Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Culinary Shrine to Antonio Carlos Jobim

Antonio Carlos "Tom" Jobim
Antonio Carlos Jobim, or Tom Jobim as he's more commonly referred to in Brazil, is Brazil's most well-known composer internationally (sorry, Heitor Villa-Lobos!) Along with João Gilberto he is credited with creating the musical style known as Bossa nova, which took Brazil and much of the rest of the world by storm in the 1960s. A pianist and vocalist as well as a composer, he is remembered for such immortal tunes as "The Girl from Ipanema", "Desafinado", "Corcovado (Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars), "Águas de Março" (Waters of March), and "Wave".

Brazilians were (and still are) crazy for Jobim, both for his musical talent and for his endearing and charming personality. Rio de Janeiro's international airport has been named for him - Antonio Carlos Jobim International Airport - putting him in the company of John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, Charles de Gaulle and Pierre Trudeau, all of whom have airports named after them.

It's fitting that Rio is the city that decided to honor him thus, as he was born in that city, and it was there that he and his colleagues created Bossa nova. He is particularly associated with Rio's upper-class beachfront neighborhoods of Ipanema and Leblon, where he grew up. It was in Ipanema's Veloso Bar where Jobim and his co-composer Vinicius de Moraes first saw the girl from Ipanema walk by "on her way to the sea" and were inspired to write their classic ode to her youthful beauty and style.

For years, Jobim dined several times a week in Leblon restaurant Plataforma. There Jobim's favorite dish was a flattened and grilled, deboned chicken. This is a classic Brazilian grill recipe and is served in restaurants throughout the country - a small chicken is deboned, spread open at the backbone, weighted down to flatten it, then simply grilled and served with fries and a salad. Jobim always jokingly ordered this dish as "frango atropelado", meaning "run-over chicken", because the flattened chicken looked like it was the one chicken that did not successfully cross the road. The name stuck, and to this day, the dish is called "Frango atropelado de Tom Jobim" on Plataforma's menu.  A fitting tribute to a true musical genius and bon vivant.

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