The Eleven

La Once (The Eleven) is not at eleven nor it includes eleven things or eleven ingredients. The etymology of this numerical snack is due to the language in code spoken by the nitrate fields workers, who, by the end of the XIX century, due to the restrictions on alcoholic drinks, used to get together to have a sip of aguardiente (liquor). A-g-u-a-r-d-i-e-n-t-e has eleven letters, therefore it became la once (the eleven).

Nowadays it has nothing to do with alcohol, but with tea or coffee, since la once has become a sort of afternoon tea. It takes place between 5 to 8pm, and many times it substitutes dinner. Besides tea, it always comes with bread, usually marraqueta or hallulla, butter, cold meats, avocado, tomato, cheese, dulce de leche and scrambled eggs. Other more copious versions also include kuchen (cakes) and alfajores, ice-cream and pancakes, or anything that wouldn't look too strange under the label of afternoon tea.

The truth is that, after the asado, it's the most common excuse to get together, and a little more benevolent with vegetarians.