One Plant to Rule Them All

How is the food prepared?:

First and foremost, to drink mate, you have to assemble some key parts. These include the yerba mate tea leaves; a receptacle to hold the leaves; a special type of straw with a filtration system built into the bottom called a bombilla; a kettle to heat up the water; and a thermos to keep your drink at the correct temperature. It is important to remove the kettle from the flame a little before the water reaches boiling point, otherwise the leaves can burn! When we drink mate, socially, one person is in charge of pouring the water into the receptacle and responsible for passing the drink out around the circle. When each person finishes with the mate they have been given, they hand it back to the person serving the water, who then fills it again and passes it to the next person in rotation. There are a couple fundamental DOs and DON’Ts! Do drink all the water until you hear a slurrrp sound. Don’t stir the bombilla, because leaves can get stuck in the bottom of the straw and clog up the filtration system! Don’t say gracias, because then whoever is serving will think you do not want any more yerba mate! We find other ways to give thanks and show appreciation in the course of this important social ritual. 

Is this food connected to the local environment? How?:

Yerba mate trees grow strong and tall in the subtropical regions of northern Argentina, Paraguay, and in parts of Brazil, and the original mate drinkers are known to be the Guaraní communities indigenous to those areas. But let’s not get confused...mate is not just your ordinary cup of tea.