Food, Oh Glorious Food!
There is something wonderful about the aromas wafting through the air from true and tested recipes that have changed little throughout history and Portuguese food is no exception. The country of Portugal borders with Spain and the Mediterranean Sea and seafood dishes are prominent along the coast while meat dishes are predominant inland. The exception is bacalao dishes can be had throughout the country, any time of the year. Bacalao is cod fish and it can be found fresh but it is more typically sold in its dry and salted form.
This method of preserving fish goes back into antiquity when refrigeration was unheard of and food supplies for the sailors had to last for months at a time. The sailors introduced the method of salting fish in every port they touched and to this day, bacalao is a staple in most Caribbean islands, parts of Spain, Greece and Italy.
Taking courses in Portuguese cooking is an excellent way to learn to make regional dishes that can be replicated at home. Cultural centers may provide opportunities throughout the year to taste delicacies and the attendees are more than willing to share their own recipes and sources to purchase authentic products in the area.
Purchase cookbooks written by people of Portuguese descent — I find that these people preserve family recipes much better than people who are just writing about food and trying to sell a book. There is an automatic feeling of intimacy in these family cookbooks that imparts a sense of being part of an average family sharing their typical fare with a close friend.
Experiment with cookbooks from various regions with a Portuguese influence to get the full history and perspective from various parts of the globe. If you just want to try it out, consider recipe websites first, since many of the posters there are sharing favorite family recipes handed down for generations and usually share childhood memories along with tasty morsels.
Portugal is also renowned for its wines and most notably those sweet Madeira wines that are appreciated worldwide. For a taste, consider Trader Joe's or purchasing online from the distributor an authentic bottle of Madeira wine.