“Carninha Com Batata”: A Nurturing Meal

I have been going to the supermarket three times a week these past two months. By going to the supermarket more often you tend not to spend as much money and time in a place that can get pretty sickening after 20 minutes. You get sick of the promoters dressed up in weird color combinations blocking the already narrow aisles while trying to sell you fake looking canned meat or American style breakfast cereal. The more you go to the supermarket the less you want to stay in there, so in order to get out as fast as possible the best way is to spend less (buying few items) and enjoying the benefits of the express check outs. A virtuous cycle: less expenditures – less time in the store.

And that brings me to another topic: soups. Yes, soups. This is the type of food that gets lots of attention in the winter time (July and August) down here in Brazil when people unused with the cold weather try to warm up their bodies in non-heated apartments and houses by boosting sales of this French 16th century dish in almost 40%. Soups also enable you to save some money and get your fair share of proteins and carbohydrates. That’s if you decide to have a soup of “carninha com batata” (meat with potatoes) as Johnatan Tavernari, Brazilian Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars sophomore guard, used to have back in the days.

Last Thursday I caught up with a friend for coffee (but no soup). Giampaolo Buso, a management consultant these days, is one of those guys, in their mid thirties, who look back at their times on the court as a youth league player with great pleasure and fond memories. This man had the chance to play youth basketball in several clubs wearing the “manto sagrado” (sacred mantle) at Clube de Regatas do Flamengo in Rio and the red and white colors of the longing EC Sírio when these were powerhouses of Latin American hoops.

We were chatting about Brazilian basketball and their newcomers when I mentioned Johnatan Tavernari.

Giam fired back astonished by my remark: “Who? Telma Tavernari’s son?”.

“Yes, this kid shoots the lights out from long distance and has been doing that for three years in America (two in high school and one in college ball)”, I replied.

“No way” said Giam not believing that I was talking about a kid that he last saw 16 to 17 years ago at a practice at EC Pinheiros. “I remember this kid sitting at a high chair courtside at Pinheiros’ blue gym swinging his head side to side while repeating the same phrase on and on “carninha com batata, carninha com batata”, he continued.

Thanks to this home made soup recipe, tons of hard work, commitment, and dedication, Johnatan has got better and bigger over the years.

He has just started his sophomore season as BYU is traveling around France to play a series of matches against local teams. In the first game against Paris All Stars his long distance shooting range seemed to be a bit off, but he finished the game with 18 points making an initial statement that this could be a great year for himself. BYU won the game by the score of 90 to 68 led by junior center Trent Plaisted, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds, and junior guard Lee Cummard, who finished with 19 points and 10 boards.

Cummard and Tavernari will provide some great backcourt power to the Cougars and the Brazilian, with his large frame, great shooting skills, and big time concentration, might have his breakout year (the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year award hasn’t reverberated this way). He’s definitely my bet as far as Brazilian new names for the 2007/2008 season (I’ll add Ricardo De Bem to this mix if he and Bobby Knight get along well).

Now let me get back to the kitchen and check on that meat stew…

Tavernari (in the middle) and his Cougar boys enjoy the ride on the Seine as the Eiffel Tower looks on.


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