I lived in Rhode Island for most of my public school years. I moved there from Montauk, NY and, though the new town was very small, it presented my young brain with a whole slew of unfamiliar things to categorize. Most of these new things were Portuguese.
In Montauk I was surrounded by Italians who shared with me an intimate knowledge of Italian food. I spent many Saturdays and Sundays in the kitchen tying braciole made with pig skin or steak, rolling meatballs, squishing tomatoes, ogling perfect ravioli pillows, listening in on where to buy the best sausages, fresh mozzarella and ricotta, and eating as much as they would let me.
Rhode Island exposed me to the stuffed quahog, chourico, linguica, American chop suey, johnnycakes, and shepherd’s pie. I didn’t even know how to pronounce half of those things and certainly had no idea what was in any of them. Much time passed before I could claim an affection for any but the stuffed quahog.
Chourico (New England regional pronunciation: shi- REES) is the Mickey Rourke/ Randy The Ram of sausages and my current sentimental favorite. On Christmas I was treated to a spicy dish of chourico and kale whipped up by a good friend that soothed some hurt feelings. Valentine’s Day I was feeling a little lonely and was out shopping in Bloomsbury (London) when I came across an outdoor market with all manner of Portuguese foods. I smelled chourico on a grill and eventually found the source. A delicious sandwich, red as a beating heart.