Maria Lawton, known as the “Azorean Green Bean,” is proud to announce the arrival of her debut cookbook, Azorean Cooking: From My Family Table to Yours, a collection of more than 60 recipes that celebrates the traditions of Azorean cooking, culture, and family. Officially launching on June 19th, her book will be available for purchase for $27.99 on Amazon as well as local bookstores across Massachusetts.
Since 2010, Lawton has developed the popular “Azorean Green Bean” Facebook page, where she shares step-by-step recipes along with photos and videos of the Azores with her quickly growing fan base of more than 8,000 followers from around the world.
“For more than four years, I have made it my mission to preserve my family recipes,” said Lawton. “At first, I just wanted to make sure they would be passed down to my children and future generations – but now, I want to share them with everyone who might miss their Azorean mother or grandmother’s cooking, or whoever wants to know how to recreate the tastes and smells of the past. This has been a wonderful journey home for me, and I hope this helps others on their journey, too.”
In Azorean Cooking: From My Family Table to Yours, Lawton shares powerful memories of her family and cooking experiences as she walks readers through an array of recipes, ranging from popular Azorean dishes – including Arroz Doce (Sweet Rice Pudding), Massa Sovada (Sweet Bread) and Sopa de Couve (Kale Soup) – to classics like Cozido (Boiled Dinner), Caçoila (Marinated Pork), and Camarão Moçambique (Shrimp Mozambique). Throughout the collection, Lawton makes the cooking process simple, educational, and enjoyable, with a constant focus on a delicious end result.
“I’m not a trained chef, and I don’t pretend to have any professional techniques,” said Lawton. “I only profess to have a love for the meals that mean so much to me, and for the family members I get to share those meals with.”
Lawton was born on the semi-tropical island of São Miguel, the largest of nine islands that make up the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal located nearly a thousand miles off its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. At age six, Lawton moved to the United States with her family and settled in a Portuguese community in southeastern Massachusetts. Growing up, Lawton was teased with a number of names like “Portagee,” “Fava Bean” and “Greenhorn,” but would always answer with, “Thank you – I’m proud of it!” Her nickname today of “Azorean Green Bean” is an embrace of these cultural elements and a reflection of pride.
“Many people are unfamiliar with the Azores,” said Lawton. “Although there are many similarities between our islands and Portugal, I hope people who read this book gain a better understanding of what it means to be Azorean and all of the wonderful, unique aspects of our culture.”
After marrying and having three daughters, Lawton wanted them to experience the tastes and smells that she remembered from her childhood. However, most of the recipes were lost with the passing of her mother and grandmother, who failed to properly write them down. Lawton set out to find the recipes on her own, enlisting the help of family and friends while traveling back to São Miguel to reconnect with her roots.
For more information, please visit the Azorean Green Bean website.