Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Culinary Wonderland


Day 413

“You can eat the whole thing; just don’t look at its eyes.” This comes from the server who sets the plate of grilled squid down in front of Chris. Chris nodded as he popped the first one in his mouth. Man, am I glad I ordered a pizza…

Portugal is full of surprises when it comes to gastronomy. It just goes to show that this little country has had a BIG impact throughout the world. For instance, did you know that the Japanese technique of deep frying food (called tempura) was actually introduced by Portuguese traders and missionaries? Wouldn’t you just assume that the curry-based favorite of vindaloo comes from India? Sort of; the hybrid of wine (vinho) and garlic (alho) sauce was developed by the Christian community in Portuguese Goa. At least now I know why we’ve seen so many Indian food restaurants.
It all sounds crazy until you think about the history of exploration that originated from this country. Vasco da Gama, the great explorer, opened the trade route to India. This paved the path for Portugal to become the wealthiest country in Europe in the late 1400s. By way of the Treaty of Tordesillas the country had divided the world in two with Spain. Portugal’s empire would influence and dominate the Orient. Can you say five spice powder? The prosperity of flavor was realized on the first expedition of de Gama when he brought back pepper. It was a small amount but enough to pay for three times the cost of the trip. Amazingly, the spice trade was something that was just as lucrative as the extraction of gold from Africa. In the financial times of today I think you could do better with precious metals rather than table condiments. Isn’t history cool?
Oh, I forgot to mention that marmalade is also a Portuguese original. We had some with breakfast this morning – it was even a little spicy…

Here’s to the world of food,
LK

4 comments:

Michele said...

You should try the grilled sardines. You can eat the entire fish. Are you going to Lisbon?

peter said...

The daylight hours are waning this time of year so we are using lights to ride after work. Do you guys carry lights to bike in the dark?
-Fralick

CK and LK said...

Pro Elite Pete! How are you man? Daylight is precious - yes. We only carry tail lights and always plan to ride during the day.

CK and LK said...

Michele - Chris has tried the sardines and loved them. We will be in Lisbon by Sunday. We have a few days there - what do you recommend?