Tampopo

March 19, 2010

Last night Elen, Karen, their friend Fabio and I went to see a movie called Tampopo at the Centor da Cultura Judaica.  The film was in Japanese with Portuguese subtitles, and I’m happy to report that I think I understood most of what was being said (although how would I know if I didn’t understand it right?  Hard to say, really.)  The film was about a woman’s quest to create the perfect bowl of ramen, and it chronicled her journey to different ramen shops to learn how to make smooth noodles, flavorful broth, etc.  There were also some other weird, extraneous scenes that didn’t really make much sense, like a couple who ordered room service, which included raw eggs, and the two lovers passed a yolk back and forth between them, and a scene with a collection of bums who break into a restaurant kitchen to make an omelet. Strange.  After the film there was a cooking demonstration, where a chef who was a friend of Karen’s showed everyone how to make the omelet that was in the movie, along with sauteed tiny fish, a chicken thing, and ramen.  The whole thing mostly made me really, unbelievably excited to go to Momofuku as soon as I get back to New York.

I was also really impressed with the space–it was a brand new building that we had seen from the outside a while ago when we went looking for Choque Cultural, a gallery that we like.  From the inside, it was a collection of exhibition and event spaces with warm wood paneling and cool concrete.  There was a vaguely Jewish comic book exhibit that reminded me of the Adventures of Cavalier and Clay and a cafe space.

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One Step at a Time

January 24, 2010

We just discovered these One Step at a Time cookbooks here at our local bookstores.  We’re pretty wary of buying anything these days, especially physical objects that we’ll have to take home with us when we go, but they were just so beautiful and practical.  I guess Amazon doesn’t let you look inside, but I’m pretty excited about them.

We also bought some super cool prints the other day at Choque Cultural, a tiny little gallery in Pinheiros.  We had tried to find it with Robby when we were here in September, but got there too late after it was closed.  I’m glad we made it and the three hipsters who worked there made me want to go friend shopping again the way that I had wanted to in Vila Madelena.

Sufganiot

December 10, 2009

Edite waved hello and slipped past the gate in her lemony dress.  We walked down the path into the synagogue where Paulo designed the sanctuary, brightening up the room with its heavy maroon chairs.  The windows had menorahs etched on them, and it was easy to see how the Brazilian sun could carve pathways between the frosted glass squares.

Past the sanctuary and down the hall, through the kiddush room scattered with tables and the kind of chairs they line up when there aren’t enough official seats for the high holidays, the smell of oil and yeast wafted through.  There was a box with discarded pineapple spikes, the tops and the spotted outsides, by the door.  We continued past.  At the stove, a heavy woman in an over-washed tank top stood over a pot of cooking oil, taking sufganiot out of the hot liquid as they burnished brown.  There was a floured tray with pats of uncooked dough, and a paper towel lined plastic bin with finished doughnuts.  Edite chatted with her–this is my cousin from the United States, she wants to learn how to cook, will you teach her?  There was some back and forth about when I could come back, and the channukah preparations that would begin tomorrow morning at 9.30am.

The woman explained that making sufganiot was a process.  She pulled a glass bowl of pineapple filling out of the refrigerator in the small, white formica kitchen and explained that she was going to fill the doughnuts with the sunny yellow filling.  She grabbed a knife and sliced open a few of the very hot pastries, spooning the glistening pineapple into them.  They were so hot they almost burnt my fingers as I went to take a taste, but they were delicious.

Glue Pots and Namorado

July 29, 2009

Today was a pretty average day, full of “we’re not just visiting” errands. We went to the post office to mail a letter to AT&T to prove that we’re no longer living in the US and would like to freeze our accounts. We learned that there are no gluey envelopes here. You don’t lick them closed. You bring your envelope, sans lickable strip, to the post office, where along with the slips and stubs there are also glue pots, where you take a little old-school rubber cement brush and paste your envelope shut.

I also just bought fish for the first time in Brazil. It’s a white fish called namorado in Portuguese, which is also the word for boyfriend, which is sort of cute. I’m making cornmeal crusted namorado for/with my namorado.