Culinary Discouragement

Daisy Valera 

Mujeres Magazine

On the table that I use for eating, studying and writing, I now have four magazines – not one or two, but four.  And all illusions.

One of them, La Pionero, is read basically by the country’s elementary and junior high school students, who are members of the Jose Marti Pioneer Organization (OPJM) student organization.

Many Cuban teenagers read this magazine, in which they can find studies on sexuality and art among its positive contributions.

One of the magazines consulted by teens on the island is Somos Jovenes (We are Youth), which this past March marked its 33rd year of publication.

This periodical is responsible for relaying analyses about social problems facing youth in senior high schools, students between the ages of 15 and 18, as well as providing information on the arts, science and other topics.

The latest edition of La Calle del Medio (The Street in the Middle) is another one of the publications I’ve been eyeing.  This is a monthly newspaper that’s always sold out quickly.

It addresses international political issues, makes observations about situations happening in Cuba and promotes exchanges of opinion and debate on matters as varied as Cuban music, sports and telenovelas.

Mujeres (Women) is the fourth magazine that I’ve been reading over the last few weeks.  It comes out every four months with an extensive amount of material dealing with issues of special interest to females.

All these publications have some rather profound articles (according to the political stance they defend) while others that are simpler and more superficial – like the ones that have completely captured my attention: Cooking recipes!

In these four magazines I found eleven cooking recipes, all fairly varied; from soups and vegetables juices to pineapple ice cream and coconut water with mammee fruit.

I swear that when I saw the pictures I started to suck my fingers without thinking because I love to eat and cook different things.

But I’m not committing the sin of dreaming.  Of the eleven recipes, in next six months I’ll only be able to fix maybe one.

Could it be that the editors of the magazine don’t know about the food crisis that exists here in Cuba, where hundreds of thousands of acres go unfarmed while the country has to import more than 60 percent of what it consumes, and the prices are sky-high?

I imagine they are aware, but they continue with their cooking recipes since these always give picturesque tints to the publications.

Only one fact goes without mentioning.  To gather the eight ingredients needed for the vegetables juice described in Mujeres magazine, for example, this would condemn me to a pilgrimage to numerous state-run Havana farm products markets, assuming of course that I’d be unable to purchase them from private vendors in their better stocked and higher priced markets.

In short, the sections devoted to recipes are all very pretty.  I think I’ll collect them in an album in the hope of better times ahead.

One thought on “Culinary Discouragement

  • I think you wrote about a very common problem.
    Will you please write to your readers about what do Cubans usually have on a typical day? What food the Cuban houswives have invented to feed their families? What is the most simple and available recipe?

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