Thanksgiving All Year Round

 

Portugal’s cuisine isn’t the familiarity of French, Spanish, or Italian. However, historical Brazilian and African delicacies blend into Portugal’s mediterranean cuisine, making the country a memorable contender. Aromatic variations of Piri Piri spicy peppers, Cinnamon (Canela), Bay Leaves (Louro), Sea Salt (Sal), and Smoked Paprika (Colorau) into delectable combinations are a foodie’s dream. Here are some of the specialties I’ve enjoyed:

Thanksgiving all year round: Portugal’s cuisine isn’t the familiarity of French, Spanish, or Italian. However, historical Brazilian and African delicacies blend into Portugal’s mediterranean cuisine, making the country a memorable contender.

  • Pastel de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tart), a flaky pastry filled with creamy custard and sprinkled with cinnamon.
  • Bacalhau A Bras, a dish of shredded salted cod, potatoes, eggs, and olives.
  • Caldo Verde, a soup of kale, potatoes, and chorizo sausage.
  • Arroz de Pato, a baked rice dish with duck, bacon, and sausage.
  • Ameijoas à Bulhão Pato, clams cooked in white wine, garlic, and cilantro.
  • Sardinhas Assadas, grilled sardines served with bread and salad.
  • Alheira de Mirandela, a smoked sausage made of various meats and bread.
  • Polvo à Lagareiro, octopus roasted with garlic, olive oil, and potatoes.

*By the way, ketchup isn’t common or offered with fries, and the name on the menu isn’t listed as French Fries; they’re listed as potatoes.

I think as the world becomes increasingly complex, there’s a need for easier and simpler ways to move about and gather. Socialization, particularly after COVID, has made food one key in unity and belonging.

Eating different types of foods, and learning how to order in a language other than English, helps conquer a fear of living outside of one’s norm.

Other than food, I’m humbled to build friendships and pursue relevant learning opportunities while on this exploration. I’ve joined an international writing group with members from 25 countries, a women’s weekly café meet-up (so far there’s 16 countries represented), and a monthly book club. One of the short stories for next month is a Christmas story in Portuguese! These fluid, informal exchanges are a wonderful celebration for the second half of my life.

Portugal cafes are gathering places for people from all walks of life

Many people can’t pick up and leave their backyard, not just because of obligations or money, but drinking the same water drowns out desires for something different. Destinations and dreams rarely bring about the change, if we don’t drive a will to change and live. Surviving in a foreign country is challenging, but along the way, disregarding prejudices allows for an experience of enjoying Thanksgiving more than just one day of the year.

 

 

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Terrie S. Rouse-Rosario
Terrie S. Rouse-Rosario
6 months ago

Cheryl,

This a charming story! I want to try these dishes.

Terrie

Donna Pizzi
6 months ago

I love that you’ve joined all these groups!!! Love to hear more about how the weekly writing group with 25 countries represented works? Do you read from your works & discuss? Curious… The dishes sound delectable… Look forward to visiting one day! There is so much momentum right now for change and HEALING… Bless you for sharing your journey abroad. So much to be grateful for!

Donna Pizzi
6 months ago

Which of your novels may be read next year? Love that you are immersing yourself in the language. You KNOW how much I love languages, especially singing in them, but I’ve never tried Portuguese… Brava!

Phillip Lott
Phillip Lott
6 months ago

Good Story Cheryl! I really enjoyed. That food looks really good also!

Michael Conner
Michael Conner
6 months ago

All of this chit-chat about Portuguese cuisine is inspiring me to make a pilgrimage to the Panda Express, hee, hee. Your new European home sounds pitch-perfect.

Heather Williams
6 months ago

Cheryl, Thanks so much for sharing your journey in Portugal and its food and its writers. All the best to you…and I look forward to someday seeing you at a cafe in Portugal!

Steve Durham
Steve Durham
6 months ago

Cheryl!

New food and a new language. Where do I begin?

In my past travels, when ordering food at a restaurant, not sure what it is I’m ordering (Google translate doesn’t ALWAYS get it right), I rely on one fact. The natives eat it and they’re not dying from it. Living here in Portugal means I have that experience almost daily. I have my favorite dishes at my favorite restaurants, but I try to order something new a couple times a week. Who knew that hake was light and flaky? Who knew bacalhau (cod) came in 57 varieties? Who knew the corner cafe makes a better hamburger than any restaurant in America? (It’s the crusty roll and addition of a slice of ham).

As for language, my lessons continue and I pick up a few words each week. There is a small mom-and-pop fruit and produce store right around the corner from our apartment where I shop weekly. The bill came to €20.52. I didn’t have the €.52 and the owner declined my €10 note. I promised, “Volto ja!”, ran to the apartment, and returned with the money, dropping it into the owners hand and saying, “Cinquente e dois”. He smiled at this minimal communication because he remembered the pantomime act when I first patronized the store.

I eat healthier, my brain is active, and I’m enjoying life. Who could ask for more?

Iris richardson
Iris richardson
5 months ago

Great story Cheryl aways enjoy reading your stories. Need to connect changed phones lost info. Storm was in Barcelona last week hopefully his next trip can connect with you. Happy Holidays