20,000 Thank Yous

Reprint of New Portuguese Table

Well, today was already special because it’s The One’s birthday. We have a whole bunch of festivities planned to mark this momentous occasion: a) my setting up the new stereo system I bought him (The One is a horrible technophobe and simply refuses to interact with the iPod that docks on the stereo—no matter how much our friend Ellen, the media-tech goddess, tells him that it’s the future); b) a stroll down Fifth Avenue to see all the holiday decorations (yes, we’re gluttons for punishment because we know we’ll be pushed, elbowed, stepped on, and carried along by the throng of holiday revelers, but, hey, our walk is a 16-year-old tradition); and c) a quiet dinner at Hearth (he’s been craving venison, and they have it on a special tasting menu). Now, for anyone, that would be a fantastic, memorable, write-in-your-journal day.

But I just got an e-mail from Rica Allannic, my editor for The New Portuguese Table, telling me the book is going into a second printing—fewer than four months after it was published! (You know how excited I must be because I rarely use exclamation points—too 1978 high school yearbook-ish for me.) This second printing means there will be 20,000 books in print by February 1st—which is perfect timing because I’m scheduled to be on a terribly big, terribly important morning TV show (can’t say which right now) in March. After doing a victory lap around the family room in CT and tripping over a quilt on the floor, I started blubbering. I mean, real “Find My Family”-type bawling. You see, after having spent the better part of a decade working on this book in one way or another, going broke in the process, severing my Achilles tendon (oh, yes, I will work this till the day I die), and basically driving The One nearly insane with my obsessiveness, I had no idea how it would sell.

But as Rica said, “Your peeps are loyal and supported you.”

So I want to thank each and every one of you who bought a book, or two, or twenty. (One woman actually bought twenty, one for everyone in her family and in her circle of close friends, bless her heart. There’s a special condo in heaven with that woman’s name on it.) Honestly, I thought the printed word was heaving its last phlegm-rattled breath and that because of the Internet and the birth of the Kindle, books were dead. But I admit it publicly: I was wrong. Happily, joyously wrong. Long live the book and its irreplaceable heft, smell, and feel.

Of course with all this excitement, and my pathological tendency for narcissistic self-absorption, I have to be sure to make today about The One and not me. But it will be very hard to sit at dinner and not prattle on about this in between bites of venison. But I’ll soldier on. After all, it’s his day. Right? Right?

(By the way, many of you have inquired about the vista [pictured above] that’s featured on the half title page of the book. It’s a distant panorama I took of my father’s hometown of Maia, on the island of São Miguel.)

David Leite's signature



  1. Congratulations David! Although the comment is a bit late, I wanted to say that I truly enjoyed the book and have read it cover to cover. The recipes are fantastic and you really did capture both old and new superbly. But I have to admit that what I loved the most and what sparked me was your introduction. I am Portuguese too, and after reading your comment about all the stories you had grown up with, the town fool and his donkey and the priest indulging in the desserts from the pastelaria, I was sent down memory lane to growing up with my grandmother and the stories and memories from my own family. And the same realization that the old Portugual was no more. But at the same time I was inspired and excited to get to know the new one. So thank you, the book is a gem and I will be cooking all the recipes one by one for many who are also excited to learn what Portuguese food is about.


  2. Terrific news, and richly deserved. May the new year bring you even more rewards. Ride the wave, David. Ride the wave. :)

  3. Hi, David!
    (OK, that punctuation was so 1970s of me, but I’m excited on your behalf.)
    Seriously, congratulations–that’s really fabulous news. You know how some cookbooks you buy and go on a spree of making a bunch of recipes from it for about a couple of weeks and then it sits on the shelf mostly forgotten (or you’re disgusted because apparently the first recipe you tried was great but that was the only one)? I have to say: your book is SO NOT that book. I still am drawn to it, love everything I’ve made, and have recommended this book to so many people. Ten years in the making shows. You deserve your success with this book–and everything that comes after.

    Happy, happy holidays and may 2010 bring you even more success.
    Hope to cross paths with you again sometime soon.

  4. Hi David

    Congratulations on the book. Being from Sao Miguel and also a certified chef de cuisine, I am looking forward to purchasing the book and tying out the recipes soon. I would also like to thank you for having a direct link to my photo gallery of Sao Miguel above, as per the comments in it, it has brought a lot joy to a many Micaelenses. You have a wonderfull site, very informative, and it’s allways a joy to browse through it.

    Congratulations and good luck.

    Tony Botelho

    1. Wow, Amy, thanks. You mention the leaves out the recipe for the game sausage alheira. Do you mean how to make it? If so, it’s a labrious process and calls for a smokehouse, game birds and sometimes rabbit or hare.

      1. Yes! I dream about it. One of the most delicious things ever. Sorry to hear it’s so hard to make because I’ve never seen it outside of Portugal.

  5. Dear David:

    As the editor of your 1978 high school yearbook, I most certainly would have frowned upon the overuse of exclamation points. However, this news deserves at least one–so congratulations on your second printing!

    1. (gulp) See, kids, that’s what you get for shooting off your mouth: an editor will always track you down and call you on it. Thanks, Suzanne. It’s much appreciated.

  6. Happy birthday to The One, the only One! I hope you have an over the top wonderful, celebratory day.

    And David, congratulations on the second printing. We all knew you were on to something.

  7. Congratulations, David—that’s wonderful news!! (see, two exclamation points). Very best of the season to you and yours.


  8. Wonderful news, David. Congratulations! We’ll toast you and The One tonight as well‐it’s Jeremy’s birthday, too.

  9. Hi David,

    I just had the most interesting conversation with my father…I guess I should explain!

    With Christmas right around the corner, I’ve been searching for ideas on what to get my in-laws. After asking my parents for their advice, they quickly said, “Why don’t you get your cousin’s cookbook for them, I’m sure they will love it!”

    That’s where the interesting part comes in! I thought to myself, “Of course, a cookbook is a great idea, but more wonderfully surprising and interesting is that I have a cousin who has a cookbook highlighting our background.”

    From what I understand, our fathers are first cousins (L. Tomas), and our paternal grandmothers were sisters! I have many, many fond memories of visiting your grandmother and the rest of the family in Somerville, MA, where cooking was always the highlight of our trip! And now, after finding your website, I see a beautiful picture of our AMAZING island making the story come full circle. Every time I’ve visited Sao Miguel, and Maia especially, I get this feeling of how special the place is. It becomes more and more special everytime! Congratulations on all your accomplishments and much success with your book!

    Wishing you and your ( I guess our :-) …lol ) entire family a very Merry Christmas.

    Patricio Tomas

    1. Patricio, Wow, this is a blast from the past. Thanks for writing. Yup, just got off the phone with my parents, and, we are, indeed, related. In fact, I was in Maia not too long ago visiting your aunt Elvira, who lives in the house my family grew up in. I wish you—and, yes, our— family a happy holiday season.

      1. Wow, truly amazing… but wait, there’s more…I just found out there is a WTNH connection as well. As they say, small world. Well, if you are ever in the New Haven or Hartford area, please let me know. It would be great to get together sometime.


    1. Thanks, Dianne. Much appreciated. I’ll check into the e-book situation. But everyone listen up: If you want to be a food writer of any kind, and successful to any degree, pick up a copy of Dianne’s book, either in print or electronic form. It’s required reading for my students when I teach. It’s fantastic.

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