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eat the cup, part 4


this is just silly.

i mean, i went out to dinner last night and went to caju specifically for the purpose of enjoying a mocqueca. tonight, i am staying at home to prepare the evening’s dinner (and the morrow’s lunch) and i am preparing... mocqueca.

this has to be a sign of something wrong. isn’t it weird to keep craving this? what is it about this particular fish stew that makes me happy to eat it for days on end?

simply put, mocqueca’s flavour, much like the brazilian soccer team, may be impossible to beat. the lush mixture of seafood (most commonly shrimp), tomatoes, coconut milk and spices combines the heartiness of the old world with the exotic flavour of the new. it could only come from brazil.

after all, brazil almost defines multiculturalism and diversity. before being conquered by the portuguese, brazil’s indian populations, unlike the incans or mayans, were disparate, diverse, ununified. today, the population continues to be one of the most heterogenous in the world, with roots in portugal, africa, asia, and other areas of europe (after slavery was outlawed there in the late nineteenth century, large numbers of immigrants, particularly italians, came over to work on the coffee plantations).

mocqueca finds its origins in bahia province, itself a cultural mix, being both a centre of catholicism and of candomble, the brazilian variant of voudoun.

nonetheless, one can identify elements of a unified national culture, based largely on its citizens’ reputation for warmth, great parties and dominating the world in soccer.

it’s a good thing that i like their food so much, because the way they’re playing, i have a feeling that i’m going to have a lot of opportunities to enjoy it in the coming weeks.

(you may note that i have eschewed my habitual placement of the national flag of the country whose cuisine i’m appropriating for the evening with a photograph. that photograph was taken on college street in toronto this afternoon, an hour and a half after the brazilian win.)

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