Portuguese Pumpkin Dreams

Day 23 in our ChristmasCalendar2019!
Food: Food for soul and for the body

It is grey in the sky

Wind blows from everywhere

Rain is flying, falling, flooding

Yes, I came to Portugal for a sunny Christmas holiday

But my airplane has just landed in a storm.


Well, no need to complain.

Sun goes down after 5pm anyway.

The wind feels warm, lunch is on the table.

My dogs smile at me: they shake, they run 

They just want to play.


In just a few days it will be Christmas again!

Our home filled with family

Uncles, aunts, cousins and their other halves

Happily gathered around tasty food, 

Gifts, conversations and laughs.


Now the sun is finally back

But my mom only worries about all the cooking.

Will they like this? Will this be enough? 

I tell her “yes”. 

And we agree that, no matter what, there has to be cod on Christmas Eve

Everyone expects roasted turkey and lamb, 

Rice and roasted potatoes and carrots on Christmas Day.


I tell my mom “Don’t you worry, we have a plan!

The team is ready, we split the efforts.

We cut, we mix, we lay, we cover, we bake, we fry, we wrap, we taste

And the family’s yummy pumpkin dreams just cannot be missed!”


We might have a king or queen’s cake 

Looking like crowns covered with fruits or nuts

We might have the bizarre sweet-egg lamprey 

With her cherry eyes and almond teeth.

Or even the family favorite pumpkin-coconut pudding 

bolo rei image
Portuguese King’s Cake (Credit to Daniel Rodrigues – http://www.danielrodriguesphoto.com)

But, for me, Christmas has to start by making pumpkin dreams together.

Getting our hands dirty with flour, pumpkin and orange 

Waiting for the dough to rise, covered by a blanket.

Watching those fluffy deep-fried shapes float in the oil.

20181224_sonhos fritar
Pumpkin dreams being fried.

Dip the dreams into a sugar-cinnamon bath.

My hands might get slightly oily and cinnamon-brown.

And I may have eaten more of them than I should even before dinner time.

I smile and I know that now it is Christmas! 

Let the cod open the evening’s ceremonies

Followed by a sugar overdose. 

20181224_sonhos abob blog
After frying, we dip them in sugar and cinnamon and they are ready to be eaten!

Merry Christmas is just being here.

Feeling grateful for being healthy, being loved, being safe, being warm. 

Smiling and loving and giving what I have to those who are my family.


I can only wish that all of you find your own Christmas dreams this season.


For more info about our Portuguese Christmas food and traditions, check the links below:


King’s cake https://www.foodfromportugal.com/recipes/portuguese-king-cake/

Egg lamprey: https://www.atlasobscura.com/foods/lampreia-de-ovos-portugal

Pumpkin Dreams (not my family recipe) https://www.pingodoce.pt/receitas/sonhos-de-abobora/




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