Meeting Diogo is proof of the power of social media: someone referenced REKKI to me, then I found a Portuguese guy working there as Project Manager. While stalking him online, Instagram showed me we had one friend in common, and she put us in contact. I suggested flying to Amsterdam to meet him at REKKI’s headquarters. Diogo took a week to answer me. I thought this meeting would never happen. He simply answered: I am flying to Portugal with my family this week, come and visit us at my parents’ house. So, on a Sunday morning, I went on a two-hour trip with a bunch of strangers (Diogo’s friends) heading to Salvaterra de Magos.

“REKKi is a free mobile app that lets you order and chat with any supplier.” Sounds easy, right? But what they achieve with the app is something that no one has ever done before: creating an effective interface (think something like UberEats) where you can choose the supplier, check their inventory and make very specific orders (like which cut of the salmon you want), all within the same app. This obliterates the need for late-night calls after service is over, and it organizes the orders for each supplier in a comprehensive way.
Arriving at Quinta da Lagoa means being brought inside, straight into the kitchen, by Natércia, Diogo’s mother. José, the father, is by the pool preparing Gin and Tonic for everyone. They are an energetic and bubbly couple. Natércia instantly memorized my name, calling me as she showed my her octopus rice, the blackberries from the bush just around the corner, and a small aromatics garden she had planted weeks ago.
The table was set for over 20 people. A meal intended to keep us nourished throughout this slow Sunday. Big Sunday lunches are part of everyone’s imagination, having experienced or not. I was thinking how much of a change it must be for Diogo and his wife and kid: flying from Amsterdam to Lisbon and being received with arms wide open. Meals have a different meaning in Portugal; they are not about ingesting food in an almost obligatory way. They are about reunion and congregation, keeping bonds alive and thriving. There’s no need to call two weeks in advance, asking to come over. At home, you can just show up and expect everyone to be there, happy to see you — all of this happening in the kitchen, around the table.
Food, home, and family: three things intertwined, reminding us of childhood and bringing us a promise of sustenance and comfort. This is what vacations mean to many of us living abroad.
You can read more about REKKI, and watch their beautiful film Lights Out, on their website.

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© alento 2021
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© alento 2021