Chef da Casa

clamsIf I were the jealous type, or a cynic, the citizen’s behavior would have me going a bit mad. More and more he has been stalking markets chatting up women he doesn’t know. He started with old women, now he tells me that speaking with younger women seems to work better. He spends a suspicious amount of time mooning over the produce (and the senhoras) at the Frutaria Tavares, even brought them chocolates for Christmas. What!?!

Living in Portugal up to my ears in fabulous ancient historical buildings, castles, monasteries, ancient ruins and the like, some people would indulge themselves in learning what has been going on around here the past few centuries. No, not these ex-pats, we are really into eating.

Eating really isn’t the right word. Cuisine? Gastronomy? Cookery? Most of the adventure is outside of the kitchen. The citizen’s hunter and gatherer bit of genetic code has been switched on with a vengeance. No, he doesn’t hunt, not like a Ted Nugent or anyone in the Bush posse. Being a vegetarian with fish on the side he won’t eat any meat, be it red, white or the result of being stuffed down the neck of a goose.

Daily, the chef da casa gathers his backpack with the eco-friendly bags and searches out what is fresh and delighting for our palates, plus healthy for our bodies and our budget.

While skulking about fish counters gazing at unknown species he has begun to ask the women buying them how do they cook them and are they good? He spotted another unknown fish that looked interesting. pescada prateadaA young professional type woman was shopping the counter. She was very nice and gave him great instructions, the citizen speaking Portuguese, the senhora speaking English. Back at the casa he proudly showed me the sack full of little pescada prateada, each about five to six inches long with their tiny little heads on and mouths open. Per instructed he marinated them in lemon juice and garlic for two or three hours and then floured and fried them in olive oil. Amazing! We could have eaten these for hours.

This is working out so well, I am encouraging citizen chef to falar with as many women at as many fish counters or any place with food, as he can. Not a jealous bone on my plate!

Constance left the U.S. not for spiritual enlightment (Eat, Love, Pray), or to run away from anything, but to challenge herself in a new culture, living a simple life. Portugal seemed to be the best fit, and so far it is just the right size. Read lots more at her blog Con-Toons.

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