Friday, November 25, 2011

Observations on Thanksgiving in Brazil

I have survived another faux Thanksgiving in Brazil. Barely.
Here corn bread is a sweet cake you prepare wrapped in the husks of the corn and is served for dessert. (Wonderful!) Back in the US we just spread some butter on the savory, but a bit sweet, bread and enjoy it during the meal.
Here turkey is BBQed (like everything else) bit by bit – OK, maybe occasionally oven roasted, but when I brined the turkey for 8 hours and then slowly baked it to a delicious and juicy result I took a lot of flack along the way from non-understanding back seat cooks.
Here green beans are chopped and sliced into tiny bits, and served with an egg cooked on top of the lot. (Which is delicious, btw.) My long cut beans with a simple butter sauce cooked al dente did not go over well (“they are raw!”).
Here squash is to be paired with dried meat. (Also delicious, btw.) But my roasted squash stuffed with an apple, walnut, cheese dressing was seen, cautiously, as curious – although enjoyed. Everything needs an explanation/justification.
Pies, overall, are not really a dessert item in Brazil. It’s more of a cake culture here. But anything sweet and delicious goes over well.
Who am I kidding? I am a foreigner – remember? Don’t forget. People here are not like people from where I come from. Duh. I must stop thinking that all things translate – even when those things are cherished traditions/foods/delicious.
Someday I will adapt. And I always appreciate my husband for his bridge building abilities.


Meredith said...

Sounds yummy! Happy Thanksgiving, Jim and Luiz.

By the way, if you know a good gravy recipe (easy) or where I can buy it, please comment on my blog. Thanks :).

GingerV said...

first -
2) it is only a FAUX thanksgiving it you are not thankful.
3)I have eaten in Chile, Argentina, Brasil, Italy, France, England, Norway, and of course, the US. The coffee is differnt, the deserts different, the serving methods different - and more - but I enjoy the meals. Only people that haven't traveled don't like food becuase it is different.
what is Brined?
When I go to Brasilian dinners I never complain about the too strong coffee that can only be drank if copious sugar is added. I have a neighbor in Friburgo that everytime she has one of my coffees - before even tasting it - calls it Cha Americana.... I am insulted, of course....I like my coffee strong but not bitter, without sugar added.... show her - I quit offering coffee after lunch.
I am very serious - you can come to Friburgo next thankgiving and cook for me.....

Jim said...

Thank you Ginger - that is a VERY tempting invitation. Let's keep in touch about it !!

Corinne said...

I am making Thnaksgiving this year too (although on Sunday). I usually invite expats and others (who have been to the US) who I know will enjoy it. I had a similar experience to yours with a Christmas dinner I made for the inlaws. However, everyone loves the Christmas cookies, so I suppose it all evens out!

Ray and Gil said...


I totally understand where you are coming from, we have had our dose of frustration trying to share parts of American culture with our family and friends in Brazil.
I have to agree with you on "Brazilians" cooking the life out of some foods.
Gil always complains that his mom will cook pasta too much, also vegetables are cooked until a soft moosh. Feel Brazilians enjoy things "al dente".
We happen to love everything "al dente".
I have an idea, when we get down there we should organize a Thanksgiving for our Bloggers/Expat community. ;)
You will learn with time that somethings go well in Brazil and some others not so much.
I make a cherry cheese cake that is always an incredible hit with my Brazilian friends and family.



Ray and Gil said...

oops, I meant "few"... :)

Jim said...

Ray - I have had great success with cheese cake as well! Let's do the party!