ARGENTINA: One Meatball . . .

According to a 1945 presidential decree, all Argentine restaurants, even such famed luxury resorts as the grill rooms at the Plaza and the Alvear Palace Hotels in Buenos Aires, are required to list and serve the menú econímico. This 32¢ meal typically consists of uninspired soup, a snarl of spaghetti, nondescript fish and a tired banana.

To order such a meal, a customer has to have more crust than a Bowery mission pie. But some of the owners and waiters have worked out a defensive "treatment" for such diners. As soon as they hear the odious order, waiters snatch the tablecloth...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!