02 May 2011

The Biggest Loser: Bacalhau Style?

About six months ago, I saw my first episode of the Biggest Loser.  I had never wanted to watch it before, but as is the nature of living abroad, when you find English-language shows, you give them a try.  And in this case... I was promptly addicted and I dragged Bacalhau Boy right down with me.  (You're welcome, BB)

So, how thrilled were we when we found out that Portugal was getting its own version?  (Answer: MUITO.)

Last night was the premiere episode of Peso Pesado (Heavy Weight).  Bacalhau Boy was looking forward to seeing the presenter, Júlia Pinheiro-- a woman he claims has more in common with the Weakest Link's Ann Robinson than with sweetheart Alison "Sami" Sweeney.  I was looking forward to seeing if they could find a Portuguese Jillian to be both psychologist and sadist extraordinaire.

In the end:

  • Júlia was not (very) scary, and it was too early to tell if the trainers were, either.  
  • The first challenge was exciting, humiliating, and had an "oh, TWIST!" moment, which was excellent.  
  • There is a new element of the show called the Comando who took aside two contestants and made them do push-ups while he splashed them with buckets of cold water.  That was pretty awesome.  

All-in-all, we will likely be as addicted to this show as to the original.

What surprised me the most, though, was the first Temptation. Júlia led the contestants out to say farewell to their "best friends"-- and there was a buffet of Portuguese food at its finest.  (Skip ahead to 3:00 minutes to see the food--)

Now... at this point in the evening, Bacalhau Boy started to make noises.  Noises like, "Uhhhh... Ooooo... Ohhhh... Mmmmmmm."  I was rather startled.  These are the noises that I usually make whenever the Biggest Loser tempts their poor contestants with delicious and fattening food.  Not Bacalhau Boy.

"Ohhhh, that looks so good to me, I can really feel the temptation. I never feel that way when they show those nachos and cheeseburgers and crap on the other show."

I was stunned.  "Nachos and cheeseburgers and crap"??? A sério?  I guess the sliced meats and cheeses and olives looked lovely and if I were at a party I would try some, but suffice to say I would not have to work hard to resist them, either.  Not like a cinnamon roll.  Or a big plate of mac and cheese. Or nachos...

At this point, the cholesterol really hit the fan.  The producers began to unveil plates of the contestants' favorite dishes. (Starting at 5:30" on the video)

And this-- this is when you know you are living in a different country.  The Biggest Loser morphed into a scene from Fear Factor.  The favorite dishes of the contestants include (in the order in which they are revealed):

Picanha with fries and rice: Picanha is the sliced rump-cap of beef, very popular in Brazil and Portugal.
Bacalhau à Brás: Saltcod with eggs and fried potatoes
Bacalhau com Natas: Saltcod with heavy cream and fried potatoes
Lasagna: Errr, you know this one, right?
Cachupa: A pig's foot, sausage, and bean stew from Cape Verde
Dobrada: Tripe (pig intestine) and chickpea stew typical of Porto
Beef in Mushroom Cream Sauce and fries
Migas: A kind of bread stuffing served with fried pork

Somehow, I don't think that Peso Pesado is going to torture my natural apetite instincts the same way the Biggest Loser does.  But what a way to get to know the food cravings of Portugal and pick up some new ideas!


  1. I can´t believe it. I love Portuguese food, since I was raised in a Portuguese household, and only two dishes really tempted me. I really agree with you, the rest of the table was like party food: enjoyable and avoidable.

    I really have a hard time with the american version´s temptations. I love all that food, except for the sweets.

    And special mention to the guys at epic meal. They can make you drool....


  2. Tony, that video is SICK! (In a good way.) I love mac and cheese, but a burger in a tower of mac and cheese, deep fried and eaten with bare hands??!! I never would have thought of that, I totally admit. It is unbelievable! :)