Brazilians have a way of making their food look undeniably brazilian. Whether it’s adding way to much sugar to coffee or putting meat in literally everything, in spite of the fact that it may be a vegetarian dish.
This dish may look as familiar to you as it does foreign, but maybe the triangle slices and crust gave it away! This is Brazilian pizza in its most simple form, meaning Brazilian pizza is not at all simple! Brazilians have an undeniable love for meat, so when they decided to start making pizza, no exceptions were made. Whether it’s piled high with chicken or calabreza (Brazilian Pepperoni), or covered in Catipury (the white sauce in the picture), Brazilian pizza is exotic. Well, to those not from Brazil at least. Pizza rodizio (all you can eat Brazilian pizza) is as Brazilian as Neymar and Christ the Redentor, and for this, I have developed an appreciation for pizza rodizio unscathed by any slice from outside Brazil’s massive border.
Brazilian lasagna isn’t pretty, it isn’t organized, and it definitely is not healthy for the body, but it’s this mess mixed with the huge mass that makes this dish. It was a rare occasion to see lasagna on the dinner table, but the nights that I found myself shoveling this stuff down by the forkful that I remember most. Maybe it’s because the change of pace from the usual coffee and cake for dinner, or maybe it’s my host mother that made these meals feel so special. I remember getting home from my apprenticeship at the local elementary school to find my host mother, Cida, preparing a lasagna, hours before we would even sit down to eat it. No one thanked my mom for waking up at 4AM to start work at our family’s bakery and working until 9PM, but the first time I thanked her for the hours and hard work she put into making one lasagna, her face lit up unlike I had seen previously. So maybe it’s the mess or the massive amount of space that my host mother’s lasagna takes up that makes it so great, but the memories attatched, my host family sitting at the table, emitting a mutual and blissful energy, and the reminder of my host mother and her beautiful smile every time I hear the word “lasagna” that makes this food extraordinarily special to me.