Food Culture and Tradition

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Portuguese Meals and Customs


Few people feel more deeply about their native land, their childhood, or their food and drink than the Portuguese. They bring to their meals the same intensity as they bring to every other aspect of their lives. There is no philosophizing about food or drink as there is with the French, nor is there a plethora of cookbooks in Portugal. Portuguese prepare their food with simple dign4 making the most of nature’s rich gifts and in the same humble way they eat quietly and appreciatively Food is important and meals are generous hut food is never glorified or categorized.

Dinners and suppers frequently run to five- or six-course menus and these include soup, fish, meat and vegetables with rice and potatoes, cheese, fruits, and a choice of sweet desserts of which at least two must he taken in order not to cause offense. Meals are usually leisurely with dinner from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. and the evening supper sometime between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. hut not as late as the Spanish have theirs. The Portuguese enjoy eating tneals with their children. who are not only included in the adult conversation, they also join their parents in drinking wine as freely as water.

Though dinner and supper are often filling meals, the typical Portuguese breakfast is simple and light, usually consisting of a hot beverage like tea or coffee and a variety of fresh breads and rolls to be eaten with honey, jams and butter.

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