Over Dinner

Positively Autumnal: Stuffed Pumpkins with Brined, Roasted Chestnuts.

Our Positively Autumnal Meal: Stuffed Pumpkins with Brined, Roasted Chestnuts.


(sitting down to dinner, Molly lazing on the sofa having ate earlier)

Pai: Before I sit can anyone see anything missing? I don’t want to get back up again.

Hank: Azeite (Olive Oil).


Pai: Can we split one?

Me: For sure.

Pai: (dashing back into the kitchen)


Me: Well, I made enough food I think.

Hank: To be honest I am not sure how I will feel about the pumpkin.

Me: As long as you try it I will allow you to pass it over to your papa or I and you can just eat the stuffing.

Hank: Oh, I will try it. I am now adventurous about food.

Pai: Today’s meal looks like a fall romance.

Me: (blushing because I know that he knows that I LOVE a fall romance)

Pai: (winking at me)  Stuffed roasted pumpkin is my favorite. Very American.

Me: And I love chestnuts.

Pai: Making up for those lost chestnut years.

Me: (lamenting) OH! Do not remind me! So sad now that I know chestnuts are one of my favorite foods.

Hank: What are we talking about?

Me: When we lived on Ohio when I was your age we had a beautiful chestnut tree and every year we’d rake up all the glorious chestnuts and compost them away with the fallen leaves.

Hank: Really?

Me: My mom, your Grammy, survived two fires and she was worried the chestnuts would cause another one because of a terrible rumor about exploding chestnuts. Rumors ruin everything in America.

Pai: Which can happen if you don’t cut them. They pop like popcorn eventually.

Me: So do baked potatoes if they’re not pierced. Regardless, we didn’t know how to properly roast a chestnut so off they went. I also used to fall on the burrs while playing or step on them because I was religiously against shoes until the first snow fall. (donning a slight British twinge to my voice) “Yes, and her petticoat; I hope you saw her petticoat, six inches deep in mud, I am absolutely certain..”

Hank: Huh?

Pai: Never mind your mother; she’s slipped away into literature again.

Hank: Chestnut spiky shells are the worst. I fell on one at Alice’s house. I was walking and all of a sudden I was falling and then all of a sudden life was horrible and you were pulling espinhos (thorns) out of my leg.

Me: True story, but the best foods protect themselves from predators (devouring a roasted chestnut carnivorously). Om nom nom nom nom nom. (grinning)

Hank: (giggling)

Pai: How was your day?

Hank: Good, I have a test tomorrow in Portuguese. Mostly we’re still reviewing from 4th grade so I am confident, but I am still studying more after dinner.

Me: A wise choice.

Hank: Also in gym we were forced to… I don’t know how to say it in English… um, you know when you, like, flip upside down against a wall and, like, hold yourself up by your hands? What’s that called?

Me: A headstand?

Hank: YES! Yes, we had to all do headstands in gym class until we were proficient.

Me: WOW, that’s cool. The only thing I had to learn to proficiency in my elementary gym class was dodge ball.

Hank and we’re also going to learn that one thing (miming a cartwheel)… You know?

Me: A cartwheel?

Hank: Yes!

Me: Oh good! That is my one regret in life.  I never learned how to do a cartwheel and the look like the most fun ever.

Pai: And did you? Can you do a headstand?

Hank: Of course.

Me: You should do it after dinner before you study!

Pai: Why exactly?

Me: A: Because I want to see and 2: Because headstands will make you smarter.

Pai: I’m a doctor of cognitive science and developmental psychology and I have no idea what you’re talking about.

Me: Headstands make all the blood rush to your brain, therefore making you smarter, obviously.

Pai: What pop-science, hippie-dippy rag-mag did you pull that out of?

Hank: (laughing)

Me: Um…

Pai: Back up your sources, Hanford.

Me: Oh, I will, Stôr (slang for Sénior Doutor or Doctor-Professor the formal way to address a professor at university)!!! Right after I finish these delicious chestnuts! Yum!

Hank: Oh I’m doing a headstand anyway. I agree with mama! Blood to my brain HAS to make me smarter!

Me: (fist up in defiance) SCIENCE BE DAMNED!!!!!

Pai: OR it will make you pass out and vomit up your dinner, but you do you, Hank. Remind me to explain placebo effect at some point soon.

Me: (positively purple with laughter)

No one vomited and we will see how much smarter Hank is after his Portuguese test!

No one vomited and we will see how much smarter Hank is after his Portuguese test!