Oh, eons ago, back before marriage and kids and moving up to Bellevue, a friend and I took a couple quarters of Brazilian Dance from the City of Palo Alto. Why? Well, why not? And, thanks to the magic of the internet, I here insert a photo of our instructor, in full regalia:
If you've never samba-ed or seen or done any Brazilian parade dancing, I'm sure the opening ceremonies of the Summer Olympics in Rio will get you up to speed. I'll just say that, even without sparkly bikinis and feathered headdresses and rhinestone-studded thongs and live drummers and whistlers, it's super, super fun.
I mention this because surely you plan on throwing an Olympics-viewing party at your house sometime in the next couple weeks. Who could resist turning your next get-together into a Brazilian-themed fest, complete with themed food, background music and a few competitive events?
I can't be the only one getting bored with Rio's bad press. Zika and robberies and corruption and sewage and Australians having all sorts of problems--yawn. I'm over it. What's life without a little adventure?
Next week we'll be down visiting my side of the family, and I'm thinking I'll get all the kids off their phones and everyone off the couch and put together a little decathlon with the items and venues on hand. Each event could play to a different person's strength, and we would keep a running total of points. For example:
- Lemon "shotput." (My mom has a lemon tree in the backyard, from which 99.9% of the lemons go to waste because no one picks them.)
- A round of hearts (with points counting negatively, of course).
- Frisbee "discus."
- A round of Ticket to Ride Europe.
- Nerf gun 10 meter shooting.
- A round of croquet.
- Badminton mini-tournament.
- Chicken-in-a-Minute. (How many times can you pick up one of my mom's chickens in one minute? Heats will have to be very spaced out, so as not to stress out the chickens unduly.)
- Limbo, since no one can high-jump or pole vault.
- Dodgeballoon. Run a 100m dash through the rest of the family chucking water balloons at you.
If I encounter more than the usual amount of whining or resistance, we could reduce the decathlon to a heptathlon, but it'll still be fun.
Winners get treats and the song of their choice played while they stand on a chair. Then we all plop down in front of the television again to watch the real Olympics and maybe enjoy this traditional dish from Rio de Janeiro, courtesy of the Palo Alto Junior League cookbook:
1-1/2 to 2 lbs black beans
3-1/2 lbs smoked ham hocks
2 pigs' feet (optional)
5-6 Italian sausages, cut in 1" pieces
3 large garlic cloves
4 bay leaves
5-6 navel oranges, peeled and sliced 1/2" thick.
Rinse beans. In a large soup kettle, combine all ingredients except rice and oranges. Cover with two inches or so of water. Bring to boil and skim off foam. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 3-3.5 hours. Do not stir. You may need to add more water to keep the mixture soupy.
This is definitely a party-sized recipe, as it serves 12-14, so you could safely halve it for a smaller group. I bet you could also combine the ingredients in a large crock pot and cook for 6 hours on high or 8+ on low.
Bon appetit, and let the Games begin!