This last month has been crazy. I’ve been traveling, taking care of a sick hedgie, interning at MormonHub, and working. I decided to take a month off of my regular reading, get in those few books that I don’t have time for, and just try to relax.
Fast forward a month and I’m still busy, but my Lizzy hedgie is getting better, and I’ve had time to take reading at a more leisurely pace. So next month I’ll be jumping back into my reading projects. That being said, here’s my Brazil wrap-up for last month.
Brazilian food might be one of my favorites. But I’ve been thinking that about most countries, so I guess I just enjoy eating. It’s fun. If you’ve ever been to Tucanos Brazilian Grill, Braza Grill, or Rodizio Grill (listed here from my most to least favorite—yes, I’ve been to all of them. Multiple times) then you know that Brazilian barbecue is amazing, as is big skewers of grilled meat. As are cheesy rolls. There isn’t much not to like, partially due to all the European, Asian, and traditional influences in the food.
Eating In. I’ll admit that I looked for the easiest recipe when cooking Brazilian this month. I found more than that: an easy recipe that’s delicious and boasts an Asian influence. Brazilian shrimp stew (moqueca de camaroes) is reminiscent of a Thai soup because of the coconut milk, dash of spiciness, and marriage between cilantro and lime.
Eating Out. I wanted to go somewhere different (mostly because the big three previously mentioned are buffets and all-you-can-eat, and I really didn’t want to stuff myself to insensibility). Hence: Tushar Brazilian Express. It was a good choice. They had the dumplings and cheesy rolls of Tucanos fame, but as side orders, so you could still have the full experience. I opted for a steak skewer, naturally, a skewer of grilled cheese—true story—and coxinha, a sort of dumpling filled with shredded chicken before being deep-fried. But now I have one more Brazilian place to add to my wish list. Sweet Spot is supposed to be more about the Brazilian pastries, but I have to try it.
What Brazil Has Taught Me:
I learned a lot about Brazil, and South America, through my Brazilian experience:
- Like the United States, Brazil and Brazilian food is a product of influences from around the world. Portuguese settlers, followed by the Spanish, Germans, and Dutch, have all had a mark on the country.
- The Brazilian Natives got a raw deal. The influx of European and all those new disease decimated the native populations. This was a catastrophic event. Whole civilizations seemingly disappeared overnight. Those who weren’t killed this way were given the dubious pleasure of being enslaved.
- Civilizations, many of which were advanced, thrived in the Amazon Rain Forest. Although many of these disappeared, there are dozens, possibly hundreds, of tribes that live in the jungle completely hidden from civilization (according to estimates).
- The Amazon Rain Forest has been an object of mystery for hundreds of years. At one point people thought it hid El Dorado, the city of gold, and more recently people suspected that it might hold the City of Z. What we do know is that there is evidence of large civilizations that once called it home.
- This fascination with the Amazon has resulted in many explorations into the territory and many deaths.
- For a while, the rubber tree, native to the Amazon, caused the creation of boom towns in Brazil. Rubber from the rain forest was used in all sorts of manufacturing such as car tires, but upon seeds being exported and grown elsewhere, the boom towns collapsed and now are ghost cities.
- Like many South and Central American countries, Brazil government was controlled for a long time by the military. Coups and counter-coups kept it from being a true democracy until the mid to late 1900s.
- During the 1900s, a piece of the rain forest the size of France was denuded of trees. Only in recent years has the government started to protect this ecosystem and encourage eco-tourism for much-needed economy.
- Although both Jules Verne and President Roosevelt wrote about Brazil in some context, that country has a whole slew of its own much-beloved authors (like Paulo Coelho and The Alchemist) that give it a unique and beautiful literary history.
I’ve always wanted to hike through the Amazon Rain Forest, ever since I was a child. Rather than giving me a dose of reality (in the form of The Lost City of Z and A Short History of Brazil), my experiences this month have only made me want to visit it even more.
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