Feijoada for Life

I told my Brazilian-native friend, Igor, about my complete obsession with feijoada, so we went to visit a local restaurant to get two good servings of the dish. At the restaurant, I engaged both Igor and the waitress, Carol, about the food, its ingredients, its history, and its preparation. Despite its incredibly good taste, Carol told me that it’s actually a pretty easy meal to make. Igor then explained that the dish originated in Brazil from slavery, as enslaved individuals mixed together the leftover scraps from unused ingredients to create meals for themselves. Since then, the dish has stood the test of time, with some slight variations here and there. Throughout Brazil, feijoada is considered food for the soul that’s good for all, rendering it a dish that transcends even economic divides, cultures, and racial lines. It is consumed by virtually all Brazilian identities. It exemplifies to me how food acts as a common thread that can bring people together. This immediately reminded me of “soul food” in the United States, which has a very similar history and function with the African-American community. Carol also told me that Brazilian feijoada is most commonly cooked with black beans. Talking about the ingredients made me admittedly sad, because I didn’t know if I’d be able to cook and eat this meal myself with the limited items I would find once I return to the states. After some talking, Carol and Igor came up with the cool idea of filming a tutorial on how to make feijoada so that I would only be one click away from Brazilian food and culture. Carol got one of the cooks to come out from the back, and he quickly recited the every quick and easy recipe to me. Following this, Igor created a video for me—out of the kindness of his very heart—explaining with great detail how to successfully prepare feijoada from Rio de Janeiro, so that my connection to Brazil will forever be just one click away.