saw – Dona Lucinha was very proud of her city. Wherever she went, she carried the Serro flag in her suitcase and in her heart. She knew all the cultural richness that existed there and, throughout her life, she did everything to make it known to the world as well. The legacy of the cuisine of the lady of Minas Gerais is strengthened with the Dona Lucinha festival, launched last weekend by the Projeto Fartura, which bears her name, is held every year in her homeland and gives visibility to the flavors and to the knowledge of that place.
“Mom was a daring woman, but not even in her wildest dreams she imagined receiving a tribute of this magnitude,” points out one of her daughters, historian Mrcia Nunes.
Dona Lucinha has won important prizes and medals, she was honored by Salgueiro na Sapuca, with a samba-enredo on the kitchen of Minas Gerais, but for Márcia to see her mother worshiped at a festival in her city is much more symbolic and moving, a ” arrow in the soul ».
In its first edition, the Dona Lucinha Festival has occupied the entire Praça Joo Pinheiro, at the foot of the huge staircase, postcard of the city, which gives access to the Church of Santa Rita. According to the organization, 4,500 people passed through between Saturday and Sunday.
The public had the opportunity to eat typical dishes, such as feijo ferrorado, meet the cheese producers, the white gold of the region, and hear funny and exciting stories about the chef, who passed away in 2019.
Godmother of the event, Mara Salles was honored with an invitation to honor Dona Lucinha, “an intelligent and enterprising woman ahead of her time”.
The So Paulo-based chef met her and led, together with one of her daughters, Elzinha Nunes, the Clube da Cozinha Brasileira, a movement born 20 years ago with the aim of developing Brazilian regional cuisine.
If we stop to analyze, their trajectories coincide at different times. Mara was born in Penpolis, inland from So Paulo, and is proud to be a country caipira. It was in “a deep inner environment” that she discovered gastronomy.
Opened in 1986, his restaurant, Tordesilhas, has become a benchmark in Brazilian cuisine and is on the list of the 100 best in Latin America. There are constant searches across the country. “Our territory has enough depth and richness”.
The chef has never been ashamed to serve root-based food. The Aconchego tasting menu offers everyday recipes, “creative, but with the taste and warmth of home cooking”.
In the class where she spoke, during the festival, as an inspiring tradition, Mara showed how she makes rice with different beans at the restaurant. Inspired by her grandmother’s soup, she created a rice soup with bean broth, accompanied by cassava biju, seasoned egg yolk and smoked sausage.
Dona Lucinha did the same. When her husband became mayor and she took over as First Lady, she broke completely with tradition.
“My grandmother prepared banquets with all the pomp, she sent for wine in BH, but my mother didn’t. They served the most delicious things we had, cachaa, lemonade, hominy, chicken with okra, ”says Márcia. She nor she listened to those in the family who thought it was absurd. In the end, the guests were thrilled. Juscelino Kubitschek, the JK, was one of them.
On this visit to Serro, Mara Salles reinforced her vision of the sophistication of Minas Gerais cuisine. “I think that the cuisine of Minas Gerais is exquisite, rich in finishing, with a subtlety of gestures and I have always been enchanted by it.”
According to her, the gesture of throwing the boiling fat onto the plate during the preparation of the baited beans was stimulating. This high-impact image is the most precious aspect of the trip.
To teach her the recipe was Maria Garcia, a retired teacher, daughter of a herdsman, who has already made fruit sellers to sell and lives in the kitchen. Fermented beans were the troop’s breakfast, strong enough to withstand the long journeys on donkeys.
Line the pan with flour to receive the beans (not overcooked and with a little broth) and seasoned with minced garlic and salt. The moment you throw hot fat on it (she uses lard, but it can be olive oil), the magic happens. “The beans sizzle, looking like they’ve been stir-fried,” describes Maria. Finally, fried and crackling egg.
respect and gratitude
Dona Lucinha was very well represented by the family. At their restaurant stand, with units in BH and So Paulo, daughters Márcia, Elzinha and Helosa served two classic snacks: angu pastries stuffed with cheese (from Serro, of course), plantain flambé in cachaa and sole of beef and sausage with brown sugar sauce.
There they received compliments and heard stories of people who had lived with their mother. There has been a lot of talk about respect and gratitude.
In a moment of emotion, surrounded by relatives, city dwellers and tourists, Elzinha taught her mother the recipe for the homily with ribs. She justified her choice of her, saying that it was the dish that Dona Lucinha served the most in the world.
The preparation begins with a “bath” of cachaa and lemon in the meat. “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve heard my mother say I had to get the pain out of the flesh.” Then, Elzinha followed the teaching that she asked the audience to repeat aloud: “Mineral food sleeps in seasoning”.
Quitoco herb has always been used by the cook and, according to her daughter, what distinguishes Minas from Serro food. Finally, add a thicker hominy and let it boil along with the ribs to get the taste.
After 33 years in So Paulo, Elzinha has returned to live in Serro. “When I was isolated, due to the extreme COVID-19, I thought: what do I want to do to be happy? I want to strengthen Mame’s legacy and my place here. ”This means preserving and spreading traditions, so they won’t be forgotten in the past.
His goal is to teach classes and organize events (there he announced his desire to teach children stew in mini wood stoves, as Dona Lucinha did with her children and grandchildren).
Elzinha’s other plan is to host guests in a three-century mansion purchased 40 years ago by her father, which is undergoing renovations. Everywhere there are objects that tell the story of the city, the family and Dona Lucinha (especially the wooden furniture made by JK’s great-grandfather, the Czech Jan Nepomuk Kub% u010Dek).
The chef announces that he will be serving a nice rural breakfast, with brown sugar couscous, sweaty cornmeal, burnt milk, country curd, among other recipes. No bakery or supermarket.
The Dona Lucinha restaurant, in So Paulo, remains open, under the command of a son and grandson of the matriarch, as well as a manager with a long stay in the house.
towards the inland
“In the interior that beats the heart of Minas Gerais.” Guided by this phrase, the Fartura Project advances through multiple cities in the state with a rich food culture and tourist attractions. The Dona Lucinha Festival becomes part of the calendar of events in Serro, followed by another edition, of the same name, in Conceio do Mato Dentro, which ends this Sunday.
As the director of the project, Rodrigo Ferraz explains, the decision to settle in two other cities of Minas Gerais points the way to enhancing the roots of our cuisine. “When we honor Dona Lucinha, we also honor mothers, grandmothers and cooks who have always prepared dishes that are our gastronomic reference”, he emphasizes.
Names like Ana Maria and Adriana Fernandes, mother and daughter, who play Santa Matula, in Ouro Preto, an indoor bistro. In Cozinha ao Vivo, the duo taught how to prepare smoked ribs with rapadura and ginger sauce, accompanied by mashed potatoes with Serro cheese.
Dona Mariinha, from Delcias de Crego da Prata, in Serro, served her dried beans in the square.
Being in one of the oldest dairy regions, with at least 300 years of history, since the founding of Minas Gerais, Serro is proud of its tradition with cheeses. And they were part of the recipes of chefs and restaurants from various parts of Brazil who participated in the festival.
In the square, Rafael Pires, from Mia, in Tiradentes, served a cheese sandwich with Serro cheese, a cup of breaded loin and okra salad with red onion. Flvio Trombino’s yam and sweet potato escondidinho, from Xapuri, BH, was au gratin with plenty of cheese made in the city.
At the Espaço Conhecimento, located in Salo do Queijo, where the free lessons took place, Joo Lima, from Fortaleza (CE), showed how cheeses can be combined with sweets from the northeast.
These include cashew brown sugar, sweets (made with sesame, cassava flour and brown sugar), bulim (biscuit made with egg whites, starch and spices) and soft cake (with a consistency of a pudding).
Canjiquinha with ribs (Dona Lucinha)
200 g of canjiquinha; 1 kg of ribs; 1 tablespoon of oil; 1 tablespoon of garlic salt; 1 tablespoon of annatto; 2 bay leaves; 1 onion, grated; 1 cup of cachaa; ½ cup of lemon juice; water is needed; smell of greenery and pepper to taste
Way of doing
Wash the ribs and put them in a pan. Cover with water and add the cachaa and lemon. Bring to the boil for a short time. Drain and reserve. Use a deep bowl to wash the little man in different waters, until well incorporated. Drain and reserve. Bring to the boil in a pan, preferably cast iron. Heat the oil and add the ribs to sauté lightly. Remove the excess fat that forms. Add the garlic salt, the onion and, finally, the annatto. Let it brown, add the water, cover and cook until it softens. Add the canjiquinha and mix well. Boil them together to flavor. Adjust the seasoning and add pepper and green smell to taste.