With the rice and beans, the traditional Brazilian diet also included vegetables – – all kinds, including kohlbi, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and greens. Tofu is also a regular part of the Brazilian diet. “We are now in the fifth generation of Japanese immigrants and in Brazil, tofu is very much widely accepted”, says Sandra. There is also wheat (made into bread and pasta), the world-famous Brazilian nuts and cashews, and corn. “We have all kinds of cakes and puddings made from milho (corn). We even have a corn festival called Pamonha Festival, where all kinds of delicacies from corn are served. Oh, I remember the delicious corn puddings my auntie makes! They’re so nice and smell so good. Then along the highways in Brazil, there are eating-places called Casa de Pamonha – -huge restaurants serving sandwiches, ice creams and different corn delicacies. Travelers can drop by those Casas, take a break and enjoy a bite of these sweet, nutritious corn treats!” Sandra says.
Due to its wide, climatic range, Brazil produces almost every kind of fruit – -from tropical nuts and avocados in the north, to an enormous variety of citrus fruits, papayas, bananas and grapes in the south. Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of oranges, made into concentrated orange juice. Having come from a country with such bountiful, naturally healthy food, Sandra advises everyone, ” Learn what the body needs. Of course each person, culture and upbringing differs, but if you must eat, eat that which is healthy. Avoid meat and meat fat. Eat plenty of grains, vegetables, beans and fruits. For me, the traditional Brazilian food is a perfect mixture. If you have rice and beans, that’s already a perfect mixture. And if you supplement that with vegetables, greens, it’s even better!”
Due to its wide, climatic range, Brazil produces almost every kind of fruit…
There are three basic racial groups in Brazil: the Indians (who were the original inhabitants) the Europeans (mainly Portuguese) and the Africans (mostly from the sub-Saharan West Coast, from what is now known as Nigeria and Benin). This racial mixing, by the end of the 19th century had also included Italians, Lebanese and Japanese. Seventy percent of Brazilians are Roman Catholics.
Brazil gave the world the greatest soccer player of all time- – Pele (Edson Arantes do Nascimento), who during his 18-year career in Brazil scored more than 1,200 goals! Brazil also excels in both classical and popular music. Famous Brazilian classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos revolutionized Brazilian folkloric melodies and made them into symphonic compositions. Many traditional musical instruments are now incorporated into classical orchestras. Similarly, two of the world’s famous popular beat- – the Bossa Nova (sentimental, haunting melodies, first popularized internationally in the song ‘The Girl from Ipanema’) and the Samba (driving, thrilling African rhythms) originate in Brazil. Brazil is also known for carnivals such as the Ranchos, celebrated in Rio de Janeiro.
Our friend Sandra had been away from Brazil for about ten years now. She misses her country very much. She is extremely proud of Brazil- -there is an unmistakable tone of excitement when she speaks about the food, the land, and the people. Speaking from her desk at her plush 31st floor real estate office, she says, “Wherever I may be now, I will always remain the simple Sertaneja (country maiden) at heart, grazing in the Pampas (wide plains). I have left Brazil with a lot of dreams…. Some dreams were fulfilled, some were not…” As the Brazilian poet Thiago de Mello writes:
“Years are like birds;
They just fly by!
Some fly far away
Some close to our dreams
“…. But Brazil will always remain as”, Sandra says, “The land of my dreams”.