Subtext: Food on the Farm
Our time on the farm was a grand introduction to the comida mineira, the typical [miner's] food of Minas Gerais. The staples, which we had at many meals, are Feijão (beans), Angu (a polenta-like dish made either of manioc or corn flour), and Couve (kale). This combo should cover the bases for a complete meal, as the feijão offers protein, the cale vitamins and the angu your carbs (rice and another veggie, Chuchu, are often in accompaniment). The combination is great and ubiquitous across Minas and typically served in panelas da pedra da sabão, soapstone pots. The pot pictured here is full of rice and next to a big slab of the typical cheese in Minas, aptly named queijo mineiro, which to us tasted like a milder, harder Feta (it was good and even better for dessert with Goiabada!).
When we weren’t eating comida mineira with our hosts, we had plenty of time and an incredible selection of fresh veggies — many new to us! — to do our own experimenting! All we had to do was walk into our backyard and collect our ingredients from the big organic garden.
The things we had from the near-by city were: granola, coffee, rice, noodles, sugar, salt, oil, butter, cheese, and tomato sauce. After two weeks, we only had a tiny bag of trash and a huge compost pile!
Everything was seasonal, and since it is the middle of autumn here in Brasil, we had a lot of greens and roots to choose from, including: a variety of lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, yams, manioc, pumpkin, carrots, okra, chayote, ginger and of course onions and garlic. We could pick limes from the tree out back and gather a few more ingredients from the “harvesting house” up the hill, including apples and oranges. Milk we got in a bucket straight from the cows, and yoghurt from Euler who prepares a large collection in jars every week.
Among other things we threw together iron-pan eggplant pizza,pumpkin soup with manioc fries, creamy kale pasta, and an apple pie. We perfected cooking our own Feijão in the pressure cooker and often ate an egg with lunch. It was a time of good eatin’!