Sunday, April 4, 2010

CHIPAAA, CHIPA RICA CHIIIPAAA what you normally hear coming from the mouths of the chipa sellers on the bus or the street. Chipa is very famous here in PY; as a mid day snack (marienda), or in the morning with some codico or mate. Sometimes it takes the form of a yellow bagel, a mini loaf of bread or, in the event that I’m making it, stars and smiley faces. Now I don’t make it often, in fact I’ve only made it once, and that was this past Wednesday the 31st of March or chipa day. The 31st of march is the day that all of Paraguay is making chipa. Now why would everyone be slaving over a hot tatakua when you can just go out to the street and find someone selling it? Because it’s tradition. It’s like us coloring eggs, it’s done every year for Semana Santa (Easter). The reason is that Friday, the 2nd, no one eats meat, so there must be chipa around to sustain and nourish the body for this day.
I, of course, wanted to get in on the activity of some imposter bagel makin, so I headed across the street to the neighbors house to check things out, laugh, get laughed at and share some semana santa traditions… specifically, chipa making.

We started in the kitchen…like ya do, first my neighbor Maria started with mixin of the chipa mix.

Ingredients: mandioca or some other sort of starch
Butter or fat (Some make chipa w pig fat, you can because when you bite it it squeaks)
Queso Paraguay (PY has it’s very own cheese… they love it and are v proud of it, I have yet to Share their enthusiasm)

Mix and mash and fold it all together until a Paraguayan tells you it feels right (to my untrained hands it felt the same the whole time, like playdough)

Mold it into a traditional bagel shape or mini loaf of bread or if you invite a
Norte (me) over they might make untraditional shapes like hearts and fish.

Next have some lunch

Then a siesta

Then heat up the tatakua (brick oven) by starting a fire in it and letting it get
really hot, while it’s getting hot have some terere and make a broom out of a
long branch and leaves

when the tatakua feels like bowels of hell, spread it about so it’s just hot
coals and sweep them out the side of the tatakua with the long tree broom

Then put in the trays of chipa into the hot tatakua and cover the entrance so they can cook.

Apparently you just know when they done

Next take them out, let them cool, eat some, give some to other people and
and save the rest for fri (the day of no meat, except fish, and chicken, all the meat is eaten thrusday night for the last supper)!!

It’s a very nice tradition involving many family members, also neighbors come as well because some don’t have their own tatakua

Easter Sunday isn´t that big of a deal here as it is up there, i think. It´s called pasqua and everyone is just supposed to be happy that jesus came back from the dead. zombie jesus. and today you are also allowed to hit ppl your age and younger since during the other days of semana santa you couldn´t. So you can get it all out of your system today. Praise the Lord!

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