da Graça Family
Cachupa, Katxupa, Manchup
When Joanna da Graça makes cachupa—a six hour slow-cooked stew of beans, greens, corn, and meat or fish—the scent wafts through the house. As a child, greeted by the familiar smell, Joanna’s daughter Margarida would skip breakfast and lunch in preparation for the hearty stew. Today, Joanna makes a pot with meat for the majority of the family and a separate vegan pot for her daughter Margarida. The dish can be adapted, but its value remains unchanged in the homes of da Graça and other Cape Verdeans.
Cachupa has nourished the family through the Cape Verdean independence movement, migration to Portugal, and their current life in Providence. While it is referred to as the national dish of Cape Verde, each island has its own variation with several pronunciations—cachupa, katxupa, or manchup. In Cape Verde, the da Graça’s cachupa pot was large, holding enough stew for any passerby to partake in the meal. In Providence, where the da Graça family has lived on the same street for 30 years, their cachupa pot has gotten smaller as the city’s once concentrated Cape Verdean community is dispersed by gentrification. Still, cachupa is the glue that holds this community, and Cape Verdeans around the diaspora, together.