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Marcela’s recipe: how to make a soft coup

Marcela's Recipe of the month
Illustration by Steve Munday

This dish may seem a bit challenging at first glance, but is guaranteed to impress your guests!

There are a number of versions. À la brésilienne, featured here, is hot and trending. À la paraguayenne and à la hondurienne are other options, which can be eaten cold. (I’ve heard from British friends that there’s even one called ‘oh brexit’, but no-one can tell me what it is!)

Basic ingredients:

  • Prime cuts of beef
  • Dough balls
  • Extra-venal oil
  • Coddled tycoons
  • Full-fat cream
  • Assorted lawyers
  • Firm and juicy contracts
  • A tub of mixed blunders
  • Extra-strong bribe juice
  • Concentrated media paste
  • Plump peaches
  • Self-serving politicians
  • Seeds of discord
  • Glutinous gossip

For the marinade:

Mix concentrated media paste with a good amount of popular disaffection; sprinkle with flakes of apathy; and add a bottle of vintage grand corruption. Spice with scandal.


You will need a Le Creuset élite kitchen set; a steak hammer or similar tenderizer; a large spoon with holes in it (to remove moral fibre); a set of sharp knives.

Wine: 1973 Chateau Pinochet.

Serves: the 0.01%


Chop up the beef into large mouth-sized chunks. Soak in the marinade, keeping the peaches to one side.

Keep your post-coup policies lined up and ready, so that they can be introduced quickly at the right moment. Season with Austerity BittersTM.

Heat the oil in a large pan over a high flame. Add a handful of discord seeds and heat until they crackle. Introduce the firm and juicy contracts. Toss in the beef and the self-serving politicians. Stir. Keep the dish liquid with regular lashings of bribe-juice (any brand will do). Add the dough balls. Introduce the lawyers and add a blob more concentrated media paste. Increase the heat until the mixture steams, hisses and spits. Keep stirring. Add the peaches. This step is vital. You have to get it right – it’s called impeachment or empêchement. Introduce the full-fat cream. It’s a beautiful moment – a moment of shock and awe, when you know that the coup has taken.

From now on it’s all chemistry and artistry; make sure you have a whisk to hand to avoid curdling. (As all good coup cooks know, a cabinet stocked with trusted tools is the name of the game!) Swiftly introduce the policies you prepared earlier, adding another dash or two of Austerity BittersTM. Speed and timing are of the essence.

Turn down the heat a little and squeeze the ingredients hard. Discard unprofitable dross (husks of social justice, welfare programmes, etc). This is an intense, high-protein, alpha-male kind of dish, so remove anything that gets in the way of that rich hit to elite taste buds and bank accounts.

Serve immediately on a bed of compliant media.

Illustration by Steve Munday

New Internationalist issue 506 magazine cover This article is from the October 2017 issue of New Internationalist.
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