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 The Delicious Brazilian Food: Origins and Recipes

World Cup Brazil 2014

 

A Fruit Stand at the Sao Paulo Municipal Market

 
 

 

 

Photos:

 Brazil Travelnet

A Fruit Stand at the Sao Paulo Municipal Market

 
  Brazilian food is the very expression of its people: a delightful combination of races and heritages. The country is vast and there are regionalized cuisines, but the main influences come from three very distinct cultures. Just like their inescapable influence in the arts, dance, folklore and music, Brazilian Native Indians, the Portuguese and the African slaves “shaped” the Brazilian food.

The Native Indian’s greatest contribution is certainly the mandioca (manioc) and mandioca flower, one of the most consumed products in Brazil. The Native Indians are also responsible for the widespread habit of using tropical fruit in every way possible. From natural, fresh squeezed juices to cakes, desserts and main courses. Brazilian Native Indians also brought game meat and fish to the Brazilian table.

The Portuguese added more sophistication to the native Brazilian cuisine. They knew agriculture techniques and how to raise livestock. They also introduced the production of livestock by-products such as milk, cheese and smoked sausages. The Portuguese also put sweets and liqueurs on the Brazilian table.

 Bendita Maria Salads

The creative Africans had already an accomplished cuisine when they were brought to Brazil. But since the colony did not have the same ingredients they had in Africa, they had to improvise. One of the most important products the Africans brought to the Brazil was the Azeite de Dende (Dende oil). But their ability to mix and match what was available on the land was their most important contribution to the Brazilian cuisine.

The Africans creativity and Brazil’s lack of resources at the time of the colonization created the first and most famous Brazilian dish: “Feijoada” (sort of beans and pork stew).

Later, Italian, Japanese, German, Polish, Russian, Chinese, Spanish and Arab immigrants added to the toothsome mixture thus making the modern Brazilian cuisine so eclectic.

Brazilians and Cooking

Cooking is part of the Brazilian way of life. It is a cultural trait much like the Portuguese, the French and the Italians have. Brazil has fantastic restaurants. Sao Paulo can be considered one of the world’s gastronomic centers where you can visit the world by going to the city's restaurants. But the average Brazilian eats homemade food on a daily basis.

Brazilians also like what we call "street food". It is that type of "fresh" food that is sold on the beaches, sidewalks, open markets, squares or any open air space. My favorites are the Acaraje, from Bahia and pastel de feira (Sao Paulo).

The Ultimate Recipes
Meat and rice salad
One of the things Brazilians miss most when they are away from home is, definitely, the food. I will never forget the first time I left Brazil. Besides missing my family, the second thing I missed most was neither the sun nor the beaches. It was the food. I could almost smell the everyday rice and beans, with some salad or vegetable and a steak.

Nowadays, I hear my teenage daughter talk about her grandmother’s food dreamily. One day she misses the “Picanha” (beef), the following day she misses the Feijoada and there is no ending to the story.

With that in mind, I asked some Brazilian friends from different states of Brazil about typical Brazilian food I should write about. Then I asked my mom, in my opinion the best cook ever and my cooking consultant, to give me some ideas. Together, we made a list of recipes worthy of trying. Of course, some of them are simply our favorites and nothing else. We hope you enjoy them!

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Brazilian Recipes:

Arroz Branco Baiao de Dois Bobo de Camarao
Caipirinha Canape de Palmito e Kiwi Feijoada
Torta de Banana Tutu a Mineira  

             

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