Friday, 25 September 2009

Literature on Portuguese-American history on show at Tulare museum

Two new books look at the history of Portuguese Americans settling into California.

"The Portuguese Presence in California" and "My Californian Friends" were translated from earlier Portuguese publications. Both are published by Portuguese Heritage Publications of California.

The books will be presented at the Tulare Historical Museum, 444 W. Tulare Ave. The presentation is organized by the Tulare-Angra do HeroĆ­smo Sister City Foundation, which celebrates the link between Tulare and a city in the Azores.

The Azores are a collection of islands to which many local Portuguese Americans can trace their heritage. The event is free and the public is invited. The event will feature short presentations, a book-signing by the authors and translators and a wine reception.

"My Californian Friends" is a collection of poetry dealing with Portuguese-American communities in California. The poems were written by Vasco Pereira da Costa. The book references people and places in California that have special meaning to the poet and to Portuguese-American communities. The poetry was translated by Katharine Baker and Diniz "Dennis" Borges, a Tulare resident and Portuguese-language instructor at Tulare Union High School and College of the Sequoias in Visalia.

"The Portuguese Presence in California" is a collection of writings about the history of Portuguese immigrants and their offspring in California. Written by Eduardo Mayone Dias, professor emeritus at University of California, Los Angeles, the book has chapters dealing with the dairy industry, the Portuguese language press, the tuna industry in San Diego, the Portuguese Fraternal Society movement and contributions to literature. The book was translated by Baker, Borges and Professor Bobby Chamberlain from the University of Pittsburgh.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Portugal in danger of missing out on the big stage

Over the last decade, the Portuguese have become virtual ever-presents at major finals and have impressed on the big stage on more than one occasion, finishing runners-up at UEFA EURO 2004, fourth at Germany 2006 and reaching the last eight at Austria and Switzerland 2008.

Given that impressive run, Portugal were widely tipped to qualify for South Africa 2010 at a canter. But despite boasting the reigning FIFA World Player Cristiano Ronaldo, Carlos Queiroz's undoubtedly talented outfit are in serious danger of missing out on the finals for the first time since France 1998.

Their most obvious shortcomings have been up front, where star performer Ronaldo has failed to repeat the club form that has taken him to the pinnacle of the world game. Ronaldo's finishing woes are not the only cause of Portugal's troubles in front of goal. "Our finishing has been very poor," lamented midfielder Duda after the recent qualifiers against Denmark and Hungary. "We've been missing a lot of chances."

Yet despite the riches at their disposal, the Portuguese have struggled to gel as a unit during their faltering Group 1 campaign. Inhibited by a lack of fluency in possession and a tendency to lose shape, their failings in front of goal are the most obvious symptom of their shaky recent form.

With only high-pressure home games against Hungary and Malta to come, the Portuguese team needs maximum points and a Swedish slip-up just to make the play-offs. It is a state of affairs few would have predicted when the Lusitanians embarked on what was meant to be a straightforward journey to South Africa.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Portuguese order ban on 'Maddie' book

A Portuguese court on Wednesday banned sales of a former police officer's book on the disappearance of girl Madeleine McCann, her parents' lawyer said.

In his book "A Verdade da Mentira" ("The Truth of the Lie") Goncalo Amaral claims that the girl, who went missing from an Algarve holiday flat where her family was staying in 2007, is dead and that her parents hid her body.

The decision by a Lisbon court came after a complaint by Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann. Amaral's book has also been adapted for television.

The former Portuguese police chief backed up his claim citing the investigation launched into the parents in September 2007. Amaral was taken off the case a month later and the McCanns were cleared by a Portuguese court. Portuguese police have since said they are no longer actively investigating.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Diversity of Portuguese food

Stretching from the Minho River on its mountainous northern frontier with Galicia to the dry Algarve in the south, Portugal occupies most of the western coast of the Iberian Peninsula. But though it once ruled half the world, it has enjoyed far less of the culinary limelight than its neighbor, Spain.

It's a pity, as Portugal is home to a diverse, soulful cuisine anchored in its austere peninsular past and seasoned by its centuries as a colonial power. Between the 15th and the 19th centuries, missionaries, sailors, and settlers carried Portuguese cooking techniques to Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, and parts of India, China, Malaysia, and Japan. There they mingled with local ingredients to create dishes bursting with flavor, like the coconut milk-enriched moquecas of Bahia and the rich curries of Goa.

To their credit, contemporary Portuguese cooks have readily incorporated the spices and hot peppers of the former colonies into their food. This is the story behin a new book by David Leite entitled 'The New Portuguese Table'.

The son of Portuguese immigrants from the Azores Islands who settled in Massachusetts, Leite gives us the fresh perspective of an unwilling insider who becomes smitten as an adult by the cuisine of his family.

The turning point in his growing culinary fascination was a trip to Portugal and its islands, Madeira and the Azores, where he found much more complex cuisines than he had imagined. It is this quest that informs his book. Beautifully illustrated, The New Portuguese Table is a smart, delicious, and highly personal travelogue through both memory and terrain.

In Leite's book, you will find not only recipes that will whet your appetite but also an endearing story of self-discovery that will send you to the kitchen - and perhaps to Lisbon to learn more about the new world of Portuguese cooking that we have been missing.