Christmas in Portugal takes some getting used to! Just about everybody here in the north of Portugal will be feasting on cod, boiled potatoes, cabbage – all swimming in a sauce made with some skill by each person on their own plate. The sauce comes first. Take a liberal helping of olive oil, mix in salt, pepper, vinegar,mash in a hard boiled egg and add chopped garlic to taste -use your fork to mix it all up. The cod has been purchased some days before. It’s dried and salted and so comes as a solid board of fish. Soaking over a couple of days soon resolves the problem of what to do with it – it looks like a fish now. I think it’s all delicious but Jessica isn’t so sure and so we stick with the Turkey. We stick with the Turkey on Christmas day whilst our Portuguese friends will have been celebrating the evening before. So, despite all our cultural adaptations some family customs remain. Actually the Christmas Eve celebration works incredibly well for us. Our kids, married and with families of their own, spend the Portuguese Christmas with their Portuguese in-laws then all come to us on the day. Brilliant.
The Fonte will be eating together this week – Cod and boiled potatoes for around 200 people – a fantastic night is in store. The white “vinho verde” accompanies the whole thing – well worth looking out for in England and served well chilled.
What’s one of the most beautiful things about Portuguese culture? – the art of eating and drinking together. The disciples must have learned a lot from Jesus as they relaxed with him over meals. He knew the simple things in life are often the most rewarding.
Mike and Jessica