Por Esther Zoza

Rice is king in Cuba but nowadays its only around for part of the month.

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.


Esther Zoza

I was born in the 60s. I love my country and its simple and sacrificed people. I like the arts, particularly literature. In music I enjoy traditional and contemporary trova, also opera and instrumental music. I respect all religions. I like esoteric and mystical subjects; I also enjoy the enigmas of the universe. I believe above all things in God. I am persistent and disciplined to meet my goals. I like the countryside. I live near the sea. I believe in relationships and love in all its manifestations.

16 thoughts on “Rice vs. Corn Flour for Cubans

  • There are contributors here that like to paint a certain picture. And that would be their prerogative to do so.
    I wouldn’t say that the picture they paint or story they like to tell is does not include certain valid points. But yet again I feel it necessarily to mention that some folks are just none too happy to let the facts get in the way the story they’re trying to tell. And they just get a touch riled up when the facts clearly contradict their narrative.
    Having pointed that out, I must admit that I had a big old chuckle when I read that Mr MacD suggests that I am guilty of going off-topic ???
    That’s surely like the Sahara Desert accusing the Pacific Ocean of being dry…….

  • All this Nick, when the article was about food supply!

    I again got a good giggle out of your tongue-in-cheek comment from “someone whose opinions are not based on blind adherence to some ideology or other.”

    Good one Nick!

    I am delighted that Cuba following its initial blunder in February of encouraging tourists because Cuba was “Covid free” dealt swiftly and efficiently with the pandemic.

    As for your amigo fchow8888, why would HT act in conjunction with the CIA when Cuban security is controlled by the KGB trained Alejandro Castro Espin? That undoubtedly is a more ruthlessly efficient organization than the CIA.

  • Oh My Deary Goodness Me…..
    It’s the dreaded but somewhat limpid old Pincer Movement emanating from Misters P and MacD.
    It seems that these guys cannot understand someone who’s opinions are not based on blind adherence to some ideology or other.
    All it takes to incur the wrath of these supposed supporters of democracy and free speech is the application of the slightest hint of context to their one eyed, one sided, ideologically inspired opinions and look what ensues:
    Accusations of being ‘lickspittle’ or ‘sly’ or being some kind of sycophant. Accusations of having made a personally abusive comment etc etc……
    For those who constantly criticise Cuba all it takes is the slightest reference to the fact that Cuba is proving to be way superior at dealing with this pandemic than the USA (or the U.K. incidentally) and look what happens.
    It’s not a rumour. It’s a fact.
    If you live in Cuba, you are far less likely to die from Covid than if you live in the USA.
    Overwhelmingly less likely.
    This may prove to be a big disappointment to you good ‘ol boys from an ideological perspective, but it is nevertheless, an incontrovertible fact.
    Deal with that incontrovertible fact fellas rather than thinking up the next lame insult…….

    The difference between rice or corn flour is only of any importance if you are still alive.

  • Why don’t you offer to replace the sadly missed Elio! As you correctly observe, most of the articles are by Cubans and reveal the depth of problems which are apparent in Cuba. Elio was almost unique (not quite) in always lauding praise upon his political masters.

  • Oh Nick! Your constant defence of the Castro regime whilst simultaneously posing as being unbiased is so trite.

    You can always be depended upon to attack the opinions of those who are critical of the Castros and communism. To that, add constant insertion of criticism of all things related to the USA – although of course, you slyly confess that it is one of your favorite countries.

    Moses Patterson gave a proper assessment of Cuba’s food problem – the subject of the article. But in consequence you found it necessary to make unrelated personally abusive comment. The truth obviously got up your itching nose.

    Holding another contributor as in part responsible for the sins and errors of politicians within his own country – many of which he himself has criticized, is somewhat pathetic. Are you responsible for all the sins and errors of politicians in the UK? Is Boris Johnson your concept of a paragon of virtue – or is it just your bad fortune to be of UK nationality?

    My own preference is for political honesty, hence I have openly admitted being described by those who know me well as a “pink conservative”. You however always endeavor to suggest that you are apolitical. Doing so, kids nobody Nick – especially those who read your comments in HT.

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