By D. E. Finley
Having done my share of traveling, I have found that in some destinations, I have to be careful that I’m not getting something or someone on my plate that I didn’t bargain for. When it comes to eating in Brazil, I feel fortunate that, due to their delicious and appetizing cuisine, I won’t have to experience any unnecessary surprises. Near the city of São Paulo, where we live, it’s rare to even see a peppershaker on a table at a restaurant. My only dining danger is mistaking the toothpick dispenser for the peppershaker, and adding some extra fiber.

So, not knowing the Brazilian language or culture well, I don’t have to worry about any culinary misadventures, like ordering forest fire spicy, parts of animals usually reserved for biology labs, or experiencing textures, smells, and edibles created by Mother Nature for kids toys like space mucus, brain mold, and owl puke. And, I never have to worry that the types of insects and wildlife in and around our home will be presented under a cream sauce with a parsley garnish.

There is one popular dish in Brazil called feijoada that is full of surprises. But, at restaurant buffets where my husband, Bob, and I have seen feijoada, it includes a warning label, Along with black beans, this stew contains animal parts that may be recognizable.” – or, at least something to that effect, from what I’ve been able to translate. A ladle of traditional feijoada could include pig’s ears, pig’s tails, and pig’s feet. The feijoada may also come with pig tongues and snouts – in case you’re wondering where the yelping and snorting sounds are coming from. Yep, you guessed it. That’s why most places leave it out.

Restaurants also offer a pet lover’s feijoada recipe. This is for more sentimental types like me, who: still chuckle at Porky Pig reruns, rooted for Wilbur from Charlotte’s Web, thought Arnold the pig was the only reason to watch Green Acres, thinks Miss Piggy is a catch (versus as obnoxious as George on Seinfeld) and can do better than Kermit, slept with Pigglet, and have visited a hot dog manufacturing plant. Although, the pet lover’s feijoada may have Porky’s cousin or great nephew in it, I never need to see the gruesome details as body parts. It’s kind of like waiting to see Aunt Betty after she is dolled up at the funeral home versus in the morgue with a toe tag after her six-car pile up. So, psychologically, for all we know, that sausage or meat chunk could be pork-flavored soy or bacon-flavored tofu. So, enjoy!

There is also a special, separate, non-official section of the restaurant reserved for the extra sensitive, pet lover types, like myself. (My husband and I were the only ones sitting in the section at the time, due to my insistence.) This way, while enjoying the pet lover’s Feijoada recipe, I don’t have to witness my Neanderthal cousins, slicing a four footed friend’s ear, sucking on a foot, or nibbling on a tail (,even if it is only a distant relative of my pig celebrity idols, like Arnold). Personally, I don’t need to witness the details of their grisly consumption, and then have to explain this should I encounter one of my swine megastars at a book signing, theme park, or toy store opening. How would I be able to answer honestly that, yes, I live in Brazil and yes, I have seen fellow bipeds (as pigs like to refer to us) eating the other feijoada.

Feijoada is such a tasty and popular dish. It’s a shame for it not to be enjoyed freely by all, no matter which kind of feijoada one chooses to eat. After all, how can we, as bipeds, ever expect the world to live in perfect harmony, unless we can accept people’s differences, like their feijoada preferences? To be on the safe and tactful side, however, I know how to handle the feijoada discussion if it arises with my four footed, snout sporting friends, and even more importantly with my two footed, evangelical, hemp footwear sporting, vegan friends. I change the subject and talk about caipirinhas (Brazilian cocktail).

Copyright D. E. Finley 2005.

To read previous articles by D. E. Finley click below:

Brazil Life: Winter in Brazil

Brazil Life: Home Safe Home
Brazil Life: Hose Shopping
Brazil Life: In-Laws In Town
Brazil Life: Got Floss
Brazil Life: Hiring a Maid
Brazil Life: Brazilians are so Nice
Brazil Life: Gringa Goes Shopping at Carrefour
Brazil Life: Amazon Encounter Lodge Vacation
Brazil Life: Keeping Track of My Purse

D.E. Finley is a writer and graphic artist. You can visit her website at
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