Saturday, November 28, 2009

You know you are in Brazil when

You know you are in Brazil when you begin cooking dinner before 7:00 in the morning. It’s simply too hot to cook in the afternoon.

Just imagine standing over a stove with two burners lit, rice boiling and vegetables steaming, with a hot oven at your knees – all contributing to an even hotter ambient temperature. Been there. No thanks. I literally drip with sweat, soaking my shorts.

Luiz and I do not have air conditioning, except in the bedroom. When I do have to cook in the afternoon I bring an oscillating fan into the kitchen and set it up on a stool. But that just circulates the hot air. Still, it’s an improvement.

This morning I got up at my usual 6:30 am and got to work. First: a pot of coffee. Then I put in a load of laundry (which requires nearly two hours to run its course). Taking some leftover chicken and vegetable stock from a previous roasted medley I set lentils to boil. Using chopped onions and some garlic I quickly sautéed some brown rice and then set it to boil as well. Finally, I scrubbed three whole beets, cut off the greens end, wrapped each in foil and placed them in a hot oven to roast.

With that I escaped to the living room to study Portuguese under the ceiling fan.

By nine o’clock I had completed a green lentil, red onion and brown rice pilaf (my antidote to the ever-present white rice on the dinner table), skinned and sliced the roasted beets and put to refrigerate, hung the laundry, and cleaned the kitchen. All this before the sun crested the tall apartment building to our east.

Dinner has been prepped. Now I can enjoy some beach time, like any respectable Brazilian.

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