Posted in English

Eating Cyclists – Finally An Answer to the Cost of Living Crisis?

Someone I follow in twitter showed a picture of his lunch which he described as “Bolos de bacalhau com uns ciclistas, molhinho verde e um outro ‘molhinho'”. Cod-cakes, with cyclists, green sauce and another ‘sauce’. The other sauce was wine, in case you’re wondering. What about the cyclists though? It looked like a plate of black-eyed beans to me – I couldn’t see any meat that looked like it has been carved off an oil-smeared leg, but my daughter is obsessed with cannibalism at the moment (that’s normal for a teenager, right?) so my interest was piqued.

Cyclist cannibal
I ate his lycra with some feijões fradinhos and a nice chianti

Further down the comments, he explains that he’s always referred to black-eyed beans as cyclists but wasn’t sure why. Cue another bout of research… Yeah I know, “Research” is one of those words that gets misused a lot on the Internet: it sounds like it involved a lot of hard work in a library but let’s be real: it just means the person did a bit of googling. “Do your own research” says some bro on twitter who’s just skimmed a medium article written by an seventeen year old who shared the exact same prejudices as him. OK, OK, I’m not writing a PhD thesis here, or trying to get a university professor sacked, and a Google search will do, so here are the fruits of my Extensive Academic Research.

The first link I found said something about how in the old days, there were always little bugs (“Bichos”) that used to turn up in bean salads and people would describe the bugs as cyclists (eh?) and after a while the name got transferred to the beans themselves.

This sounded like absolute bollocks to me so I carried on looking and came across this link on a blog called Rodas de Viriato, which seemed a lot more believable. First of all, the guy who wrote the tweet didn’t quite have it right: the name “ciclistas” seems to have originated not with black eyed beans (“Feijão Fradinho”) but with another kind of bean native to Alentejo which doesn’t even have an official name, but which has two different nicknames – “Feijão Ciclista” or “Feijão Boneco”. Its easy to see, if you look at the pictures on the site, why it might have got those names – the pattern on it looks like a cyclist seen face-on, or like a doll. I don’t have permission to use the images and they are watermarked so I won’t reproduce them but click through and see for yourself.

Sadly, the bean is pretty rare these days – it’s a “heritage” variety and apart from this blog there is almost no mention of it anywhere. If you search for “feijão boneco” Google shows you lots of beany babies – dolls stuffed with beans, not beans with doll patterns on them. And maybe that’s why the name has transferred to the more common black-eyed bean.

Posted in Portuguese

Opération Portugal

Ontem, eu e a minha filha passámos o dia sentados no sofá constipados* com os narizes entupidos, a tossir e a ver televisão. Entre várias outras coisas, vimos um filme chamado Opération Portugal. É um filme francês no qual um polícia árabe (o nome do ator é D’Jal) finge ser português para se infiltrar numa família portuguesa que (segundo a Interpol) está envolvida na importação de drogas para França.

Il n’est pas un “petit flan”

Em primeiro lugar o que mais me marcou foi o número de piadas baseadas em xixi. O bófia mija numa roda dum camião logo no início do filme e depois mija mais quatro vezes em várias lugares durante a primeira meia hora. Os franceses gostam assim tanto de rir de urina?

Antes de entrar na missão, o polícia tem de aprender as bases da língua e da cultura portuguesa para passar por português. Aprende a dizer “obrigado” e “bacalhau” e como dizer o nome do país com o sotaque certo. Afinal, é um católogo de estereótipos nacionais. Coitado do francês: na primeira semana, é forçado a assistir a um jogo de futebol entre a seleção portuguesa e a francesa e tem de esconder as lágrimas e a fingir entusiasmo quando os portugueses ganham.

*=I will never get used to this meaning having a blocked nose instead of a blocked bum.

Posted in English, Portuguese

A Bacalhau

This is a translation of “A Bacalhau” by Ana Bacalhau from her new album “Nome Próprio”. If you’re reading this you probably know already that Bacalhau means “Cod” in portuguese, but if you didn’t then you do now, and hopefully this will all make perfect sense!

Dizem que há lá mil maneiras
They say there are a thousand ways 
De cozinhar bacalhau
to cook cod
E que só há mais Marias
And Marias are the only thing more common 
Que Anas em portugal
Than Anas in Portugal
Nasci eu Ana Sofia*
I was born Ana Sofia
Bacalhau na certidão
Bacalhau on the certificate
E desde dsse belo dia
And since thet beautiful day
Sou eu faço questão
It’s me that asks the question

Quando eu era pequenina
When I was little
Muitos achavam bizarro
Lots of people found it weird
Bacalhau de sobrenome
Bacalhau as a surname
Tornou-me num bicho raro
Made me a rare beast
E a mim que era gorducha
And to me, being chubby
Com este jeito engraçado
With this funny manner
Dava muito conteúdo
I gave a lot of material
Para piadas de miúdos
For the little boys’ jokes
E cochichos para o lado
And whispers to the side

Foi com isso que aprendi
And that’s how I learned
Que há sempre alguém no desdém
That there’s always someone who looks down on me
E se não gostas de ti
That if you don’t like yourself
Não há de gostar ninguém
There’s nobody else who’s going to like you
Desde então que decidi
Since then I decided
Vender o meu peixe bem
To sell my fish well
Ter orgulho no BI********
To have pride there
Valer-me do meu QI
Value myself for my IQ
E da minha voz também
And for my voice too

Ana é nome comum**
Ana is a common name
Mas é o meu nome próprio
But it’s my own name
E como é próprio de mim
And since it belongs to me
Não podia ser tão sóbrio
It can’t be very serious
Um bacalhau no fim
A Bacalhau, in the end
Tem um peixe por homónimo
Has a fish for a homonym
Fica tão bem assim
And that suits my just fine
Que parece um pseudónimo
Because it seems like a pseudonym 

Sou Ana para toda a gente
I’m Ana to everyone
E Ana só para o meu pai
And just Ana to my dad
Sofia só lá em casa
Just Sofia back home
No colo da minha mãe
In my mother’s lap
Bacalhau sou para os amigos
Bacalhau only for friends
Colegas de muita farra
Drinking buddies
Desde o liceu de benfica
Since we were at Benfica College
Há letras com as amigas***
There are lyrics with friends
Quando tocava guitarra
When I played the guitar

Sei que Ana é pequenina
I know that Ana is little
Mais condiz com a sardinha****
Better suited to a sardine
Com certeza que essa brasa
For sure, this charcoal
Tem de ser puxada à minha
Has to get pulled towards mine
Pois toda a gente diz
Because everyone says
Que assim se quer a mulher*****
What do you want the woman to do?
Sou dona do meu nariz******
I am the mistress of my nose
E como quero ser feliz
And since I want to be happy
Escolho o peixe que eu quiser
I choose what fish I prefer

Ana é nome comum**
Ana is a common name
Mas é o meu nome próprio
But it’s my own name
E como é próprio de mim
And since it belongs to me
Não podia ser tão sóbrio
It can’t be very serious
Um bacalhau no fim
A Bacalhau, in the end
Tem um peixe por homónimo
Has a fish for a homonym
Fica tão bem assim
And that suits my just fine
Que parece um pseudónimo
Because it seems like a pseudonym 

Já vos disse que sou Ana
I already told you I’m Ana
E que meu nome é cá da terra
And that my name is from my homeland
Porque lá na Noruega
Because there in Norway
Neva mais do que na serra
It snows more than in the mountains
Se já disse e então repito
If I already said it and then I repeat it
Isto não é nome artístico
That’s not an artistic name
E fica até bonito
And even suits me 
E de nome de registo
And my registered name
Passou a nome de guerra
Became a nom-de-guerre

Ana é um nome comum
Ana is a common name
Mas é meu nome próprio
But it’s my own name
E como é próprio de mim
And since it belongs to me
Não podia ser tão sóbrio
It can’t be very serious
Um bacalhau no fim
A Bacalhau, in the end
Tem um peixe por homónimo
Has a fish for a homonym
Fica tão bem assim
And that suits my just fine
Parece um pseudónimo
Because it seems like a pseudonym 

The portuguese lyrics were pinched from, credited to Wilson and FernandaR, a Portuguese teacher on iTalki has also given them the once-over to catch a few other errors.

*=The page I copied the lyrics from has “Mas se eu ana servi” and although it’s a Brazilian site so you’d expect them to speak better Portuguese than me, I still think I’m right and they’re wrong.

**=And this said “Ana é meu único nome” but that’s not what it sounds like at all

***=Not really convinced about this one but I don’t have a better suggestion so…

****=These lines refer to an idiomatic expression “puxar a brasa para a sua sardinha” which means “pull the charcoal to your own sardine” -i.e., further your own agenda, or look out for number 1.

*****=I’m not sure what’s going on here. It doesn’t seem to be an idiomatic expression but when I couldn’t crack the meaning, gTranslate pulled out a very specific, and apparently non-literal meaning.

******=Being the master of your own nose apparently means being independent and self-possessed.

*******=Originally “aqui” but I think she says “cá”. They don’t use “cá” much in Brazil, I believe.

********=Bilhete de Identidade. Seems an odd thing to have orgulho about but maybe just means “who I am”

Posted in English

Protein From The Sea

Bacalhau Crescido
The Cod in Question

So I placed an order with a company called Delícias for some Portuguese food and it included a pack of salted cod. The Cod was in a bag with a sticker (Autocolante) on it and the word “Crescido”. I was curious about this. It’s the past participle of “crescer” so it means “grown”. Did that mean the cod was grown and not just a little codling? Mrs Colin didn’t know and I couldn’t quite think what to put into Google to get the answer, so I asked around and sure enough, yes, it refers to the size (“Tamanho”-quite a useful word!) of the cod when it’s caught. Bacalhau can be Miúdo or it can be graúdo or it can be especial jumbo. 

I’ve since found this page listing various sizes and grades of Bacalhau caught in various parts of the ocean. Crescido seems to be at the lower middle range of the scale. So now you know!  

Posted in Portuguese

Férias Dia 4: Lisboa Menina E Moça 

Começamos o dia tarde mais uma vez. A Olivia teve uma aula de Japonês através do Skype. Correu bem. Entretanto, vou à lavandaria onde gastei 8€.


Após do pequeno-almoço fomos à Livraria. Era bué fixe. O tecto era muito alto e havia máquinas de impressão abaixo. Entretanto, o ar da loja era tipo “hipster” mas gostámos.

Depois, demos um passeio pelo centro comercial, a Mouraria (onde um jovem numa bicicleta tentou vender-me hashish, mas não me interessa). Subimos uma colina grande, e vimos a condução dos lisboetas. Utilizam buzinas em vez dos travões.

Afinal, depois do Castelo, das fotografias, dos empregados teimosos dos restaurantes turísticos, de tudo, chegámos ao restaurante Arco da Velha. Acho que aquele restaurante é um dos mais lindo que visitei na minha vida. O seu bacalhau com creme é óptimo, mas infelizmente, conforme com a Olivia o seu esparguete é uma merda. Mas não faz mal. Tivemos uma noite agradável.

Hoje será o último dia de férias. Pretendemos ir ao Belém mais uma vez e atravessar o Tejo. O tempo vai estar quente e as raparigas têm vestidos de verão . Vai ser o melhor dia até já!