Thursday, March 27, 2008

Understanding: Portuguese Food

The Portuguese dine well. A nation small in size, Portugal offers much variety for those who are hungry. They enjoy a range of food including various meat, fish, cheeses, and sweet desserts. Rich, well spiced meals, often accompanied by wine, are a staple of Portuguese cuisine. The social aspect of sitting down for a meal is also important in Portuguese culture. They love having good wine, talking, and enjoying the company of others while sitting down for a meal. Common ingredients include codfish, shellfish, onions, tomatoes, cabbage, garlic, fresh bread, sausage, rice and potatoes. Though cheese is well liked by the Portuguese it is not commonly included in meals but rather is eaten separately. Also cinnamon and vanilla are common in rich egg based desserts.

Some more well known foods include sweat bread, salted cod, chourico sausage, and rice pudding. Much of this diversity of food is owed to Portugal’s colonial past when many different food items were coming in and out of the country. Furthermore, trade ships not only brought back food and spices to the homeland, but they also had a role in influencing cuisine in other parts of the world. This includes Brazil, parts of India, and even Japan.

This influence can also be seen in Fall River, MA, home to many with Portuguese blood. Furtado’s has been selling Chourico and Linguica Portuguese Sausages in Fall River for more than 90 years. Restaurants (Lusitano, Estoril, Academica), markets (Chaves), and bakeries (Carreiros Barcelos, Micaelanese) cater to those looking for a taste of Portugal.

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