Home / Spotlights / Food / Foodie’s Guide to Regional Gastronomy: Kale Soup or Caldo Verde or Caldo Gallego or Minestra Maritata

Foodie’s Guide to Regional Gastronomy: Kale Soup or Caldo Verde or Caldo Gallego or Minestra Maritata


Series Introduction (Move down if you’re familiar with the thread or don’t care)

In this series, we hope to highlight and showcase in as interesting a way as possible, the stories behind our favorite, mouth-watering local dishes. While we’ll focus on greater New Bedford and the South Coast, we will occasionally “travel” to places like Plymouth, Providence or even Boston. I will attempt to keep it light-hearted, fun and easy to read. While I can’t promise to keep you compelled and pull you along with prose – that would take a professional writer – I will promise to be liberal with the drool-inducing images of these dishes.

As always, feedback is encouraged. Anecdotes are wanted. Discussion is paramount. Please join in!


Oh, the ways we love you kale soup. You warm our bones on a cold day, bring us back to our childhood and fond memories with our avós, and feed our souls. I don’t know about you but just seeing or hearing the words evokes the aroma!

My landlady is from the “old country” and when I come home and walk into my apartment and get whiff of kale soup that was evidently simmering on her stove for hours it shifts my assemblage point. It pushes the worries and stresses of the day away from my mind, the tension in my shoulders loosen, and I get happy.

Of course, I’m hoping that she will hear me come home and soon I will hear a knock on the door and she’ll offer me a generous bowl of soup. One thing you can rely on with those from the “old country” is that when it comes to homecooked food they are always generous, so that knock always comes – but just in case she doesn’t hear me I’ll be extra heavy with my footfalls, maybe “accidentally” bump my elbow into the stairwell’s wall.

While I didn’t grow up with the aroma of kale soup cooking in the house, I had many friends that were Portuguese and the idea of their generosity came from the fact that those Portuguese friends consistently brought me batches of it when their avó or mãe made some. Why didn’t the avô or papai ever make some?

While considered to be Portugal’s national dish, Kale Soup, Caldo Verde (meaning “green broth”) or Portuguese Sausage Kale Soup for you non-Portagees, there is little history about its origins. When this is the case for something historical – whether an invention, discovery or creation of a dish – it typically means the origins are from another nation and that would ruin any claims. For example, ask someone where Baklava or Falafel came from and a half dozen nations will raise their hands, all claiming to be the originator and all claiming to make the best, most delectable version.

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About Joe Silvia

When Joe isn't writing, he's coaching people to punch each other in the face. He enjoys ancient cultures, dead and living languages, cooking, benching 999#s, and saving the elderly, babies and puppies from burning buildings. While he enjoys long walks on the beach, he will not be your alarm clock, because he's no ding-a-ling.

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