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Welcoming in the New Year, the Portuguese Way (and a celebration of Luis).

January 1, 2012

Spending a few weeks in Lisbon with our good friend Marta, if I have come to understand one thing (other than the fact that Portuguese cuisine is rich, layered, complex and infinitely inspiring), it’s that the Portuguese are a people of welcoming spirits. When planning the trip to Lisbon, we began to think of hotels…”No, no,” Marta insists, “you will stay in my friend’s apartment. They will give it to you. We will have it no other way.” We have had dinners, breakfasts, lunches, with family, friends, friends of family and friends of friends. We have been driven to sea-side towns and welcomed into home after home. We have been embraced as loved ones in each place we went. And today, we spent New Year’s Day as many Portuguese did: over LARGE meals shared together spanning most of the day, course after course, laughter and passion abounding over china and wine glasses. Today we were invited to join the meal of the family of Marta’s brother’s wife. Yes, many times removed, but none-the-less, we were welcomed with open arms. It was a sumptuous meal, exhaustion and revival accompanying each course as marathons of eating often do. It was a sophisticated and gastronomically wise way to bring in the New Year. But it was also a special day. Luis (pronounced Loo-eesh, for you non-Portuguese speakers), Marta’s nephew, turned one month today. And to commemorate, he was given a proper photo shoot with his father and mother, Diogo and Zé (short for María José). Happy One Month, Luis! You are blessed with a family beyond compare, and will no doubt be a great man because of it.

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