the danger in falling a couple of days behind on this project, especially at this juncture, is that the winner that you laud one day can make a hasty exit. such is the case today, where i'm writing a recap of a meal cooked to honour paraguay, a meal prepared on the day that they advanced to the quarter finals but written up on the day after they lost that quarter final to spain.
still, there's certainly no shame in their accomplishment. i don't know that anyone thought they could pull off a victory against the reigning european champions. (i didn't. -ed.) what remains remarkable, however, is the fact that they had such a good run, vaulting past the 2006 cup winners italy and fighting their way through the first elimination round, only to come up against a challenge that proved insurmountable. and in the end, it's not like they were blown away.
the supper consisted of tilapia cooked in citrus juices- predominantly orange juice, with a little lemon and lime added. note- the fish is actually cooked, roasted in an oven, folded up in parchment paper. the central and south american ceviche, where white fish is "cooked" by allowing citrus juices to act on the raw fish, is not typical in paraguay.
as a side dish, i found a recipe that called to my british heritage. it was described as a sort of south american yorkshire pudding, where a cornmeal "dough" is baked in the oven mixed with tomatoes, onions, cheese, hot peppers and cilantro (or other flavourings to taste). this is absolutely delicious, reheats well and is certainly going to be making future appearances on my table.
although i still imagine that most people would have trouble locating the country on a map, the cup chase has at least reminded people of their existence and possibly made people aware of how fascinating the country really is. the country is home to one of the world's least known unesco heritage sites, a mark of its jersuit past. it also has a significant mennonite population, something normally associated with the north, rather than south, america. (which in turn might account for the fact that german is the third most commonly spoken language in the country.)