Thursday, February 17, 2011

My Husband is Starving

Once upon a time, this little wife did not make a full on Brazilian lunch. I know, shame shame on me. Don't worry, I already put myself in time out.

You see, I had my pregnant self and a toddler who loved PB&Js.  I didn't think anyone would find out so I allowed him to have one for lunch.  I think Brazilian Social Services would come and take them away if they ever found out. Heaven forbid it wasn't served with a side of rice and beans.

To my horror, Mr Rant came home for lunch.  It was totally unannounced. Thankfully though, he took the sandwich in stride.  But I didn't get off that easily.

What caught him off-guard was my lack of prepared food in the fridge. There was nothing ready for him to eat! What do you mean you can't spontaneously pull together a 3 piece lunch?!

And before you say he's spoiled, let me correct you. He is not only spoiled, he's Brazilian.  I swear, he would keel over and die out of shock if he ever showed up at his Mother's and she couldn't just fix him a plate. Hell, the day his Mother can't randomly pull a carne asada out of the fridge, have rice already made (just in case), and beans a bubblin' on the stove is the day I will have a heart attack.

It's just the culture. Any good Mother would have something available in case any child should even think about food.  Even if it's not her making it, she's paid someone to make sure it's there.  And lunch is the holiest of occasions for food consumption.

The fact that there was nothing to heat up was just unheard of.  Personally, I was stoked that I could finally bust out the PB&J and fend for myself later.  But it just comes down to habit.

In Brazil, when you eat lunch you EAT LUNCH. This is your big meal. Pack it in baby.  Some offer a dinner in the evening, especially when there are kids. A lot of people just lanche, aka sandwiches.  Lanche is a wonderful thing where people run to the bakery for fresh french bread. Add in cold cuts, a salad, some other finger foods, and you have yourself a lanche. We must not forget the coffee chaser.

So that was an adjustment for me. I love me a big breakfast and a substantial dinner. I'm all over that. The big lunch needed some growing into. Ironically, when it did, my breakfast and dinner shrank.

In addition, I've never again allowed a fully empty fridge.  I now have 3 Brazilian men, 1 big and 2 halfies. They all expect food in the afternoon. Something filling and warm.  What can I do? I've been out voted. Of course that does mean I can transfer my occasional laziness to the evening. And let's be honest, evenings are the best time to be lazy!

Lazy and then bed go together as well as good old PB&J. 


  1. word.

    -where are you going?
    -to talk to my mom.
    -oh, so you are going to eat.
    -no, im just talking.
    -yeah, mhm sure.
    ten minutes later i go over.... Oh you are all having rice, beans and a lasagna. lovely.

    i never have brazilian food in my fridge. husband accepts. i never have ready made food. husband accepts the hour wait for dinner every night after the gym. i don't think i will ever cook rice and beans unless i haven't gone shopping for 2 weeks, and i only buy brown rice! (to the horror of my MIL, brown rice? how evil i am to her son). i guess im lucky though, curry, risotto, asian rice noodle pho bowls; the brazilian doesnt complain! i say he can eat at mommys (gag) on sundays. so he doesnt miss the r&bs ;)

  2. People in the Northern Europe do not eat warm meal twice a day. It was a shock to me when I noticed at my work that most Dutch colleagues would eat a bowl of cereal with warm milk, or some slices of bread for lunch. I get very weak if I do that ! I still do not know how hubby survives on a Dutch kroket and an apple for lunch... Or a soup. Depending on the rythym of work he doesn;t even lunch... I get explosive headaches and huge bad humour if I skip a warm lunch. Sandwiches ? Mmmm, ok. But then less than 2hours later I am very hungry again !

  3. Haha thank god my husband is american and works too far to ever come home for lunch! I hear the stories from my friends married to brazilians about the MIL sucking them in to weekly feastings at their house since their poor american wives can't seem to get it right... I've been eating PB&J since I was 3 and I haven't stopped and sometimes go for the double whammy of lunch and dinner (well more than often). Eiyiyi those brazilians.....

  4. I am very used to the weekend lunches but I LOVE them! There's the entertainment value, you get to see everyone, the food is usually amazing, and the kids have a blast. Great way to spend the day. And we are always coming home from them just in time for dinner lol

    My Hubs is a die hard Brazilian. When we are at his Mom's place, he eats A TON at lunch and then makes himself two more plates at dinner. It's impressive.

  5. Anita - Mr. Rant is right there with you!

  6. The same thing happens with my husband when I'm away in the states, he goes to his Mother's house at least once a week and she sends him home with containers full of food. She is Bahian and an amazing cook, used to have her own restaurant here in Rio several years back. Talk about setting the bar high.

    I got lucky with my husband though (to the utter shock of my MIL and housekeeper), he is not a huge meat, beans and rice person, though he does love bahian food. He is happy with my more mediteranean cooking style (with some indian, asian and american to keep it interesting). Thank god, I actually came out ahead on that round.

    My son will eat pretty much any style of food, and horror of horrors, many times before school lunch will be tuna sandwiches with cucumber salad (his fav) should see the look on my housekeeper's face. Beans and rice are a staple and he loves them and my housekeeper is great for that. Except that some months ago, I noticed that she stopped making the beans, and realized it was her silent protest about our lack of a pressure cooker (I'm terrified of those things). Anyhow, I stepped up to the plate and made a huge batch of brasilian feijao, enough for a month. And guess what? The weeks that followed, she was back to making beans in the pot. These silent wars are funny.

    One other thing, my husband is seemingly incapable of fixing food for himself. Maybe he was/is spoiled/Brasilian, I don't know, but he always wants the table set nicely and the food served. I'm ok with this now, but I used to be like "get off your ass!" But now, it's actually endearing in a way. I really do feel like a needed Mom and wife. And that makes me happy. So opposite of myself 10 years ago.

  7. Rachel,

    Gil and I did the other way around...
    We completely lost the habit of big lunches...
    Here it's cereal with milk in the mornings, maybe granola with yogurt or a bagel w/ cream cheese.
    Our lunches are also typically American, a can of Campbell's Chicken Noddle or a Ham and Cheese sandwhich...not Brazilian at all.
    We are big on dinners here...we will totally have to adapt back to Brazilian style big lunches when we move back ;)

  8. Actually, bug lunches are the way to go in terms of the digestive system being the strongest at that point in the day (sorry for the health-geek speak). Getting used to those late dinners in Italy still kill me, but I've learned to just eat a bigger lunch, a light snack before going out for the evening (if that's the case, as I like to eat dinner in a lot - hello, cheaper!), and keep the dinner light. Oh, it's so hard to do there, but it's all about adapting to our multi-cultural surroundings, I guess.

  9. Big lunches. Not bug lunches. I don't eat bugs - you know what I mean. ;0

  10. No bugs here either ;) I eat at home a lot. Cheaper and ready made to my taste. I do sleep better with a lighter stomach.

    Stephanie - Great job with the variety of food! You'll have to share your recipe book with me

  11. PB&J????

    Racked my brain for minutes on that one. It is Peanut Butter & Jelly isn't it? say I'm right :-), us Brits don't do PB&J but we do do sarnies!

  12. When living in LA, Trader Joe's with all of their pre-packaged meals was the blessed norm. Unfortunately, it meant I rarely really cooked. I am still a pretty poor excuse for a Brazilian, but have noticed that I am cooking a lot now, and am slowly building up a fridge full of food. I am also starting to really enjoy the experience of cooking with all of the foods of Brazil... even when I totally fail.

  13. Haha! I was behind on your posts and this one was my favorite. The PB&J raid! Sneak attack!
    Alexandre never minds if I don't have leftovers made for him, because it's a perfect excuse for him to order nasty fake Chinese food delivery.

    And I second Valerie on the health benefits of the big lunch, and I support you on the fun of Brazilian lunches and the luck of a nice MIL.