Monday, November 29, 2010
Dia de Noqui, The 29th of the Month!
Today, I finally had a plate of noquis, (also known as gnocchi) a fresh potato and flour pasta, on it's rightful day! The 29th of the month!
For those of you, not in Uruguay, you are now wondering what I'm talking about! Well, the tradition in Uruguay is that restaurants offer and most people at home eat, these little pastas on the 29th day of each month. Why, that day? Well, by way of illustrating the reason for this, back in the states it's not uncommon to get a semimonthly pay check at your place of employment. I used to work at a job where I loved getting a weekly pay check because right when I was getting low on cash Voila!, another pay check would arrive. Now, imagine a once a month Pay period. You can see how your money might, begin to wear a little thin, by the time, the end of the month rolls around. Tradition holds that on the day before payday, the 29th the only thing people could still afford to eat were potatoes and flour for pasta making. Along with eating the noqui the tradition consists of restaurants putting a little coin (peso) under your plate of noquis to symbolize prosperity ahead.
The term Noqui is also derogatorily used here (but with a knowing smile) to describe a civil servant. Government jobs are highly sought after here, as they offer job security. Firing, a government employee is unheard of! It's like a professor getting "tenure", up until then, you are always under review but with tenure you're safe! There are "Urban legends" of some "noquis", just showing up to work on one day, at the end of the month, only to pick up their pay for that month. Most government jobs have a sort of lottery that if you're in the winning group THEN you can be interviewed for the job. We have a friend who got his job when his friend, unbeknown to him, put his name in the contest. You still have to qualify through written tests but the contest gets you in the running! Getting back to the subject of the edible kind. Every month as the 29th approached I would think about ordering some noquis, since everyone offers this meal it would be extra fresh on that day. However, I would only remember the tradition on the 30th always missing it! This time we bought some to celebrate our new purchase.We stopped into a little hole in the wall deli (of sorts) in Salinas to pick up some media lunes (croissants with ham and cheese) and some Noquis! This time we bought some to celebrate our new purchase!
As you'll recall from an earlier post, I said that Monday Morning (now thinking about a "Mamas and Papas" song) that we would again, try and meet a delivery van on the outskirts of Montevideo. Well lo and behold after only 2 hours of waiting, we met up with Amando and our new bar stools!
We love them! We received 2 bar stools, for what we would have paid for just one at several other expo Hecho Aca vendors' stands. Also they are custom made (for our larger buttock proportions)
The seat bottoms are 17" or 43cm. The maker did question us when we gave him the measurements saying that most bar seats weren't that large but we assured him that is what we wanted! As a side note I looked at an online catalog and noticed that 17" was a standard North American size and NOT the largest by any means. So that made me feel a little better!
The cost of the bar chairs? Only $1200 pesos each (about $60 US). The finished project looks right at home in our new kitchen.
One last kitchen feature left to do is a small backsplash tiling job and some touch up paint. Then the heart of the home will be truly complete!