The Mistress of Portugal’s Alentejo

Ilda Vinagre

Ilda’s version of the Sword and the Rose

The town of Terrugem, in Portugal’s vast Alentejo region, hangs from highway A-6 like a comma, so small it seldom pauses traffic. One cloudless afternoon several years ago, I was the only driver to slow and turn to enter the village’s surprisingly grand gates. My passenger was then-52-year-old Ilda Vinagre, one of the only female chefs in Portugal to have earned Michelin stars. She had never gotten around to getting her driver’s license, so every day she relied upon the kindness of friends—or, in my case, a stranger—for a lift. I’m playing chauffeur because, according to Ilda, the only way I can get to know her is the Portuguese way: to be a guest in her home. And, as I quickly found out, “no” was not an acceptable answer. Read more »

Cod and Shrimp Stew with Quinoa

Cod and Shrimp Stew with Quinoa Recipe

Yes. You saw that recipe title right. Cod and shrimp stew with quinoa. I, the last great holdout when it comes to anything remotely healthy, am trying to embrace good-for-me foods, and from my research, quinoa seems to be a gateway grain (well, actually, it’s a seed). Perhaps this behavior is due to delusions or a bad case of light-headedness brought on by eating way fewer calories, but maybe next week I’ll even try farro, kamut, millet. Who knows? It’s all part of my plan to transform from Fatty Daddy to Phatty Daddy in 2015. Understand that I’m not giving up all those marvelous things I love, namely anything slathered with duck fat. I’m just adding some other things that I’d always thought I hated. I guess I’m not that different from Mikey in the old Life cereal commercials. (All you millennials, check out the video below if you’ve no idea what I’m talking about.) Read more »

How Not to Talk to a Fat Person

Picnic

I’m fat.

I think that’s pretty obvious the moment you meet me. (Although it’s not always so easy to tell online. I’m a whiz at Photoshop.) What’s not so obvious is that underneath these copious folds of Fatty Daddy flesh is someone grossly unhappy with and sensitive about his weight. Unfortunately, all this corpulence doesn’t buffer me from the insane ways people have of talking to me about my weight.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not the easiest person with whom to broach the topic of weight. When you’re obese, you’re defensive. At least I am. And the heavier I get, the more defensive I become. But when The One jiggles my stomach and says he’s rubbing the Buddha belly for good luck, I mean, come on, people! If you prick us, do we not bleed? Read more »

Daily Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of our updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the first on your block to be in the know.

Preview daily e-mail

Weekly Subscription

Hate tons of emails? Do you prefer info delivered in a neat, easy-to-digest (pun intended) form? Then enter your email address for our weekly newsletter.

Preview weekly e-mail

The David Blahg Subscription

Enter your email address and get all of the The David Blahg updates sent to your inbox the moment they're posted. Be the envy of knowledgeable, savvy cooks everywhere. Sassy!

Preview