Chestnuts [not] roasting on an open fire

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O titulo e de uma cancao que se comeca a ouvir nesta epoca. As castanhas, essas aparecem um pouco antes e fazem parte dos meus Outonos desde sempre. Como-as de varias maneiras: assadas, cozidas e cruas, desfeitas em pure ou como acompanhamento de carne. Nao sao como o bacalhau, em que ha 1001 maneiras de cozinha-las, mas ha a possibilidade de delicia-las das mais variadas maneiras. Hoje levei para o trabalho um saco com castanhas, cruas. Achei que seria boa ideia levar algumas para ir comendo ao longo do dia (em vez das bolachas com chocolate que abundam neste escritorio). Pu-las numa mesa central e comecei a ver algumas pessoas, a volta das castanhas, com um ar meio estranho. Era facil adivinhar: em Inglaterra nao se comem castanhas cruas e ninguem percebia que raio poderiam fazer com elas. Eu levantei-me e expliquei que se podem comer cruas – enquanto descascava uma – e que sao bem boas. O ar horrorizado deles chocou-me! Pior, disseram-me que nao se podem comer cruas porque sao toxicas! Ora, eu comi-as cruas a vida toda e estou aqui. Alguns dos meus colegas, os de espirito verdadeiramente aventureiro, arriscaram e experimentaram. Embora tenham gostado, nao ficaram convencidos.

E sabido (pelo menos entre nos) que Portugal nao so tem uma gastronomia muito boa, como tambem muito variada. Sinal de um pais pobre que se viu obrigado a inovar e a aproveitar tudo quanto tinha ao seu dispor. Ja diz o ditado, a necessidade aguca o engenho. E estimula a criatividade, acrescento eu. Venham dai umas castanhinhas cruas!

Raw Chestnuts

The title of this post is the title of a song that we start to listen around this time of the year. The chestnuts themselves, appear a bit before and are a part of my Autumns since ever. I like them in many ways: roasted, boiled and raw, as a pure or as a side dish of a meat meal. They’re not like cod that you can cook in 1001 different ways, but there’s the possibility to taste them in several ways. Today I took a bag of raw chestnuts to work. I thought it would be good idea to have it as a snack (instead of the chocolate biscuits that abound in the office). I’ve put them in a table in the middle of the office and started to see some people around the it, with a funny look on their faces. It was easy to guess: in England people don’t eat raw chestnuts and nobody had a clue of what to do with them as they were . I stood up and explained that they may be eaten raw – while I was peeling one – and that they are also very tasty. The horror in their faces shocked me! Worse, they told me that they can not be eaten raw because they are toxic! Well, I ate raw chestnuts my whole life and I’m here. Some of my colleagues, the truly adventurous ones, risked it and tried it. And although they liked, they were not convinced.

It is broadly known (at least among the Portuguese) that Portuguese gastronomy is not only very good but also extremely diverse. That’s a sign of a poor country that was forced to innovate and take advantage of all food and bits that were provided. There’s a Portuguese saying that says something like, necessity is the mother of invention. And encourages creativity, I would add. Bring me the raw chestnuts!

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