Sexta-feira, 19 de Fevereiro de 2010

Alheiras?! Quem diria?

Estou viciado neste blog:

Escrito por um Americano que viveu em Lisboa durante um ano.


A few days later, as our dear Portuguese friend Helena guides us through the labyrinth of the vast Continente mall complex, I find in the meat section of the supermarket a corner devoted to alheiras—sausages without pork. They were invented by Portuguese Jews in the 15th century who were among the nearly 10 percent of the population who'd been forced to convert to Christianity or leave. If you stayed and still secretly held to your beliefs, not eating sausages was a dead giveaway, "dead" being the active word here, since the Inquisition was a powerful force. So Jews living a clandestine religious life came up with stealth sausages filled with various spices, chicken meat, lamb, game meat, whatever was needed to mimic the taste of pork.

Alheiras in a grocery, who'da thunk it? Yet here at least six varieties shine beneath the counter lights, so I immediately pick up a pack of Alheiras Caça. Alma can finally eat Portuguese pork-free sausage, a culinary item so oxymoronic that it'll surely add zip to the taste. And I can substitute alheiras for the pork in some of my favorite Portuguese meals, and cook squid stuffed with alheiras, or a cataplana with clams, potatoes, and alheiras ... ah, the possibilities.

The following evening I struggle with the meal I'm preparing, because the alheiras are falling apart in a sizzling mix of garlic, onions, tomato, zucchini, and potatoes. The hearty chunks I'd envisioned have vanished, and I give one fragile lump a taste—it's pungent, vinegary. Alheiras Caça—what does caça mean, anyway? I turn down the heat, making a silent note to hurry back, because I can get lost in a Portuguese dictionary. Simply flipping through a few pages, I find that Estou de maré alta means to be in a good mood. Maré alta means high tide, which is an apt metaphor for a country whose past greatness is based on maritime exploits. I briefly run through a fantasy of saying this and having a Portuguese acquaintance stare and then laugh at me. Here's a better phrase: Claro com água, a nice way to say crystal clear, though I can't imagine much of anything in the language being crystal clear to me, at least not for a while. Then I find this intriguing trio of words: escrever means to write, escrevinhar means to scribble, and an escrevinhador is a hack writer.

I finally make it to caça—game meat. So maybe that's why the sausage (or what used to look like sausage—I'm back in the kitchen now and staring at a meatlike mush clinging to everything else in the pan) tastes, er, gamy. But is that all there is in the sausage? I rummage around in the garbage bag, find a list-of-ingredients tag, and discover that carne do porco is the first listed ingredient. What's this? Inquisition-brand alheiras? What a mean thing to do! Or it may not be malicious, merely clueless.


rematado por playmaker 10 às 14:48
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