A couple of years ago I purchased a book online. It was a sort of scrap book called Our Familia Cookbook and Customs by Alvera Leal. It came from California. The book is handmade full of recipes with some info about the Azores and the Leal, Homen and Nogueira family. Someone must have pitched it, but their loss was my gain. It is clearly made by a mother or grandmother for her children. The other day my daughter pulled it off the shelf and brought it to me. I thought it might be interesting to share some of Mrs Leal’s recipes here. I’ve never tried it myself as I don’t eat eggs. If you make the recipe please send me a photo of you and your family enjoying it to firstname.lastname@example.org . Don’t forget to check out my Facebook Page under “Portuguese Bermudian History” .
Grandma Nogueira’s Dump Devil Cake
1 cup of sour or sweet milk
1/2 cup of chocolate
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of oil
1 tsp soda
1 tsp salt
Mix all together and beat well. Bake in greased pan in 350F oven until done.
The filling includes one small can of chopped pineapple, add a little water, 4 tbsp of sugar, 1 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of cornstarch. Mix all together and spread on cool cake.
Some time ago a person outside of Bermuda contacted me trying to connect with their birth family. Unfortunately, the birth family wanted nothing to do with them. I felt a bit sorry for the person, but they eventually went away. Ironically, the person failed to comprehend that Bermuda is a very very small place. The surname the person was looking for was not common. In reality, all the person had to do was find a Bermuda phone book and start calling everyone in it with that surname.
As a journalist, when I am trying to find someone, I often use this method. I open the phone book and try to find someone with that surname preferably in the same parish, but not necessarily. Inevitably, I will find some elderly person, and elderly people are usually helpful. I don’t know, but call this person, they will say, and after following a trail of helpful people, I will find the right person.
If you can’t access the phone book trying googling the surname and “Bermuda” and see what you come up with. Facebook the name. Run it through The Royal Gazette website at http://www.theroyalgazette.bm .
Even with a name like Smith, if you call every Smith in the phone book, you will not necessarily find someone related to that person, but you will find someone who knows that person. In Bermuda’s there’s something like two degrees of separation between people rather than six. The population is only around 60,000.
But be mindful that your long lost family members may not want to connect with you. Some families are suspicious. You may be a successful lawyer and they may be dirt poor, but they will insist that you can only be connecting with them to borrow money. Or they don’t want to talk with you because they had a falling out in 1963 with relatives connected to you. Or they know something about you they don’t want to say, or are just preoccupied with their own lives and don’t have time or emotional space to deal with you. I’m not an advocate of stalking. If you make contact and they aren’t interested then give up. Stop. Try to leave your contact details with them. Sometimes people will come back to you when their life situation is less chaotic, or their curiosity has gotten the better of them.
Useful website: http://www.bermudayp.com
That’s right, I said “Happy Holidays”. There are some people who seem to get upset at the use of “happy holidays” instead of Merry Christmas. Sometimes I tell people Merry Christmas, and sometimes I say Happy Holidays. There are two reasons for this. One, there are several other religions that celebrate holidays in December. A couple of people I know celebrate the winter solstice today. I hope they have a happy holiday.
You don’t always know what the other person celebrates. I remember one Christmas when I was just starting out as a journalist, I sent Christmas cards to all my contacts. One doctor I had interviewed came back with a slightly embarrassed “Thanks but I am Muslim.”
And I know what it is like to be on the other end. When I went to school in the US, in November I was constantly being wished a Happy Thanksgiving, no matter how much I explained that actually Thanksgiving is not a holiday in Bermuda. (Although, we sometimes go to the supermarket and buy Thanksgiving takeout.) It wasn’t offensive, but sort of annoying.
At this time of year I say, “Happy Holidays” because I am not so arrogant as to think that the faith was raised in is the only one that counts in the world. Second, I say Happy Holidays to incorporate New Years and Boxing Day which are also part of the season.
Christians also seem to complain a lot about “Xmas” thinking that somehow it means that Christ has been crossed out. Quite honestly I can’t imagine why a non religious person would choose to cross out Christ but leave the “mass” which indicates a period of worship.
Actually in this case X is more of a symbol than a letter of the English alphabet.”Xmas” has been used since the 1500s in England and seems to refer to the Greek way of writing “Chr”. In ancient Christian paintings the symbol, X and XP were used to denote Christ. Sometimes the symbol XC was used to mean Christmas. So Xmas is a case of just when you think Christ is missing, there he is.
Other words that use to commonly have an X include Xstal (Crystal), Xant for Chrysanthemum. In the 17th century Xene was a common way of spelling Christine.
So get a grip, Happy Holidays and Merry Xmas.