Often times, we find ourselves looking for the trendiest recipes out there. Following the best of the best on social media, trying to come up with new recipes, which are mostly old recipes, with slight alterations in hopes that they’ll catch on. Hoping you’ll be noticed for your unique style, and beautiful food photos. In a sea of food bloggers, chefs, super star celebrities, and million dollar brand names, we want to be noticed too. It’s overwhelming!
That’s when I personally take a step back. I get back to basics–to my roots. Simple times and simple food–Cuban food. I realize that while this whole food blog stuff is fun and I absolutely love to cook, there’s also living to be done. Going out, enjoying the outdoors, exploring new places, spending quality time with family and friends, which seems to be set aside when caught in the rat race.
So while this won’t be my usual recipe posts, it’s still something I wanted to share with you.
Cubans have had limited supply for a long time. Over 5 decades, and still counting, of restraints and lack of communication with the outside world, for the most part. Now this isn’t a political post by any means, rather my personal views. Lack of import and export of goods took a toll on the Cuban people, but no matter the struggles, Cubans made it work. They’re still making it work. Ingenuity and resourcefulness, that’s how I would best describe it.
Cuban people are all about unity, despite the lack of it. They’re about family, dance, laughter and food! Whatever you had to eat that day (some weren’t so lucky) was cultivated there in your little backyard, your front porch, or even your bathtub (yes, you read that right). If you had a few chickens, some rice and a banana tree nearby, you were golden. You’d share and trade with neighbors to help sustain each other. While there are many other authentic, traditional (and delicious) Cuban dishes, this one was, and still is the most common among us.
Although I was fortunate, or unfortunate enough to leave my country, these values remain very much a part of me and my family. Simplicity, humbleness, and authenticity. So while there is so much more to be said about Cuba and the Cuban people, I’ll just leave it there for now and focus on me grounding myself over and over. Remembering where I came from, how much my family struggled to get here, and how much we’ve accomplished. Do I want my persona and recipes to be acknowledged–sure, but I also want to remain true to self. Every time I get that sense of wanting to rush things, fit in, or more so–stand out, I pull back and think.
The picture adjoined to this post, is a Cubans almost daily go to meal. If they managed to eat, this would be it. It’s delicious. Soft pillowy rice, a perfectly fried egg or two, and an almost caramelized plantain, peeled, cut at a slight angle, and fried (on medium heat) to golden perfection. Well, that’s kind of a recipe. 😉
Salty, sweet and filling, this dish is a perfect combination. There are days where this is it, it’s what I make. Wanna know something? My kids (both born here) love it too. I guess where I’m going with all this is–sometimes simple is best. Intricate gourmet meals, and fancy recipes are great, but sometimes, home is where it’s at. It’s where I’ll always be. Let’s eat.