This is going to be a totally biased review. Maria Dias has been an admin on my Facebook group since 2011. The biased aspect of this review can be quickly explained away once you experience the multimedia world she created. There is no other possible opinion you can have of her than simply amazing. When I first was introduced to Maria Dias’ blog and Facebook page the word compatriota (compatriot) came to mind. Here was a woman, living outside of Portugal, who was promoting Portuguese cuisine all over the world. What differentiated her from all the other blogs, pages and cookbooks was her passion and commitment to our cuisine. She wrote from the heart and after reading her writing you instantly felt a connection. I ran across her blog and Facebook when I created my Facebook group Cooking Portuguese Food. I thought to myself here is a person who is as crazy about Portuguese food as I am. I asked her to help me administer my group because I knew she and I shared a common vision. Maria’s food industry background helped her create a multi-pronged approach to promoting Portuguese cuisine: an internet blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Pinterest, Twitter and a cookbook (available in hard copy and digital format). Her Internet blog “Tia Maria’s Blog” is the central hub to her many spoke epicurean empire. She has so many recipes on the site that if you were to cook one a day you would go years without repeating the same dish. Some of my favorites include her piri piri chicken and her stuffed shrimp . She has a whole section dedicated to bread that will be sure to ruin your gluten free diet commitment. Her writing is simple and by this I don’t mean that she writes on a low-grade level. I mean simple in the way that she clearly and eloquently expresses her passion and her recipes are easy to understand and follow. Her YouTube channel provides easy step by step instructions and you begin to wonder why she hasn’t been signed up to do a TV show. The Azorean Green Bean better watch her back because if Maria bursts on the scene it will be lights out for that program. I say this jokingly as I love Maria Lawton and I am sure there is room on TV for two dazzling Portuguese women. Maria’s Pinterest offerings are amazing, and her photography is professional looking. It isn’t easy to photograph food but she has cracked it with striking photos that pop right off the screen and instantly make you hungry. As for Twitter if Donald Trump runs across her Tweets he will be sure to agree that “it is the greatest ever”, “totally winning” and that “no other comes close”. Finally her cookbook is the crown jewel in her Portuguese cuisine empire. “Taste Portugal 101 easy Portuguese recipes” is sure to become a tome in the Portuguese cookery category. Why do you need yet another Portuguese cookbook? Heck why not just get the recipes free from her sites? She has unique recipes in the book. My favorites include her “Portuguese Chicken with rice”, “Portuguese custard tarts” and her many delicious soul warming soups. The layout, text and photos provide an instructional quality not found elsewhere. Her writing is amazing and from the heart. Her introduction to the book is touching and reminiscent of so many Portuguese immigrants in America. Her stunning photography immerses you in the experience and provides visual guides to making dishes. I am old school when I follow a recipe. I hate reading a recipe from a screen. I like to hold the paper (or book) in my hand and not have to re-awaken an electronic device after it goes to sleep. Finally, we should support authors especially one of our own who is promoting our culture and cuisine. Maria has created a valuable resource for generations to come and buying the cookbook isn’t about generating income. In fact, Maria self-financed her book and isn’t exactly “rolling in the residuals”. I know where she is at since I am starting out with a blog of my own and it costs hundreds if not thousands of dollars. It is a labor of love with no financial benefits and people like Maria are not doing it for income. Contrary to popular belief many blogs, YouTube channels and self-financed books lose money for the creator. Maria and others like her are concerned that our culture and cuisine will fade away as successive generations of Luso -descendants forget how to make the dishes they love. Supporting these endeavors by buying cookbooks or putting up with advertisements on blog pages, helps to defray the cost of providing you with the content you love. In this case it isn’t charity to buy her book because it is one “kick ass” cookbook that is professionally made and is sure to be beaten up and stained in short time because you will be using it so much. Finally, about the woman herself: Maria came to this country as a child and didn’t speak a word of English. Her family was humble and hardworking and made a living in the food industry. Her family became a pillar in the Ludlow, Massachusetts community and she grew up to write a cookbook in her non-native language. It is hard enough to do as an immigrant and even harder as a woman. Maria has also been an inspiration to me and of great help in starting my own blog. Portuguese people can be jealous, vindictive and back stabbing. Instead of viewing my blog as a competitor and my page as a detractor from her own she embraced my ideas, gave me key advice and has cross promoted my blog. So yes I am biased in my review but how can anyone come away with any other opinion after spending time with her and experiencing her many creations?