My paternal grandmother died years ago. I have fond memories of visiting her in the basement of her tenement home, which she owned and shared with several of her adult children. She lived modestly, but cooked feasts for anyone gracing her doorway. At minimum, a guest would be served sweet bread (with a whole egg cooked in the middle), cheese & "pops" (Portuguese rolls, and the cheese was St. George), and rice pudding. You were also likely to be served linguica, kale soup, or octopus.
She called everyone Fatso. It was a term of endearment, said lovingly in broken English. "Ahhh, Fat-SO! Eat something!"
My grandmother came to the United States from Portugal in search of a better life for her family. She raised many children. She owned a home. She attended church every Sunday (and probably even more frequently than that). She wore black to mourn the death of her husband. She spoke broken English all her life. She wore thick glasses and she loved Portuguese soap operas. She sang Portuguese songs and almost always wore a smile. And she made the best darned sweet rice I've ever eaten. This is not her recipe, but I duplicate it in her honor. It's as close as I can seem to get.
Portuguese Sweet Rice in a Slow Cooker
- 7 cups of milk
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1 more cup of milk
- a stick of cinnamon
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- a long strip of lemon peel
- ground cinnamon for serving
- Combine 7 cups of milk, the rice, the sugar, the lemon peel, and the stick of cinnamon in a large slow cooker. Cook on high 4 hours. Stir.
- In a large bowl, combine the beaten eggs, 1 cup milk, and vanilla extract. Temper in the egg (this means slowly add some hot rice & milk to the cold egg and milk, stirring constantly, until the egg mixture is the same temperature as the hot rice mixture. Then, stir the egg mixture back into the crock).
- Cover and cook on high another hour to two hours. Remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick.
- Serve covered in ground cinnamon, either hot, room temperature, or chilled.