My sister: the hot sauce smuggler

Amanda Landaverde
May 27, 2017

I surprisingly have not touched on the topics of food, imports, or the economy in Argentina at all in my blog despite the fact that it was a pretty big hurdle when I first got here. Argentina doesn’t have a typical free market economy; you can’t import goods without exporting something of equal value. This makes exports and imports very limited, and also leads to situations such as grocery stores not carrying your facial cleanser or moisturizer, not being able to find Reese’s cups or Twix anywhere, Jack Daniel’s costing more than $60, missing peanut butter, going through dark chocolate withdrawals, and craving spicy food since Argentinians just cannot take the heat.

And none of these things are banned or outlawed in Argentina, they are all just not imported at all, very expensive, or extremely hard to come by. A small thing of peanut butter is about $5 here. To be honest, I don’t really remember how much it was back home, but for the quality of Jif peanut butter in a smaller container, it seems like a lot. And buying hot sauce here? Forget it. I’ve gotten hot sauce both here and it is not spicy at all. People believe that just plain black pepper is spicy here; just let that sink in for a moment. Maybe it’s all that European influence that makes people’s spice tolerance as weak as Minnesotans’? However, even the hot sauce I bought in Chile wasn’t all that spicy either. Maybe it’s just what happens to taste buds in the Southern Cone.

So what does all this mean when a sibling from the United States come to visit? They become your contraband mule. I’m talking about hitting your sister up before she flies in for a visit asking for her favorite Texan hot sauce, Jif natural peanut butter (because I can’t afford actual natural peanut butter), face wash, Honey Jack Daniel’s, and all the spices Columbus stole and never used. I have two months left here and I am trying to think of all the necessary items I have lived without up until this moment, and the items I will need to survive my next 2 months abroad, and how much of it I’ll need.

I’m guessing all I’ll really need is a tub of peanut butter, 3 bottles of hot sauce, and a half-pound of dark chocolate. Should be enough to tide me over until I get home.

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Amanda Landaverde

<p>Amanda Landaverde is a 20 year-old Spanish and Psychology student at Gustavus Adolphus College who aims for a career in neuroscience studying generational trauma. In her free time, Amanda likes to creatively illuminate and counteract social injustice through art, writing, and performance with her social justice theatre troupe on campus.</p>

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