• Spencer Shrader

Food for Thought

Originally I was going to add a little food category into my last blog post about Brazil, but I decided that the food here deserved a post all to itself. The food here is incredible. Seriously out of this world. I've already gained fifteen pounds.


The Picolo brothers ready to chow down

I'm just kidding, I haven't actually gained 15 pounds. Though if I'm not careful, in a couple weeks that statement might not be so funny.



Backtrack to June 9th, the day the Picolos and I landed in Sao Paulo. After the 3 hour drive to Sao Carlos, the Picolos and I went to lunch with a handful of their family to celebrate the return of Breno. We went to a local restaurant in Sao Carlos that is one of their favorites. I'd say for the most part it was similar to an American restaurant. They served rice, beans, chicken, and steak. You did have to pay for water because everything is bottled, but the tip was included in the price of the meal. Another factor that stood out to me is that instead of bringing individual meals to each person at the table, the waiters would bring a huge meal and then divide it into separate portions and serve it to you. The food was very high quality and I enjoyed it, and the atmosphere of the restaurant was super cool. For the most part, it was quite similar to an American restaurant, spare a couple differences here and there.

Alright so now it's a day later, June 10th. Everyone's rested up from the plane ride the day before and ready to take on the new day. The Picolos and I head over to their grandparents house, where it turns out they throw a surprise welcome party for Breno and I. (Well, a welcome for me and a welcome back for Breno). If you read my last post you should have seen the picture of Breno and me in front of the poster they had specially made. It was a really nice thing for them to do, and it was the day where I really started to get to know everyone. Brazilians are known for their barbecues, and that's what this party was all about. We had a massive barbecue with probably 20 different kinds of food and 10 different desserts. We had 3 different kinds of steak, chicken, salad, eggs, potatoes, rice, beans, and everything was good. I don't have any pictures of the food from that day because I was too busy eating it, unfortunately. But trust me, it was majestic (cue angels singing). By this time I'm thinking to myself, 'Okay okay this stuff is really good. Breno wasn't kidding when he said I would enjoy Brazilian food.' Well I can say that day was a complete success and for dinner, we just ate barbecue leftovers.

Okay onto the next day, now it's June 11th. It's a Monday and Breno I have soccer training in the morning. We got home around noon, and I walk into the house thinking that something smells really good. So I followed the scent into the dining room, and this is what is right in front of me:


So my first thought is 'wow' and my second thought is 'This is the third day in a row we've had some kind of huge and beautiful meal.'

So I turn to Breno and jokingly ask "Danggg Breno, do we have a meal like this every day?" and he just smiles and says "Yeah bro, we have a lunch like this every weekday."

So... June 11th was the day I figured out I was going to love Brazil and that I might actually get really fat.



Well, Breno was true to his word and we actually do have a big lunch like that every single day of the week. It's kind of a custom here in Brazil, lunch seems like the biggest meal of the day. So now I should explain exactly why the food tastes so good. I suppose most of it has to do with the fact that nearly all of it is locally grown and sold fresh from farmer's markets. It's very organic and not nearly as processed as food in the US. Since we have about 3 little marketplaces in Sao Carlos within a 5-minute drive, it's very easy to drive and pick up fresh food and then eat it that day for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There aren't very many restaurants here as opposed to the US because so many people eat at home. The climate and soil also have an effect on the taste of the food, as the soil is very fertile and the weather is perfect for growing crops. The Picolos also have a lady that comes weekdays and cleans and fixes the lunches, and she is very skilled. At this point, she knows how to prepare all the dishes and what foods complement one another.


A couple examples of what our daily lunches look like, click the arrow on right to scroll through



But wait! Lunch isn't the only incredible meal! Not only am I very blessed to have that huge table of food every day, I also get a breakfast fit for a king every morning. Every single day when I wake up, Adriana has a breakfast laid out for Breno and me. And it isn't just a muffin or cereal... it's a full blown meal with tons of options. For example, this morning on June 19th, the day I am writing this blog post, I walk out of my room and this is laid out on the kitchen table:


Overkill? Psh nah. Not at all.

Yeah, I know... I'm basically suffering over here. But this is what it's like for me every day. It's customary to have sandwiches with cheese and ham for breakfast here, along with a fruit product. I normally eat a yogurt and some buttered bread as well. All of this breakfast food was purchased at the local market, ensuring freshness and a good taste. I love to sit down and eat breakfast in the sunshine while listening to Brazilian music, it's quite the life. It sure is a good thing that most of the food here is healthy!


My breakfast, this is an average meal for me on any given morning

Basically, I wake up every day to a very pretty breakfast, then for lunch, we sit down as a family and eat those insane meals, and then whatever we couldn't finish for lunch we have for dinner. Or, if we did somehow manage to consume almost all of our massive lunch, we order pizza or sandwiches for dinner. Which by the way, is really good. (I still miss Papa John's though) All of this wonderful food that we do eat, is fresh from a local marketplace and is never more than 2 or 3 days old. It tastes amazing and is nutritious, and it's not very expensive either. Of course, when I'm not eating, I'm playing soccer or going on adventures or hanging out with Breno's friends. And that, my friends, is a day in the life of Brazilian Spencer.


Here are all of the photos I have of my meals so far. Scroll through them to see what I'm chomping down on day after day. Thank you to May for the editing help.



Trust me, I know how blessed I am. To have this much food available to me, let alone the quality and taste this particular food possesses, is an incredible gift. I haven't taken any of my blessings for granted and I thank God every day for what he's made available to me. I'm incredibly grateful to the Picolos for not only accepting me into their family but treating me this well every day. I've enjoyed every part of being in Brazil so far, and I'm looking forward to sharing more moments of my life with you guys! Tchau for now.



Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. - John 6:35

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