Questões Estrangeiras

chicken-hearted

Midnight on a frigid Tuesday, sitting at Garota da Gávea, nursing a chopp and slowly expanding my colloquial Portuguese/Northeastern slang repertoire. (Newest acquisition – when you’re not up for doing something, you’re sem saco. And, yes, that pretty much means what you think it means. Also, apparently just yelling “égua!” at people is a thing?) It’s a bone-chilling night by carioca standards, and someone discovers that our breath is even starting to fog up. General delight and novelty.

Flora Thomson-DeVeaux
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É sua primeira vez no blog? Leia antes o post “Uma Introdução” (em português).*

Midnight on a frigid Tuesday, sitting at Garota da Gávea, nursing a chopp and slowly expanding my colloquial Portuguese/Northeastern slang repertoire.  (Newest acquisition – when you’re not up for doing something, you’re sem saco.  And, yes, that pretty much means what you think it means.  Also, apparently just yelling “égua!” at people is a thing?)  It’s a bone-chilling night by carioca standards, and someone discovers that our breath is even starting to fog up.  General delight and novelty.

One of my friends suddenly gets an alarmingly excited expression on his face.  ”Have you ever had coração de galinha?”  Coração de galinha is chicken hearts.  No, I admit, although I’m sure my expression had already revealed that fact.  They gleefully scan the menu.  ”How many do you get per plate?”  ”30.”  ”Wow, that means they had to kill 30 chickens just for our meal.”  They’re enjoying watching me squirm.

“Okay, it looks reasonable here,” they announce.  ”You in?”



Keep in mind, earlier that day I and the other international students had to sit through a 3 1/2-hour-long “orientation” which consisted of us being told repeatedly not to take the bus at night and not to be spoiled brats, essentially.  This also included a portion in which every single person in the room had to stand up and introduce himself or herself.  Okay, par for the course with orientations.  Except this was an orientation for all the international students entering PUC, which is about 350 people. The fun introductions took an hour on their own.  Digression/complaint over.  One of the points they kept hammering home in the interminable Powerpoint was to be open to new experiences!  Which nobody had ever told me before heading to Latin America, but, whatever.  So it was with colorful bullet points about having an open mind floating before my eyes that I acquiesced and we ordered the chicken hearts.

When the chicken hearts come, nestled on a platter with farofa and some greens, they’re unmistakably hearts – some of them even have a cute little ventricle sticking out.

I take the plunge and pop one in my mouth.  My first reaction, as soon as I can talk again, is How do you say chewy in Portuguese?  “You didn’t like it?”

Ok, so they were definitely, unequivocally chicken hearts.  No getting around it.  Chewy heart muscle and all.  And every time I speared one with my fork I was reminded of high school biology dissections, along with the teacher’s admonitions to never eat your lunch on the lab tables.  But they were tasty!  Savory little chicken nuggets, basically, once you get past the fact that the ventricle crunches a little bit.

Apparently the next thing they want me to try is bolo de rolo, a Northeastern sweet bread.  These are the kinds of cultural experiences I can get behind.

Flora Thomson-DeVeaux

É escritora, tradutora, brasilianista e diretora de pesquisa na Rádio Novelo

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