Doesnt Smell Like Fish, Doesnt Taste Like Chicken

Over a millenia Lisbon has been a port city. Importing and exporting delicacies from all around the known world. The saying goes, if it aint broke dont fix it. In Portuguese it must have translated to, if it aint broke, use it everyday, all the time and be sure to include ways you never thought possible - this is the story of 'Bacalhau.' A traditional and mainstay Portuguese dish of codfish, lightly fried in olive oil with onions and usually served with home fried potatoes.
I never imagined fish would taste like anything other than fishy, slimy, fish. Every dish of bacalhau can have a surprise of flavor. The taste possibilities are endless with over 350 known preparations.
Bacalhau tastes like an old woman belting a fado ballad, textures fusing together, telling a sad, beautiful story to your mouth.
Anywhere you order Bacalhau is going to lay claim to its' in house recipe as being the best.
When purchased at the local market, just look for the aisle with crusty fish carcasses adorning the tables and shelves. The indeterminable shelf life, probably help to keep distributors pricing of this staple low. If one were to peek inside a Lisboetas' shopping basket you would probably see a bottle or two of regional wine, a salted codfish probably two, a loaf of fresh baked bread and a small bag of varietal fruits and veggies.
The Portuguese love their bacalhau so much, that when the country has a shortage they will just import it from places like Norway or Northeastern Canada.
Everyone knows it is not fresh fish! But, with Portuguese culinary magic, this dried, salted, aged, soulful masterpiece of cod is reincarnated nightly onto the majority of plates across the country.


The concept of human bowling pins conjures the idea of a circus act, rather than a fading elitist past time. If this sounds comical or interesting to you, welcome to Portugal, where they share a love-hate relationship with the ancient sport of bullfighting.
Here in cities of the central and southern region you can still find 'corridas' for a short season usually beginning in May. Unconventional to the normal style of bull fighting. In Portugal it is funny and terrifying at the same time, the bull does the bullying and the 8 'forcados' literally stand in line for a cartoon like display of bullfighting known as a 'pega', or face charge.
In previous years forcados were peasants from out lying towns employed as practical rodeo clowns, in order to keep the bull from entering the magistrate and upper class seating areas via stairs that were at ring level.

The Portuguese practice of bull fighting has a magical dance that must follow a specific sequence of events. If this order is not followed, the front man, a.k.a. guy with the green hat that looks like it was made by an elf, has to pick himself up and start the process from the beginning.
This futile attempt doesn't end until he and his 7 man crew subdue the bull.
To start the fight the front man stands fearless and instigated the bull to charge him.
The 7 others wait in line, like friends backing up their friend in a school yard brawl.
Charging forward into the frontman, the bull must be mounted via its face and latched onto by its horns or neck. In come running the six back-ups, who stack like dominoes onto their fearless leader. Remember, there are 8 forcados. What does the No. 8 guy get to do? You guessed it, hold the tail! Having his tail pulled and a human dog pile on his back, the bull gives up. Final score: Forcados 8, Bull 1.

For the volunteer thrill seeker, get to the Azores Islands for some real street fighting. There, communities flock together and let a bull into the street so their citizens can participate in this harmless (to the bull) idea of fun. Fundamentally, a display of human crash test dummies in plain clothes, some in suits; returning home from their office jobs. Unfortunately for these crazies they are missing the seven man backup posse. Admirably, these bulls take advantage of their loose reins and give boastful instigators a butt kicking. Final score: Bull 73, Adrenaline Junkies 0.

By Jennifer