Time for lunch.
The sun is high and the tables are full
With seafaring men who share
The spoils of their spell:
Dried, stewed bacalhau,
And sardines, salted and brined;
It is with little wonder
How Portugal is Europe’s
Bitter winter hails
The coming of cozido:
A cacophony con carne,
Comprised of chouriço
Being cabbage bedmates
With pork, beef, and rice,
Along with olive oil
And just a dash of red wine.
A mother prepares Francesca sandwiches,
To the delight of her young son and niece:
The cured ham is immaculate!
And blends in well with the linguiça and beef,
While the bread bookends are slowly soaked
By mother’s secret sauce
(Which their taste buds seem to sense
Is based in tomato, beer, and chicken stock).
Using broa cornbread,
An old man slowly starts to scoop
A melted layer of goat cheese
Which anoints the crown of his soup:
Calo verde, coloured green
With potatoes, oil, and collard greens.
And while I dine,
I indulge in one of this country’s
Most beloved exports:
I begin to sip a fine young wine—
Naturally, a port.
A quarter to two:
Time to leave soon,
And yet there is always room for more.
I fill my stomach with
Nun’s bellies and angel’s chests,
In a land of milk and bacon from heaven.
Among these sweets,
A common thread of eggs does run,
As well as pinches of vanilla
And sweet cinnamon.
The banquet lasts but three hours,
And yet it says so much about this place;
If you really want to explore Portugal,
Look no further than your plate.