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May 10, 2010 - Digressions with Ham and Custard

Our villa was made in the 1700s from stone and wood, which makes it one of the most amazingly memorable places we've ever stayed - and completely priceless.
However, if it is low 50s outside (which it was at night), it is 60s inside (and low 60s near the floor).
Ella's a hearty little creature and slept through the cold the first night from sheer exhaustion, but just couldn't quite hack it the next night where her crib has her so near the cold, stone floor.

So, I held her for a while until Jill set me up with blankets and pillows. This is how we slept a couple of nights until we got the heat on.

I'm still thrilled to be here.
Ella has no f-ing idea where here is.

Since we can't find avacados anywhere in Portugal or Spain, breakfast (with sweet potatoes and pears) result in a morning battle for which Gaby seems most equipped.
Our girls curl up in the kitchen next to the oven (yup) and Ella gets her morning cow juice.

We get over to the monkey house and hang out until Kevin comes back from the Monday market with the prize of the trip - a whole leg of presunto (Portugese for jamon iberico, which is Spanish for proscuito).

As was our dream last night, we hang it from the rafters in the living room as our own presunto carving station.

Kevin ceremoniously concentrates on the first carves (which take a while to get to the meat).

The ham is as big as Ella!

Before anyone else even gets back, we [mostly Kevin] have it cut down to good meat.

OK, well-fed and at least a bottle of wine into our morning (Moscow - I know country fans have a saying, "It's 5:00 somewhere," but in Athens, GA, we said "It's 12:00 somewhere." I have a personal rationale that if you can name a place where you know they are in the 12:00 hour, you can drink before noon, so MOSCOW! - back to the story), well-fed, we head into Ponte de Lima to check out the market for ourselves.

We walk up and down the aisles of tents.

We finally find what I've been wanting to share with Jill and Gaby (since I heard about it from Rick Steves and Abs shared with me the night before) - custard cakes or pastel de Belem, after the original bakery.

They are so good, I bought all that two stands had to take on the bus trip the next day.
(This bakery has none left.)

A look across Rio Lima from the market.

OK - fast forward a couple of bottles and about 1/2 pound of ham and you get to dinner.
Guess what? More wine!

This is the families' side of the table.

Dames and Holly sit in front of a plate of meat (featuring ham AND sausage), which they placed in front of every 3-4 people.

By this point, Kevin's particularly happy.


OK, Kyle's over it.

Ella's ready to go, though!

The Paris mishpukhe (I looked up 'clan' in Yiddish) poses with the soon-to-be-member Kyle next to Grandma.
L-R: Jill (Paul's wife), Paul (Ev's dad), Holly (Josh's wife), baby Will (Josh & Holly's kid), Josh (Evan's step brother), Audry (Evan's half-sister and youngest sibling), Kyle, Evan, Alison (Chad's girlfriend), Chad (Evan's half-brother), Grandma, and cousin Ali.
What a good lookin' family!