Recently, at the Newark home of António and Magda Araujo, Mr. Alexandre and his wife, Maria, cooked up a lamb feast. But instead of cooking it whole, they had Mr. Lopes butcher it to show off two Easter favorites — borrego assado (roasted legs of spring lamb) and guisado de borrego (lamb stew). The scene, as Mrs. Araujo described it, was typically Portuguese: “loud and fast.”
“Everything is better with olive oil!” Mrs. Alexandre shouted as she rubbed some into the lamb legs. Mr. Alexandre countered with voluminous and rapid-fire requests for bowls, pans and cutting boards. Their frantic pas de deux continued, and they dipped and spun to avoid elbows and sharp knives as they whirred garlicky pastes in the food processor, peeled potatoes and dressed the meat. In under 45 minutes, four pans along with a flan were ready for the stove. Ervilhas com ovos, a staple of peas and bacon topped with poached eggs, would be made right before dinner.
A short time later, half a roast suckling pig from Valença and both lamb dishes were nestled in the center of the table. Potatoes, rice, bread and the egg-topped peas filled the gaps. Around the table sat 10 hungry guests.
Dinner was suddenly interrupted by the bleating of Mr. Alexandre’s cellphone. A Portuguese woman was stranded on the highway and called for a tow. He stood up, popped another chunk of lamb into his mouth, and shrugged on his jacket.
“Got to take care of our own,” he said, heading for the door. “It’s how we survive.”
from a nyt article on the portuguese community in new jersey and their easter traditions.
the excerpt above actually happens everyday at my home, with my dad running out of the table to help some distressed driver on the highway :)