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Caldo Verde Is Not Stone Soup

Persons, Names, Words, and Proverbs in Portuguese America


George Monteiro

Caldo Verde Is Not Stone Soup identifies elements of an emerging Portuguese American culture in the United States. The book discusses subjects and themes that reflect the richness and diversity of this culture. Included are analyses of the Portuguese fondness for nicknames over surnames, pejorative terms ("portugee," "Gee"), beau ideal heroes (John Philip Sousa, John Dos Passos, and Peter Francisco), now forgotten early emigrants, foreign visitors to the Azores (Samuel Longfellow and Thomas Wentworth Higginson), proverbs from the oral and literary traditions, the Portuguese sailor on American ships, and the saga of English As She Is Spoke, a serious-minded textbook that became a comic phenomenon.

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Chapter 9: Denizens of the Land of Nod


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Occasionally, and usually by chance, one discovers the name of one of those many nondescript “unknowns” whose very existence is a fact lost to time and history over the long centuries of the Portuguese Diaspora. Thus the import of the “recoveries” of men living in eighteenth-century Philadelphia (a “gentleman” from Madeira and a Roman Catholic painter-glazier), a colorful bartender in mid-nineteenth-century New Orleans, the ancient survivor of what was “probably the oldest living family in the United States,” and a whole neighborhood of sea-faring folk in New York in the 1880s, as well another matter or two.


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