Bread is huge in Brazil. This is quite unfortunate for me, as I have been attempting to avoid bread since it came out in The Zone that is was the source of all unhappiness in the world.

The favorite is a small French bread roll. It appears at every breakfast and most lunches, and is quite delicious in its simplicity. Our housekeeper Lu buys it every morning. I asked her to stop buying it, but then soon realized her diet consisted mostly of this bread. So back it came, every morning.

Bread alone probably wouldn’t be as devastating to one’s diet if it wasn’t engaged to that nasty life-long partner, butter. But try and suggest that perhaps a breakfast, or “cafe,” might be just as good without bread, and you’ll receive a cold, empty stare as if you just suggested the world might be a better place with a few more dictatorships.

So, in order to continue my path to becoming Brazilian, I’ve given in to bread. I can only hope Mr. Barry Sears was wrong.

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One Response to Bread

  1. Marina says:

    Totally decided to go through some older posts of yours – hope the comments on these aren’t a nuisance, but these are too good of cultural tidbits to pass up! Since these are from a few years ago you’ve learned a lot since then, but maybe I’ll be able to add insight for future readers 🙂

    Food culture in Brazil has changed quite a lot in the fifteen or so years with external (mostly American) influence. In the households of the elderly, or more rural households, you may still see a traditional food schedule – breakfast will consist of Pao Frances with frios (deli meat, deli cheese, etc) all fresh from the bakery, queijo fresco, butter, maybe jelly, cafe com leite, and a cake (cakes which, in the US, are often considered ‘breads’ – banana bread, etc. The only cake I’ve found similar that’s also called a cake is a pound cake..anyways, just non frosted sweet breads). Lunch will be the traditional rice, beans, beef, and salad, etc. Then, for dinner, it didn’t used to be uncommon for it to be a ‘cafe’, i.e. the same exact thing as breakfast. While you’d have a large and hearty lunch, your breakfast and dinner consisted of a cold sandwich and other parts of a smaller meal.

    Sometimes there’s a proper ‘jantar’, but I know in my grandparent’s house we are still expected to sit down for a traditional cafe! In addition, in more modern houses nowadays cafe may appear in the late afternoon/early evening (6pm?), acting as a snacktime and leaving room for our later dinners.

    While learning German at university in the US my professor told me that traditionally in Germany it used to be the same way, where breakfast and dinner resembled each other and were lighter fares in comparison to hearty lunches. It’s possibly something Brazil inherited from our Portuguese and European roots. However, much like in BR, my professor said dinners in Germany now often closely resembled their western American counterparts.

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