Food and culture

In almost every language class there comes a time where you learn the vocabulary of food. This is often my favorite and most frustrating part of learning a language. Food is such an important part of culture and our lives and learning the vocab is important, but man does it make me hungry and filled with longing for cuisine I often don’t have the opportunity to consume. This semester in my introductory Portuguese class, however, my professor invited us over to make pão de queijo (cheese bread) and Brigadeiro.

Pão de queijo is pretty self explanatory once you know that it translates to cheese bread. I love cheese and bread and the combination does not disappoint. This tasty snack is made of tapioca flour and ends up pleasantly chewy. Our class used a pre-made mix (the brand name was Yoki) and added some real cheese of our own.

Brigadeiro is a Brazilian dessert that has been compared chocolate truffles. They were delicious and relatively easy to make, since they consist of three ingredients. The name comes from the role played by the treat in a Brazilian election where supporters of a candidate passed out samples with the tag “the favorite candy of the Brigadier.” The candidate actually lost the election, but the candy seems to have won. It won over my heart.

Ingredients for Brigadeiro can be purchased in your local supermarket, but for pão de queijo or any other Brazilian food interests, Samba supermarket and restaurant in Hopkins, MN can hook you up. The store is about a half hour drive from campus.


1 can of condensed milk

1 teaspoon butter or margarine

4 tablespoons cocoa powder

Take all ingredients to the pan, stir constantly for about 10 minutes on low heat. Let it cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes. Then roll into little balls and cover in sprinkles.