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Portuguese eating habits and the mediterranean diet

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Carla@gmail.com Mota

on 31 October 2015

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Transcript of Portuguese eating habits and the mediterranean diet

Portuguese eating habits and the Mediterranean Diet
José Malhoa, "Embraçar cebolas" (Tying up onions) , 1896
José Malhoa, "Milho ao Sol" (Corn drying under the sun) , 1927
José Malhoa, "A Procissão da Colheita" (The harvest parade), 1927
Silva Porto, "Guardando Rebanhos" (The Herd), 1893
Silva Porto, "A Ceifa" (The Harvest), 1884
Silva Porto, "Colheitas / Ceifeiras" (The Harvesters), 1893
José Malhoa, "Padeiras" (The Bakers), 1898
José Malhoa, "Os Bêbados" (The drunkards), 1907
Four main factors have historically influenced Portuguese healthy eating habits:
The Roman occupation of the Peninsula

with a revolution in living conditions.
were built,
animals were used in daily work
, agriculture was systematized and
new products
were introduced.
The Arabs
settling mainly in what is now Southern Portugal, brought with them numerous
botanical species from the East,
as well as
irrigation techniques
which vastly contributed to a larger food production.
The Portuguese discoveries
also made new products available in the Peninsula, among them
turkeys, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, cocoa, coffee, tea and a variety of spices and tropical fruits.
The Iberians
- fishing and agriculture, they grew
wheat and barley,
knew how to make
wine and beer
, but based a good part of their sustenance on
game, shellfish, goat meat and honey
Bread - the basic foodstuff consumed by the Portuguese, the only one eaten daily. Bread acquired an almost mythical value, as it equals sustenance and the source of life.
Bread may be made of corn or rye in rural areas of Northern Portugal. Cornbread is also eaten in the Azores, but it shows a finer texture than the Northern broa.
Most bread in Portugal is made of wheat.
Wheat was introduced by the Romans in the Peninsula and it has its Portuguese or Spanish name, trigo, from the Latin
, and soon wheat bread was widely accepted.
is also the main ingredient of
(bread mush)
Southern dish of Arabic origin.
In its primitive form it consisted only of
stale bread boiled with olive oil and garlic, a common food of peasants in Alentejo.
There is also
" açorda de bacalhau"
which means it only takes cod being added to the basic bread mush.
A country's diet depends on natural resources and Portugal is a country with a
very long shore and a mediterranean climate,
which makes our eating habits naturally matching with the so called
Mediterranean Diet.
One of the best known soups in Portuguese cuisine is
caldo verde
, which has originated in the province of Minho. It is made with
finely shredded collard greens, pureed potatoes, olive oil and a few slices of chouriço or pork sausage.
It should be eaten together with
or corn bread.
But in spite of all the influence of fast food in our eating habits we can say that giant chains like Mac Donald's had to make
an effort to adapt to Portuguese love for soup...
wheat bread
1 Kg
fresh coriander
150 gr
olive oil
2 dl
fresh garlic
1 clove
7,5 d l

Alentejo bread mush (
Açorda alentejana)
herbs (coriander)
olive oil
Vegetables are also very important in Portuguese eating habits , especially used in soups.

Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro
, an artist in a family of painters, started designing these pieces in a factory with his name reproducing various food items.

Not only the factory is still in a very good shape as its town, Caldas da Rainha, has now a remarkable school of art and design connected with the creative industrial pottery.

Even in artistic Portuguese pottery one can see the importance of vegetables
Cabbage shaped dishes
are a kind of pottery from the beginning of the 20th century reminding a popular use of real fresh leaves to serve food like grilled sardines or cheese.
Season fruits are often consumed in Portugal and they can be purchased in local markets.
They are packed with important
and also part of a Mediterranean diet.
In Autumn and Winter the most consumed fruit items are for example
apples, pears, chestnuts, bananas, oranges, pomegranates
In Summer the most consumed fruit items are for example
melon, watermelon, peaches, grapes, strawberries and figs
Columbano Bordalo Pinheiro ,Frutos de outono (Autumn Fruits) , 1907
Some of the species that abound in Portuguese waters are
, carapau (also known as chicharro in the Azores), dourada or
golden bream,
robalo or
sea bass
, peixe-espada or

, tamboril or
Fish stews are familiar to Southern European cuisines, be they called bouillabaisse, scioppino, zarzuela de pescado, etc.
The Portuguese version is the
and it is very popular especially in seaside locations.

The need to bring fish to remote areas led to several forms of processing. A special case is
bacalhau, or cod
One of the most popular fish in Portugal, it is, paradoxically, a native of foreign waters.
Bacalhau, as all of us know, is always eaten in its salted, dried form in Portugal.
Dairy products
In Portugal these kind of products are highly consumed in cheese and yoghurts.
(dried or fresh) is an important source of calcium, as well as animal protein and
it can be eaten instead of fish or meat
as a main meal with a soup, bread and sometimes with honey.

The Portuguese mediterranean diet is not only based in soups, but also in
various stews
in which we use vegetables
(cabbages, onion, garlic, pumpkin, carrots, tomatoes...)
and leguminous (
peas, beans, chickpeas
...) usually cooked with small portions of meat.

All the simplicity of the typical Portuguese diet also emphasises the idea of enjoying a meal and socializing with friends and family.
A simple boiled codfish or octopus with vegetables combines with some sophistication on Christmas Eve.
r Portuguese meat and bean stew
On the table we can see
, drunk without any moderation, roasted
to celebrate St Martin's day.
A mediterranean diet is also a synonym of healthy eating habits
However not everything is perfect. Nowadays the influence of American culture and its fast food has changed some habits and the consumption of chips, hamburguers or hot dogs has increased.
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