BEYOND THE TAGUS
English pirates stole a manuscript from a Portuguese missionary more than 500 years ago. Now, Jessica Rutherford, PhD student and archival researcher, documents her journey to find these manuscripts, which may contain insight into Brazilian natural remedies.
The search for these documents, which were lost in 1601, begins in Lisbon, Portugal, as Rutherford explores the food, music, history and archives of Iberia to uncover more about Fernao Cardim, a Jesuit missionary who may have recorded some of the most groundbreaking medicinal recipes of the early modern period.
The OWNW team went sailing on the Tagus river to recreate Cardim's departure from the Port of Lisbon destined for Coastal Brazil.
Nigel, a British ex-pat (who's equally talented at the helm and in the kitchen), hosted us on his 45-foot sailing yacht, as we left the Port of Lisbon and headed toward the mouth of the Atlantic.
We logged the shot-list, tossed back a few cold beers in the early afternoon sun, channeled 500-year-old sea shanties and got the skinny on
old mariner superstitions.
Said one OWNW staffer, champagne in hand:
"I don't think Cardim had it this good."
Visit Nigel at www.SailingWithNigel.com
After a couple of wrong turns up and down the confusing streets of Alfama, we followed our ears toward this musician, who sat in the shade of a giant tree, surrounded by ancient ruins of residential Lisbon.
The musician, from Cape Verde, proved that finding what you're looking for is only half the fun. More importantly, he provided the soundtrack for this leg of the Alfama trip.
Though they specialize in contemporary Portuguese cuisine, the husband-and-wife owners of Taska Fina created an authentic sixteenth-century-themed meal for the Old World/New World crew.
Reaching back into their culinary training, the owners of Taska Fina created an authentic (and tasty!)
meal that spoke to the region's gastronomic history.
Alentejo, widely considered the culinary center of Portugal, was one stop on the OWNW journey, in search of insight into how Fernao Cardim would've eaten more than 500 years ago.
One of the most near-magical nights of our trip, we visited Dragão de Alfama (The Dragon of Alfama) for dinner and classic Portuguese music, Fado (pronounced "Fah-Doo").
After a great meal and a few glasses of vinho verde, it was a short trip to glassy-eyed wonder.
Then the performances began.