It’s automatic: when January comes, holiday season, I’m transported to my childhood. I remember, with plenty of details, my family organizing the whole trip: we would leave from Salvador by boat, to São Roque, a small own in the Recôncavo Baiano. From there we would take a train to Engenheiro Franco station, where the first part of the tour began: about three days in the house that dad built for us to rest, while he checked the progress of his small cheese factory.
Business was aimed especially at the manufacture of a product similar to Catupiry, in addition to butter and cream. While he worked there, my greatest fun was to run to the nearby creek to go fishing with my brother. We used a bottle with some cheese as bait. We used to dunk the bottle in the water and then pull back. She came back full of ‘trairinhas’, a tiny fish that we ate fried, breaded, like a little ‘manjubinha’. My mother already knew: when people left for this adventure, she had to include this appetizer before dinner. Another frequent ingredient in São Roque was the cheese made by my father as stuffing of everything, especially of fritters, in the fashion of ‘pastel’, or roasted, like pie. It was also used a lot to gratin some dishes, as today we do with ‘escondidinho’.
From San Roque, we went to the family farm in Santa Ines, only a few miles away. Up there, my joy was to play of serving people, inside the mud house that my father built for me in the yard. I brought the food from the house, set the table and called everyone (parents, grandparents, neighbors, settlers) to eat. The flagship was a very golden, ring-shaped loaf that went into the oven, and then, made into small pieces, dipped in a steaming dish of chicken broth. The taste was very similar to that of a chicken soup.
Another activity I loved was staying at the little window pretending I was selling chips. I also liked to set the table at lunchtime, in the middle of the afternoon. Then I served a very golden ring-shaped bread moistened with milk, sugar, cinnamon, which was then put into the oven. Taste is very similar to that of the French toast.