining etiquette can be quite formal in Chile. The hostess invites people to eat. Keep your hands visible when eating with your wrists resting on the edge of the table. Avoid speaking with eating utensils in your hands. It is considered polite to finish everything on your plate. Finally, pour wine with the right hand only.

Comida Chilena!

Chile has a very diverse food culture. As I have previously mentioned, I’m especially excited about the seafood, but I have discovered that there are other local dishes that sound equally as exciting. Here’s a little look into what I’ve found out about the Chilean food culture:

*Chileans normally eat 4 times a day. The first meal of the day is breakfast, which mostly consists of rather light fare including toasted bread with butter and instant coffee with milk. Lunch (served between 1:00 and 2:00 P.M. ) is the big meal of the day. Traditionally two main dishes are served. The first course may be a salad of some kind. The second dish generally includes beef or chicken, accompanied by vegetables. Around 5:00 P.M. Chileans take once, an afternoon tea with bread and jam, that often also includes cheeses and palta (avocados). Once, which means “eleven,” is evidently named after the British tea time—11:00 A.M. Around 9:00 P.M. most families serve dinner, which is usually a single but substantial dish, most often accompanied with wine grown in the many Central Valley vineyards.
*Some popular dishes in Chile are empanadas (pastries stuffed with meat, cheese, or seafood, as well as onion, raisins, and olives), humitas (a paste of white corn, fried onions, and basil, wrapped in corn husks and cooked in boiling water), and pastel de choclo (white corn and beef casserole topped with sugar and mostly cooked in traditional black ceramic dishes).

I’m pretty much obsessed with Anthony Bourdain’s show No Reservations on the Travel Channel. Despite his snarky attitude about most things, his look into the food culture of the countries he visits is super entertaining. Here’s a link to a video of his visit to Chile and the empanadas he encountered.

Well, unfortunately I need to start the long and arduous process of packing up my apartment.

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