Convivial Families…Real or Myth?

September 30th, 2011  |  Published in Culinary Creative, Learn  |  2 Comments

I come from a family that loves to indulge, whether it’s food, drink or just celebration in general.  But, over the years, we sure can get tired of ourselves.   So I’ve come to realize that cycling through marriages and relationships as my brother and I have can be a good thing….

…especially after last night.  My brother’s adventures have finally paid off, and I’ve always thought his wife-to-be is fantastic  – I am very proud to call her my sister-in-law!  But now, after meeting her brother and his Brazilian wife, I have a new-found affection for her family.  Sure – this affection originates somewhere between my taste buds and my stomach, but I really did like them too.

While her husband served, one by one, painstakingly prepared authentic Caipirinhas with the traditional Cachaça rum, Mari was in the kitchen cooking the most amazing Brazilian meal.  The star, the main course, was Moqueca – a traditional fish or seafood stew cooked in coconut milk.

This photo doesn't do Mari's meal justice; but the rich color of the glossy sauce makes my mouth water!

The conversation that ensued was all about food – different variations on the same dish, its origins, and other traditional Brazilian dishes… this is family, after all, and Mari is a woman after my own heart – it’s not often that you find another person who is in the habit of taking pictures of their food!  Soon we found ourselves passing our phones back and forth, sharing images of past and present culinary achievements.

I was surprised at how well the Caipirinha went with the dish.  The tart lime and the unique aftertaste of the Cachaça were the perfect accompaniments to the flavors in the Moqueca.  We discussed how simple the dish is, as are most traditional recipes.  The trick is in the quality of the ingredients, and an experienced sensibility to the blends of various spices and aromas – while this takes some innate talent, the more important requirements are simply time and love.  To finish, we were treated to a fresh passion fruit mousse – the perfect closer for a tropical South American meal.

While my brother now has his own happy little family and is ready to settle down, I am still on the adventure trail.  It seems that most of my romances have involved men that are more than comfortable in the kitchen, and from each I have learned at least a little something new that serves me well.  After meeting my new in-laws, I now have a greater appreciation for what I can bring to my family.  New faces, new cultures and new talents can liven up the dinner table that is normally populated with the usual suspects…

Think about that the next time you talk to that brother or sister that just can’t seem to settle down with that special someone; maybe the latest fling isn’t marriage material, but if he can cook or mix up a fabulous cocktail, he might be worth keeping at least through the holidays!  Cheers!

Laurie C. Fisher

Laurie C. Fisher, AIA is an award-winning California Registered Architect practicing in San Diego. Born a bon vivant, her main focus in architecture is in creating joyful environments, indoors and out. An avid cook and francophile, Laurie is able to impart her unique knowledge of culture, cuisine and entertaining to her projects. She can be reached at 619.252.2312 or

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  • LOVE this story! Beautiful and funny.

  • Your brand is like a sweet darling to me.