Sopa Paraguaya

My informant is the daughter of an indigenous Paraguayan Guaraní woman. She shared the story of how a certain Paraguayan dish came to be.

“So the story of Sopa Paraguaya is basically that there- we had like this one dictator, I don’t remember which dictator it was. *laughs* Yeah, there’s a lot. Um, they ended in the, like, early 90s? So I don’t- democracy is recent. Anyways, so the point is that we had this dictator and he was not a wonderful person, and he hired a cook. And basically, like, he was notorious for basically murdering his cooks if they gave him food that he didn’t like to eat. Um, and so he asked the cook to make him, like, soup. Like ‘what’s the best soup that you have in Paraguay?’ Which is bori bori but we’re not going to get into that. Um, and so the cook, you know, he basically tries to make him this corn soup but what ends up happening is he like, leaves it on the stove for too long and it turns into like a cake- bread- it’s cornbread basically. And, he brings it to the dictator – I wanted to say the king, that’s how ridiculous the story is – and, the dictator was just like ‘Oh my god! What is this? This isn’t soup!’ and the cook, you know, terrified for his life – and it’s important to note, at this point, that the dictators are never, like, Guaraní or like indigenous, like, they’re white- they’re “Caucasian”- they’re European, so they don’t know shit about our culture or anything like that. So he was like ‘Alright, well, what… like what the hell this isn’t soup’ and then the cook was like ‘Okay I gotta save my life here… Uh, this is Paraguayan soup! This is how we do it here, in the P.Y. *laughs* and… basically the dictator’s like ‘Fine, whatever’ and ate it and was like “Oh my god this is so good! Um, you’re not gonna get murdered.” and that’s the story of Sopa Paraguaya or Chipa Guazu.”

I’m really happy about the fact that I was able to hear this story from someone of indigenous Paraguayan descent, as I believe she has more of a humorous and grounded way of looking at the legend involving a white dictator being tricked and his frightened cook.