You only truly comprehend this by eating around, as I have at the hundreds of post-First Communion lunches, wedding engagement brunches, baby showers, soccer match viewings, and random celebrations hosted by my family over the decades. Go to any traditional Portuguese restaurant and you'll find the same staple dishes. There's caldo verde—potato soup emulsified with peppery Portuguese olive oil, laced with shredded kale or collard greens, and studded with slices of chouriço or linguiça, depending on the preference of who's making it. There are grilled sardines, of course, because the Portuguese are famous for their fishing prowess. There's charred octopus, the thin tentacles blackened to a crisp and the meaty legs soft and sweet. And there's one of my favorite dishes on the planet—mariscada em molho vermelho—where white rice gets flooded with a stew loaded with clams, shrimp, lobster and mussels.