Archive for October, 2012

Bread of God

Today, my first morning in Portugal I set out on the quest for coffee and breakfast. Last night on the way home,  my host, Zé pointed out a bakery that he said was amazing. I thought it was just a place to buy bread so I wasn’t really considering it as an option. I passed a couple of crowded cafes and thought about how I wasn’t prepared with even the most basic Portuguese phrases and felt like a big loser. That stupid fear of doing something for the first time that might be embarrassing was stuck in the back of my throat. I decided to turn around but didn’t want to walk by the same places, as if all of Lisbon was watching and critiquing my every move. I crossed the street and there it was in front of me: A Padaria Portuguesa, the beautiful bakery from last night and they had coffee! The first boy I asked spoke English and shot me back a “Good morning!”  surrounded by a big sunny smile. Yay. Big coffee or small? BIG! Something to eat? I looked away from the sweets to the savory bread and sitting on the counter was some kind of puffy bread sandwich piled with ham and dripping with egg. I asked, “What’s that?” and he explained that it was a coconut bread, Pao de Deus Queijo, or Bread of God. I thought, wow, coconut bread with ham and egg? It is not a combo I would have imagined but why not? He asked if I wanted cheese but didn’t understand that I wanted the ham and egg. Hey, whatever. I walked away with my beloved coffee and divine bread thing. It was amazing. I slipped into this instant euphoria. It was as if someone slipped a love potion in my coffee and I started thinking that I never wanted to leave and how had I made it though 53 years of life without knowing this one pleasure. A man dropped his plate of food. It shattered and splattered bread and yolk all over the floor and I praised my bread of God that this had not been me! Before leaving I brought my tray to the counter and told the smiley boy that it was delicious. I was so happy I wanted to hug him. On the way home I noticed that I had that too much sugar in the morning kind of sick feeling but it didn’t matter and I knew that in this case it was worth it!

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