Memory Dishes
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The

da Graça Family

My grandmother, her mom, said that you always made food for more than two people, an extra two people, just in case there’s somebody walking by that wants to enjoy a meal with you
— Margarida

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.

 
 

 

Join the women of the da Graça family, Joanna and Margarida, as they prepare cachupa in their home kitchen. This video highlights select moments from a filmed cooking and interview session documented by the media team at Computing and Information Services in partnership with the Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice at Brown University curatorial team for the 2019 exhibition Memory Dishes.