If you are a connoisseur of good food it would be worth taking a trip to Brazil with me–at least on this blog. We’ll always find a restaurant nearby no matter where we go and they will provide good Brazilian cuisine. For me the most famous class of restaurant is the churrascaria that serves a variety of barbecued meats. The best meat for me is the thinly sliced picanha steak that fits in so well with a salad of vegetables. You no doubt will get to try heart of palm in their salad bar. Doris and I developed a taste for palm hearts but a jar of it here is a bit expensive and doesn’t taste quite the same as in Brazil.
No matter the churrascaria, it serves up prime meats that have turned slowly on a metal skewer over an open fire. Incredibly delicious! The waiter bring skewer after skewer to our table and he will slice off onto our plates as much as you or I can handle—or more. No matter, another slice always looks so good even though we have already filled our plates with a salad. If you accompany me to a Brazilian restaurant for the first time, don’t worry about strong seasoning for their taste is much like ours.
Then there is the famous feijoada made up from beans, pieces of pork and cured meats including sausage. I was never a great fan of feijoada for I thought of it as a heavy food. Of course I never knew what I might find in it. Some of us were once invited out to a club and when they served feijoada a friend found part of a pig’s snout with an eye staring up at him. He did not eat much. Others love it. I recall being out in a restaurant with a friend and when I could not handle the abundant portion of feijoada dished out, he ate mine as well as his own. So much depends on a person’s taste.
There was a small restaurant on the Praca da Se in central Sao Paulo that I loved even though it catered mostly to stand-up customers. I should explain that Praca da Se is the Public Square or park directly in front of the Se cathedral. When in this downtown area I would plan to have lunch at this busy restaurant. It served up the best bife a cavalo and though a translation might detract from the taste it would be “a horseback riding steak.” It consists of a piece of grilled beef with a fried egg on top. The beef was always tasty, tender and properly seasoned. Absolutely delicious!
If you’ve been travelling with me, you ought not to leave Brazil without the common man’s meal, that is Arroz e Feijao–in English, rice and beans. White rice is cooked with a bit of oil so that it does not stick together and is seasoned with garlic and onions. The beans are cooked till soft and the well-seasoned sauce is then served on top of the rice. We’ll not encounter black beans for they are used in areas where we will not be travelling. You’ll like the beans we were accustomed to–a small red bean called, Rochinho. Rice and Beans are the ultimate budget dish but that does not make it less delicious.
Then you may encounter Farofa, perhaps in a restaurant or a private home. It is made from the coarse Mandioca flour made up from the root by that name. It is then fried up with lots of butter and whatever particular addition the chef prefers. I never acquired any taste for it and it was not part of our regular diet. But give it a try for that is the way to expand an appreciation for different foods no matter the country.
You’ll enjoy the bread in Brazil. Wherever you and I will have breakfast in Brazil we will be served up bread still warm from the oven. That used to be part of our breakfast every day—warm bread from a nearby bakery. We were spoiled rotten eh?
Now my mind turns to Jesus who refers to himself as the Bread of Life. I’ve heard differing explanations of what that means but I’ve concluded that if we study his teachings and live as He has outlined for us, that our lives will be nourished and strong—that is successful—in this life and in eternity. Bread of Life—give him a try.