sometimes, winning is not just about, well, winning.
today's world cup results saw holland defeat the ivory coast and argentina defeat serbia and montenegro by a margin that looks more like an american football result. both of those teams, however, were favoured to win their matches and move on. angola, on the other hand, was not. by all accounts, their mexican opponents were expected to roll past them and right on to the next round.
by those standards, angola's holding mexico to a scoreless tie may be a bigger win than any. chief among the words being tossed around to describe this achievement are "brave" and "shocking". i was certainly shocked. i was getting set to pick up ingredients for enchiladas without even checking the score, so certain i was that i knew the outcome.
but having been presented with two relatively easy options thus far, i was up for a bit of a challenge. so tonight, i have cobbled together some very hasty research and prepared a dinner based on the cuisine of angola. (it seems that angolan home cookin' has already made an appearance at the cup proceedings.)
like many african cuisines, angola shows the influence of their former colonial occupiers (in this case, portugal). aside from taking a stab at making funge, a staple in the national diet, i struggled with a main dish that was a) anything close to authentic and b) not merely a derivative of a portuguese dish. i settled on a hybrid of fish made with a sauce normally used in a dish called chicken cafreal (this dish is now more popular in the formerly portuguese-ruled province of goa, but the term "cafreal betrays its origins. the dish was apparently brought to goa by africans in the service of the portuguese army, known by the english/ dutch blanket term "kaffir"). i mixed the two up because i simply didn't have the time to marinate chicken and the few sources that were available indicated that fish was more of a staple in the diet. (there is, of course, a bitter irony to preparing this: i doubtless ate better tonight than most people in angola itself.)
a tie in a soccer game may not mean much in a country that has faced and continues to face daunting problems, but there is something to be said for being able to stare down the odds and hold your ground. congratulations.