When I was a kid I used to spend my entire Summer vacations at my grandmother's farm in Ribatejo, in the country side in Portugal, where people raise bulls and horses and used to carry their food outside in cabbage leaves. It was a magical and powerful experience for me, my sisters and my cousins.
I remember waking up with the sun rising with my grandmother Virginia, with her red cotton scarf wrapping her hair, telling us "today is the day, I can't wait for tomorrow because you soon will be old and must learn it now". I couldn't understand how I was soon going to be old since I was five or six, but now I know she was right. Some things you can't leave for tomorrow. You have to give it a day to learn. It was bread making day.
We all gathered in the large wood table near the kitchen open fireplace, where women from my family cooked food in large iron pans directly on the fire, and we all mixed the flour, the water and the grains of salt.
When we are so little, we are so small that our faces are so near the food we eat, we are no near the table,
near the bowl of salad our mother is making, the feast cake on the counter waiting for the time someone will blow the candles that every unique smell gets registered in that part of us that is one third mind, one third stomach, one third heart. Until today I bend myself to fully inspire what I'm cooking, because just like with tasting it, it will assure me that I am cooking something that will nurture both the stomachs and soul of my dear ones.
And so it was the dough. Fulfilling and nurturing, promising that everything good can be created with our
hands. Tiny hands. We then put the soft white dough to rest, in large yellow pottery bowls painted with blue flowers, that kind of pottery that is so fresh even in the hottest day of summer, covered with old clean linen to rest. "The dough grows" my grandmother said, "but it must be left alone, covered, in a quiet, fresh place" she completed, while passing softly her hands on the bowl, like we do with a child, as saying "you'll be wonderful my dear". When white linens have stains there is a quick remedy: some soap rubbed over the stain and leave it outside in the sun, when you come back there is no stain waiting for you. It's call "corar" in Portuguese. So they were old linens, but there is no stain in them, my grandmother wouldn't allow it.
I remember the aroma of the dough : intense, profound and clean, when we left it to rest in the dark and grow. It was about to transform. Cooking as love, takes time. Than we made small breads (mine smaller than everyone else) for my grandmother to put in the outside wood stove with a huge wood shovel. It was a beautiful Summer day, and for me, bread still reminds me of the scent of the vines surrounding us, wild daisies and the olives we were eating at the same time. Olives that have been cut and immersed in olive oil, garlic, parsley, thyme and oregano for one day. Good things take time. But they are also simple. Usually so simple.
For me writing and talking about food, is telling the recipes that will gather people around a table, that will
create memories, that will unify everything around you. Because when food is good every detail around you,
the flowers on the table, the joke someone told, the taste of the wine, everything leaves a memory. And suddenly you are living.
I don't have any cooking training. All I know was learned around the country table, among amazing women
that in that time would make men stop at the doorstep (the door was always open) and ask "what's cooking?" and then come in. That was Mediterranean, countryside, Portuguese cooking. My mother, back home, taught me French cuisine: soufflés, coq au vin, Charlotte. In my early twenties, when I first met love, I dived myself in learning Indian and Italian food, because love needs food. I don't have cooking education but I'm proud to say my chicken saffron risotto made my mother smile when my father died and my shrimp coconut curry make friends that have come for dinner stay talking until the sunrise. If I could write for Kitchn under your direction, I would be so happy and grateful for sharing recipes with stories, food with seasonal folklore tales, plates with funny tales. Food that is simple but so amazingly satisfying, food that makes a house and a life.
I have good photography skills, it is an art I've been self-taught myself for a while, I've studied Cinema
Direction and although I don't have online resources to show you (except for a blog that had no commercial
intentions, it was just a way to register some of me and my boyfriend's memories), I've written all my life, and among other things, have been published in a Portuguese newspaper and had screenplay written by me chosen to be funded by the
Portuguese Cinema Art Fund (ICA). I've also studied English for eight years at school. I've been to Spain, France, England, Holland,Switzerland, Monaco and Italy. I've ate and learned a lot in each one of these places. I also took a short Journalism Writing course years ago which I've ended with the best grade, I've
engaged in Antiques and Vintage selling in 2010. I'm very comfortable with the skills needed for this position:
marketing experience, online photography requirements to catch the eye, how to style a photography, Google analytics and online conversation. I would love to write for Kitchn and be creative with so many different things.
I love: food, photography, style editing and writing.
Thank you so much for reading my words. By the way, just to end the story: the bread turned out wonderful. And my grandmother was right, time passes quickly by us, we should be cooking.
Last year, on the last day, I've discovered that The Kitchn, the culinary website we all so much love was looking for someone to cook and write for them. The deadline was just a little less two hours (which you know that in reality passes by very fast) when I found out about it, so I quickly made food, photograph it and wrote a letter plus three ideas (that I don't share here, sorry they are too good :)!) for articles to publish.
The food in the pictures wasn't good, didn't tasted that good honestly but I was in a hurry. The pictures taken with a less than desirable camera were terrible. And English is not my mother language so I decided to use one of those websites that edit texts and correct grammar. The problem was I was running late, so I didn't notice that instead of helping, for example, it replaced "sweet" for "sweat" which is not the kind of word you want to see in a short essay about food.
I have done my own editing now, because if there any mistakes, that will be my own, and decided to share it here. And maybe one of these days, share a food story and a recipe...
Have a nice day.