Cuba: cars and buildings that haven’t changed since the 50s;
a land of revolution, Hemmingway, and mojitos;
organic agriculture, perserverance, and resourcefulness;
diverse people and beliefs.
But of course I want to tell you about the food! Man was it good, they spoiled us for sure wherever we went. I traveled with a Methodist Building Team and we stayed at a Methodist Center in Habana, before traveling out to the countryside to a small village called Miller in the province of Santa Clara. Once there our team of 11 – three young women in there 20s plus 9 men over 50 set to work helping build a home for retired pastors from the church. I became an expert painter and primer, and did a fair share of running around helping where I could when we laid cement sidewalk around the building.
But, I seriously could not get over the food. I religously had my camera with me at every meal to document the feast. It was a challenge in a sense, because we obviously ate much better than most of the people in the town. The women who worked in the kitchen went over and above to serve us every day with beautifully set tables, delicious food, and great company. I was overwhelmed by the abundacen and generosity they provided. I reminded myself that it can be a gift to others to be able to recieve what they have to give. So I ate, and ate, and then ate some more!
Food seemed to be hanging all around us.
Avocados weighted down tree branches.
Guavacitas hid in their branches and then made their way into juice on our table at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The beaches were lined with almond trees and the husks littered the sand.
Florencio found a coconut for me to try, and promptly hacked it up, quite skillfully with his machete. He will be 80 this year and one of the most amazingl loving men I have ever met.
Banana trees dotted the yards of homes.
Sugar cane fields stretched out for miles from the roadside.
Or meals were filled with fresh, seasonal local food.
Our typical breakfast.
Guava and Mango juice
This massive stove was all they used to cook every meal, and the fell right
Our first dinner at Camp Canaan had to be my favorite. Barbecued pork, avocado, plantain chips, green beans, and rice and beans.
Chicken, noodle soup, rice and refried beans, tostones (fried plantains) fresh papaya, greenbeans, cucumbers, avocado, and spinach.
Here the husband of our main cook Osleidy is hacking up the lamb for our dinner.
And that night the tender lamb accompianed corn fritters, avocado, green beans, rice and beans, and spinach.
They spoiled us even more with dessert after lunch and dinner. Typically it was a fruit puree like this guava maramlade with white cheese. So good!
So moral of this story: never give up the chance to go to Cuba, if not for the mystery for the food!