The G20 Series: Brazil

12 Jun

Let’s face it, trying to come up with a summary of the cuisines of entire countries in a few short paragraphs is a bit of a Sysiphean task. Nations are complicated places, with regional cuisines that are sometimes foreign even to other parts of the country.

Which brings me to Brazil. The largest country in South America – and future host of both the World Cup and the Olympics – Brazil is diverse both in its geography and its people, and therefore its cuisines. Like Argentina, Brazil produces and eats a lot of beef. Unfortunately, cattle are responsible for the majority of deforestation in the country. Still, there’s more to Brazil than beef.

(And, for that matter, coffee.)

Considered the national dish of the country, feijoada is a stew of black beans and meats. You can make it the old fashioned way by including pork ears, tails and/or feet, but if your tastes are less adventurous, you can stick to sausages, pork tenderloin and bacon. I confess I have not tried this, but if anyone wants a volunteer for tasting their feijoada, you can reach me through this blog!

My own experience with Brazilian food is limited, a fact that I promise to address soon by visiting one of our city’s many Brazilian restaurants. A friend of mine who grew up in Brazil, and who has taught cooking classes for university students with me, once showed me how a bean salad can be made more delicious by adding hearts of palm. She also said she very often cooked with a pressure cooker when she was in Brazil, but when she moved to Canada, she had trouble even finding one to buy.

While cheering Brazil all the way to the World Cup final (my prediction, at least according to my office pool), try some moequeca capixaba (a fish stew); some fried plantain soup; farofa (a toasted manioc meal); or even pan de queijo, a Brazilian cheese bread. And save some for me.

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