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Throwback Thursday: An Ode to Brazil's National Dish

Kaitlin Hill

Kaitlin Hill

July 03, 2014



As hundreds of thousands of soccer devotees flock to Brazil for the World Cup, the global spotlight has never been brighter on the country’s culture and traditions. However, long before FIFA, former JBF director of publications (and current executive vice president) Mitchell Davis, was charmed by Brazil and its national dish, feijoada. For his contribution to the “Galloping Gourmets: Culinary Postcards from Abroad” feature in the, Summer 1996 issue of Beard House magazine, he offered his culinary insight on the savory stew:

“Brazil: A National Treasure” 
By Mitchell Davis

Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world, so it’s no wonder each of its states has a distinct cuisine—from the succulent braised dishes of Minas Gerias to the palm-nut-oil-and-coconut-rich foods of Bahia. One dish, however, crosses state lines. On almost every Saturday afternoon in almost every inch of the country’s 3.3 million square miles, Brazilians participate in a meal called feijoada. Officially recognized as Brazil’s national dish, feijoada is a composed meal of braised meats, charcuterie, starches, vegetables, and fruit that is more like a ceremony than a stew. Perhaps no place serves it with as much pomp as the elegant Caesar Park Hotel in Rio de Janeiro, where the feijoada buffet occupies two full rooms. Gurgling clay pots of beef short ribs, shoulders, pigs’ trotters, knuckles, chicken, tripe, and other meats are set alongside trays of spicy sausages, smoked tongue, and other cured items. Three kinds of beans, two kinds of manioc, seasoned rice, sautéed collard greens, steamed kale, assorted fresh and pickled hot peppers, fresh hearts of palm, and sweet orange slices round out the indulgent experience. One trip to the feijoada room is hardly enough to sample all of the components. It’s truly a meal that could support an entire country.