I didn’t have it in me to cook dinner on Saturday, so I made una picada instead. Every time we eat like this for dinner we mumble in between bites of cheese and prosciutto and crackers that we should do this more often. I don’t know why we don’t.
A picada (pee-káh-dah) is something to nibble on before dinner or a main meal. More often than not, the picada becomes the meal and the meal becomes what distends your stomach and gives you indigestion. For my mom, the picada is as important as the meal. She passed that neurosis on to me, so it’s not unusual for me to have 5 or 6 plates of finger foods–not including nuts or cheese–set out before a celebratory dinner.
A typical picada for us will have salami, ham, prosciutto, a plate of cheeses, my mom’s blue cheese spread, hearts of palm with dressing, chips, empanadas, sandwiches de miga, and one or two bowls of nuts because even gluttons need omega-3s, antioxidants, protein, and fiber.
As you can see, Saturday night wasn’t so extravagant. I didn’t even bother to remove the meats, cheeses, and dips from their store packaging and onto my extensive picada serving plates, something I will hear about on my mother’s deathbed if fate is cruel and she sees this picture. I admit, this is hardly fair representation for Argentina’s version of tapas. I’ll have to redeem myself by hosting, and then posting, a true picada. This was a pale, pathetic excuse for a picada. It was more of a pic…, or as my mother would say, “A tiny little drop in my ocean.”