Portuguese cooking is at its heart very, very simple. This is what makes it difficult. The cuisine relies on the freshest, most carefully selected ingredients. Made with flavorless, mass-produced products, it is comforting, but not edgy. It also requires experience: the use of the nose, the eyes, the hands, the tongue to tell when the stock is deeply flavored, the onions have wilted just enough, the cake or cookies are cooked through and the right texture. Many of these dishes take time because they were the work of stay-at-home women and because time was needed to concentrate flavors and achieve desired textures.