This is paçoquinha. It is, I think, one of the finest flavors in the world, or at least in all of Brazil, or at least in Campinas. I tried it on Tuesday, when my students had to bring in food representing different regions of Brazil for their Portuguese class. Of course, most of them brought in candies. Since I have been here, I have had plenty of dolce de leite, candy made out of sweet potatoes and purple potatoes, fruit gum, fresh juices, blah, blah, all that stuff. Mostly all of that is much too sweet for me and it makes my teeth hurt even to think of it.
But paçoquinha? I could bathe in it. I could cuddle up with it at night and whisper sweet nothings to its sweet little peanut ears. My god this stuff has changed my life. What is it, you ask? Picture just ground up peanuts with a little bit of sugar, held together with manioc (which is a tuber) paste. Of course, you don’t taste the manioc (“mandioca”) in it–only the peanuts. It’s kind of like if you were to isolate the peanut layer in a Snickers bar, and then grind it up. No chocolate, no caramel–but the sweetness of peanut butter. And then it is pressed into either a long cylinder and cut into small pieces, or wrapped individually as in the picture. The kids were there when I tried paçoquinha the first time and now they know that I will do anything for it. For two days in a row, the boy who calls me Queen, and the struggling boy (who I wrote about in a post last week) have brought me little pieces of paçoquinha with smiles on their faces.
On Saturday, I am going to a 10-year-old’s birthday party. She is the little sister of one of my students, who invited me yesterday. He ran into my classroom and said, “Miss Coggio, I want you to come to a party on Saturday. It’s for my little sister, so you don’t have to bring anything.” He was one of the boys who helped me with practicing my Portuguese pronunciation before Open House. So today, he presented me with an invitation:
“Rock & Roll” is actually pronounced: “Hockey Hole” or just “hock” or “hockey” because Brazilians pronounce beginning R’s like H’s. And “Hip-Hop” is pronounced “Ippie-Oppie” because H’s aren’t pronounced at all and they like to enunciate the P’s at the ends of words. So the university UNICAMP is pronounced “OO-nee-com-pee” and the private university, PUCC, is pronounced “Pookie.” Let me tell you how much I laughed when I heard that one of the best universities in Brazil is called “Pookie.” (I can almost hear my friend Drew and I laughing over love-names couples give each other–the Seinfeld “schmoopie,” and “Boo” and the more general “Honey.”)
-Which university do you attend? Pookie?
-Oh no, I’m getting my masters in Political Science and Economics at Schmoopie. I did my undergrad at Pookie in International Relations. My boyfriend is over at Schnookums studying Film.
Anyway, so after my weekend, I will have attended a Hockey Hole birthday party for a 10-year old, seen a Brazilian musician Jorge Ben Jor, gone out to dinner with everyone for Kendra’s and Dareen’s birthdays, seen a gallery opening of a friend of mine, and gone to Feira Hippie for the bazillionth time. And I really hope I will have been able to sleep a lot.