1. There must be bread on the table at all times.
You probably won’t notice if someone doesn’t have a knife or a fork beside them, but you will DEFINITELY notice if the bread basket isn’t in its usual place.
2. You will never ask for — or offer — a salad dressing to anyone, at any time.
A salad is always served with salt, olive oil and wine vinegar. That’s it, it would be unnatural to offer something different.
3. Eating alone is strange.
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Especially if there is someone else in the house. It’s over lunch and dinner that people talk things through, discuss the recent news, share the highlights of the day and get some ideas for new dishes. And if there is no one is the house, why not share lunch via Skype?
4. You know that olive oil and wine vinegar are the best friends of boiled potatoes and vegetables.
When you decide to boil potatoes, broccoli, runner beans, eggs and fish, you instinctively move the olive oil and wine vinegar bottles to the table so your guests can add as much as they like.
5. But if you’re cooking cowpeas or chickpeas, with salty cod instead of boiled hake, you need that galheteiro (cruet) on the table.
6. You know cheese comes first.
Goat cheese, sheep cheese, cow cheese, mixed cheese… it all tastes so much better before the main meal.
7. You’re disappointed when you go to an event and don’t see rissóis.
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Rissóis de camarão, rissóis de carne, olives and pastéis de bacalhau — surely that’s what finger food is all about.
8. Pão com chouriço always improves your day.
And if you are nowhere near a place that sells one, you’re not shy about pulling out a plate, filling it with alcohol, placing a chouriço on top and incinerating it a bit. Then putting it in the best piece of bread you can find and letting your taste buds soak in the flavour.
9. You don’t ask why there’s green pepper on the barbecue.
Of course it is beside the fish — sardines, mackerel, grouper, seabass, turbot you name it. No barbequed fishmeal is ever truly complete without a barbequed green pepper added to the mixed or tomato salad. Roast it until it’s completely black and then rip the skin away.
10. It’s totally acceptable to put three starches together.
You would never question seeing a plate with rice, chips and a side of bread. You know they are essentials to top up your prego no prato, or bitoque.
11. Speaking of starch, why not add a fourth?
Especially during the winter. The trick is to cook rice as a side and warm up with a Cozido à Portuguesa or a Feijoada.
12. You don’t think of meat when you think of an enchido.
You have tried a fair share of Portuguese sausages and know they can be made of, literally, anything – blood, flour, beef, pork, poultry, vegetables or even fish.
13. Deep down in your heart, nothing is more sacred than lunch.
You were taught that you are what you eat, and the last thing you want to be is a sandwich — unless it’s a francesinha.
14. You’re unable to cook for just one or two people.
Somehow the portions just seem to have a life of their own and multiply in the saucepan, but nothing ever goes to waste.
15. You twitch your nose when someone ruins their food with ketchup.
Why would you ruin a perfectly grilled and juicy sirloin steak — or any other dish — with those supermarket sauces that all taste the same?
16. You think about food several times a day and you never feel guilty about it.
You spend your time during work breaks nipping to the coffee shop, or eating an apple while you decide what you want your next meal to be — what better motivation to get through the end of the day?
17. A meal cannot end without coffee.
And if your coffee machine is not working, the French press is broken and your brother took your Italian coffee maker, you will go to the coffee shop to declare your meal officially finished.