Today’s #Tango Thought 078: Cake!
Should you eat before, or after a milonga, or not at all ?
Some people say “before, so that you don’t get hungry during the milonga”. But then they complain that they can’t move as freely.
Some people say “After! Because I’ll be ravenous”. But then these same people quite factually ‘grumble’ (meaning their stomachs are growling because they’re hungry) while they dance with you.
Some people are in the ‘not’ at all category! They can seemingly contain their exertion and not require sustenance before, during, and after a milonga.
It should be noted that one thing that should be true, no matter which side of the food argument you land on, staying hydrated is very important!
It is for this reason, and a few others (mostly the marketing aspect), that a good portion of Milongas offer some types of ‘lite refreshments’. Emphasis is on the word ‘lite’ which in this case means: Water, Juice, Coffee, Tea, Chocolate, Fruits (Grapes, Strawberries, Apple Slices), Cookies, Brownies, Muffins, Pies, and last but not least…CAKE! These are basically a cornucopia of sweets for you to keep up your energy while you are dancing, that’s their sole purpose. However there are some milongas (and a few marathons/festivals) that are cake festivals in and of themselves! These places have built part of their reputation on the fabulousness of the Cakes that they serve!
One of those Milongas is in the UK, at Eton. While this milonga boasts near perfect floorcraft, actual lines & lanes of dance (not to mention, zero craziness in the middle of the floor), it also boasts one of the most dizzying array of cakes known to any milonga, anywhere. The fact is that it’s a ton of work to do that every other week (the shopping for ingredients is almost a full time job in and of itself), but the payoff is that it brings people to their milonga for the quality of dance and the cake! Mind you these cakes are all made fresh within a 48 hr period before their milonga by the owner! These are not store bought cakes, but handmade. Still another that uses cake as a lure, is the Albuquerque Tango Festival, in Albuquerque New Mexico. Mind you the cake idea came about because they couldn’t bring in their own food to the festival location, but cake was excluded from the list of things that they could bring in and so the cakefest was born. There’s a monster (huuuuuge) cake at every Milonga, sometimes 2 per day, during the 4 day Festival. And while Eton boasts an impressive array, a selection that boggles the mind, Albuquerque shoots for quantity, and a lot of it! There’s still one more that has become legendary, the All Night Milonga in Berkeley, CA. Their ‘Pie’. Mind you, it’s a store bought pie sometimes, and sometimes not. But it’s the principle of the thing. There’s always ‘Pie’ at 2 or 3 am to go with the coffee. Another is the original food fest itself – El Corte. They pioneered the idea of the Tango Salon, and that goes part parcel with the food that is served at their Chained Salon weekends, and of course their New Year’s Marathon. Only in their case it’s the ‘stone soup’ methodology, meaning that many people bring food to share with the group of dancers. It should be noted that the food idea for the salon is not new, it is an outgrowth of what you will find in Buenos Aires at certain Milongas like Salon Canning, La Viruta, or Villa Malcolm. Mind you in those cases the food is argentine finger food, specifically empanadas and medialunas. Before you go any further, there are weekly milongas in Frankfurt, Hamburg, or Berlin, and a host of other German cities where the ‘pastries’ are on parade. Meaning ? That the Tango Salon experience includes having German Cake (very similar ‘apple pie’) with their wine, beer, and coffee. And there are quite factually a running cornucopia. These cakes, however, are made professionally.
Still another place where food is used as a lure, it’s actually part of the entire event structure itself. Is the modern european marathon concept. Usually the european marathon (which is the gold standard in terms of quality because they were doing it before anyone else) is that there are meals on site for the entire run of the event. Full meals, not finger food, but meals for 250 people, and what not, so that you need not go anywhere at all. Meals, soup, and of course cakes, pies, nibbles to keep you on the floor. One such staple of these events is the late night ‘soup’ fest in more than a few marathons. Yes, you read that right, soup! Hot soup, cold soup, creamy soup, not cake, but soup! Yet one more Marathon uses breakfast or brunch as the draw, and this is more than coffee, cakes, eggs, cheeses, etc…this is a full on breakfast from fresh breads to 8 kinds of cheese, plus musli, cereals, hams (bacon) to meats, scrambled eggs to poached or boiled, coffee(s) <– note the plural, tea(s), juice(s), and that’s just the tip of the cake. Still another marathon uses ‘wieners’ (franks, or as the germans call them ‘sausages’) as their food lure. They also put on an impressive display for food. Most european marathons roll out 2 days worth of meals in their program of ‘brunch’ and then ‘dinner’. It’s part of the fee you pay for the marathon weekend.
These are just some of the places where Cake (or as in the case of the All Nighter in Berkeley – Pie) is used as a lure to get in you in the door and more importantly, to keep you moving, so that regardless of your food affiliation (before, during, after, or not at all) you come and dance ‘til your feet can’t handle it anymore, and then there is always ‘cake’ afterwards to tempt you. #SocialDance #ArgentineTango#TangoDancing
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