Thursday, December 6, 2012


When you live in a Muslim country or any country where the pig is not a typical source of food, the thought of sinking your teeth into "the other white meat" becomes a bizarre obsession. You begin to find yourself asking people you barely know who are heading to Budapest on holiday to smuggle back some sausage between the folds of clothes in their suitcase— and anyone who brings a package of bacon in from the outside suddenly becomes everyone's best friend. Meat in general, does not move me the way an avocado or ripe persimmon does, and I rarely eat it— but when something is inaccessible or ridiculously out of your price range (a measly little packet of bacon is around 20 lira at a major supermarket— and alternatively that same 20 lira can get you kilos of beautiful veggies), you start to develop a craving. It's the old forbidden fruit cliché; so when you're in a country which celebrates the pig and its meat, you can yourself, get a little piggish.

I don't think the photos do justice to the enormity of the platter of pork— it was a serious mound. A Tasca do Careca, which translates to "The Inn of the Bald-headed Man," is a little local joint in Vila do Bispo in the Algarve. You'll dine on simple, tasty Portuguese food, surrounded by some odd décor choices (colourful football-related stuff, for some reason combined with wooden and porcelain phalluses). It's the kind of place where you feel you'd better finish your meal or hang your head in shame— no wimps allowed.

It took us two hours to conquer the mound of pork— and from time to time, a bald-headed man who may well be the namesake of the little restaurant, popped out to check the progress of his diners. Unlike the table of Dutch tourists next to us, we were determined to finish every scrap on the platter, and as you can see from the above picture, we succeeded. Then, there was mention of a certain orange cake.

It took a lot of determined coaxing from Pedro for me to believe that this cake was necessary, as the waistband of my pants began to dig into my belly— but we were in Portugal, and there was this orange cake that I simply must try...

It was gorgeous, and went well with the post-gluttony coffee and local firewater, medronho, which I am told is 'unlady-like' to imbibe. We left with a little swagger and a slow stride, our stomachs tipping off our balance— but at least our heads were held high!


Sue Pownall said...

What a fabulous meal story. Having met you I can't believe the two of you could eat all that.

szaza said...

Haha— thank you, Sue!
Yes, we do love our food.

Joy said...

I know what you mean about being piggish! I think we ate pork nearly every day in the US in October. I was nearly sick of it at the end, but it was sooo good! :-)

BTW, saw your mom's art exhibit today! Amazing!

Nuno Silva said...

I do also feel the lack of pork, I went to Portugal 2 weeks ago and ate lots and lots of it. Very nice article indeed

szaza said...

Thank you, Nuno.
Once something isn't available, it becomes so special.