Yesterday I wore a polo/tennis type shirt with a Portuguese flag as the logo on the chest. Kelly got it for me as a birthday present this year. I wore it to work because those kinds of short sleeve shirts are a lot more comfortable for me. Anyway, near the end of the day a visitor walked up to me and asked me if I was Portuguese and could speak the language.
I said that my father was Portuguese and that my Portuguese was not so good, because the only time my father and my grandparents ever really used Portuguese when I was a kid was when they didn’t want me to understand what they were saying. But, I said, I know enough to be able to order food at Portuguese restaurants or find my way around some of the Portuguese groceries in East Cambridge. He explained that he had spent a lot of time on the Iberian peninsula and had come to love Portuguese food. His companion/friend/girlfriend added that he was a bit of a foodie when it came to Portuguese food. They had just moved to Boston and were finding their way around and seeing the sights.
“So can you tell me where I can find Portuguese food around here?”
“Wow, did you find the right guy to ask,” I said. So I told him all about all of the places I go to buy various kinds of Portuguese foods and beverages. Of course I told them about my favorite place to eat out, Casa Portugal. I also told them about the Central Bakery (he specifically asked where he could find broa), the Fernandes Fish Market (where I buy a lot of my ingredients and foods, especially cheeses), and a few of the other places in the neighborhood where you can find stuff. We talked about the different Portuguese wines and beers you can find locally and how the selection around here was so awesome compared to what I had been used to when I lived in Alabama. We even had a long talk about the sorts of things I learned to cook from my Azorean grandmother, and how those dishes were different from the ones he encountered on the mainland. We even talked a bit about how I have learned to adapt some dishes for my lovely wife and other vegetarians we know. It was a lot of fun for me, as I rarely get to talk with anyone who knows Portuguese cuisine as well as me, and this guy (his name was William, and I think his Latina girlfriend’s name was Adria or something similar) really knew a lot.
That reminds me. I need to get all my Portuguese cookbooks back. I loaned them to a friend who is a fabulous chef and had not been exposed to Portuguese food very much.
And for those of you who have never had Portuguese food… wow, are you missing out. Go try some if you have the chance.