The Other Side of the Family’s Reunion

by | May 2, 2010 | Family Traditions, Side Dishes

If you have read our cookbook you will know that our mother’s side of the family is of Danish descent. Our father’s side of the family is of Portuguese decent, but you would never know it by the surname, Calhoun. Both of our father’s parents’ families immigrated to California from the Azores Islands, which belong to Portugal. When our father’s grandfather came to America (legend has it he jumped ship in the San Francisco Bay sometime in the 1800s), he changed his name from de Cuhna to Calhoun. I hate to admit it, but he may have done us a favor. Kids made fun of the last name Calhoun, I can only imagine what fun they would have had with de Cuhna.

The Calhoun Family at the 2010 reunion

Almost every year we have a Calhoun family reunion with a potluck. It used to be that every few years a Portuguese dish, such as soupas or linguisa, would show up at the reunion, but for the last few years we have tried to have a Portuguese theme for the food. This year our cousin Colin brought Portuguese beer, soda, cheese, fish, and sweet bread.  Our cousin Jeff brought a Portuguese sweet bread with purple yam filling and another sweet bread with a coconut filling. Both of these breads tasted great.

Canned fava beans

A tasty Portuguese beer

Portuguese soda

Octopus in hot sauce

Sweet bread with purple yam filling

For the second year in a row our cousin Chris brought a fava bean dish that was one of the most popular dishes. We eat these fava beans as an appetizer by spearing them with toothpicks.  Below is his recipe.

Marinated Fava Beans


  • 4 to 6 cups fava beans
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 quart water
  • 3 to 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 hot chili pepper (optional)


Boil the fava beans approximately 1 to 2 hours in salted water until tender. Drain the beans. In a large bowl mix the fava beans with the chopped garlic and chili pepper and set aside.  Mix the remaining ingredients to make a dressing. Pour the dressing over the beans, mix well, cover and refrigerate overnight. Mix well before serving.

NOTE: Our cousin Chris likes his recipe to have a bite, so he uses serrano peppers with the seeds.

Comer bem, beber bem, e viver bem!

To eat well, to drink well, is to live well!