It's a gray day, no longer winter, not yet spring. Is it warm? Uh-uh. Cold? Ish. On Sunday it was sixty degrees, on Monday it snowed three inches. If Macbeth were here he'd surely proclaim it "foul and fair" (Act I, sc. III).
When it's that hard to get a fix on the weather, nothing feels better than suddenly deciding what it is you want to eat or drink. I imagine this is how some women (or men) feel when they know exactly what shoes to wear. Today, I slid my feet into some warm maté.
The world outside is muddled, but in my apartment I'm drinking maté, and everything is warm and clear. Like the final act of a Shakespeare play, just one sip turned chaos into order.
I'd dabbled for a few years, but it wasn't until last summer that a Chilean friend fully inducted me into the cult of maté (not to be confused with the maté cult). Whenever I drink it I dutifully practice his method, and now so can you.
How to Make Maté Like Gabriel Sepulveda:
1. Fill the gourd halfway with yerba maté leaves. (You could use a less exotic vessel, but you could also drink champagne out of a rusty tin can.)
2. Shake the gourd with your hand covering its mouth, then blow off the dust that gathers on your palm. Repeat until there is no more dust.
3. Gently insert the bombilla (metal straw) into the leaves at a 45 degree angle. Never move it.
3. Cover the leaves with cool water.
4. Fill with near boiling water (between shrimp eyes and crab eyes) by trickling it down the straw.
5. Let steep about four minutes. Drink!
6. Continue filling with hot (but not boiling) water for several more infusions.