Por Esther Zoza
HAVANA TIMES – Recently, rice shortages have buried me in a bitter and fruitless search that ends up with me buying corn flour, which I could only eat after separating weevils out of it.
Rice is a staple of our food culture, and it’s irreplaceable in our diet. Few of us care whether it is long grain or short grain, whether it comes from Vietnam, or Brazil or Timbuktu.
We don’t complain here. We have overlooked its aroma, texture and color, even the little bugs that come with it. We have dressed it up in so many ways during times of shortages, as well as in times of abundance.
What Cuban hasn’t browned rice with brown sugar when soy sauce runs out, or colored it with polivit tablets when bijol, seasoning, tomato puree or turmeric run out.
Rice has been with us through our ups and downs, it has got us out of a tough spot when we only have loose threads of chicken and pieces of meat. We have enjoyed it as arroz imperial, fried, stir-fried, with seafood and as a dessert. Worshipped it even with vegetables and eggs, seasoned with garlic and onion or bathed in a bean stew.
Reducing rice flour consumption nowadays with the economic crisis, adding other grains and pastas to our diet, is a pressing matter that reveals a high level of judgement and empathy in our homes.
Our elderly can’t consume corn flour every day, especially if we bear in mind the fact that they suffer from high blood pressure. A meal of corn meal without high blood pressure meds could give us a good scare.
In times of shortages, we need to give priority to our elderly family members with rice. Of course, this means detaching yourself and making a sacrifice.
It would be wishful thinking that with the economic crisis the world is facing today, our country would be able to have as much rice as it did before COVID-19, or that our fields suddenly turn green with healthy rice shoots.
Instead, this time around, I believe that it would be good for all of us to come together in a joint prayer for our survival.