Edibles…I think…

Coming into Brazil, I knew that the standard food would be beans, rice, beef and coffee. I was looking forward to the beef and coffee. Especially the coffee.

Mmm. Brazilian coffee.

What Brazilians call “coffee,” Americans would call espresso (with enough sugar to qualify it as candy). They drink it quite a bit throughout the day: Morning, lunch, afternoon, dinner… anytime, really.

Once I got into the country I learned that cheese is also a staple. Brazilians will eat cheese at every meal (and desert) and will eat it with bread or in bread or with jam and fruit.

Cheese with fig and two kinds of fig jam for lunch’s dessert.

I knew that there would be foods in Brazil that I would classify between strange and gross, but I wasn’t sure what those foods would be. It didn’t take long to find them.

I’ll give you a hint on what this is: it comes from a cow and yes, those are vertebra.

On the way to Foz do IguaƧu (Iguassu Falls), we stopped at a road side churrasco restaurant. I had never heard of a place like this before. Uncle Larry said that if you can find on in America, it’s somewhere close to $50 dollars for a meal. We paid $8.50 (American) for this one.

“Would you like some more of our best cut of meat, sir?”

For those of you who are like me and have never heard of this before, in a churrasco, you pay a set price to eat all you want. The side dishes are set out buffet style. The meat, which is cooked on spits is brought to you by a number of waiters that go from table to table with every cut of meat you can imagine (and some you never would have thought of).

Cooking the meat in a churrasco kitchen.

I was asking our Brazilian family about the kind of meat they were bringing out and before I knew it, I was being peer pressured into eating a chicken’s heart.

Yes, a chicken heart.

I ate it.

It didn’t taste bad–kind of smokey. But It’s a heart. Knowing that kept it from being enjoyable. I can swear I felt the heart chambers collapse between my teeth.

I also got to try rabbit (wrapped in cheese that was delicious), pheasant, filet mignon, and wild boar. All for about as much money as it costs to buy a McDonald’s burger around here. I like that exotic is cheaper than American fast food. It keeps things interesting.

Even Japanese food from the mall comes with quail eggs.

There are a few things that I don’t plan on having again. Chicken’s hearts, pig’s feet (seriously, it was just bone and something like a toe), and fried pig’s skin are on that list. But I’m happy to try new things at least once. I certainly don’t miss McDonalds.

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