HAVANA TIMES – What Cuban woman hasn’t felt like Cinderella in her kitchen, at least once in her life?
I’m feeling like that today, my husband brought me some black beans from the agro-market that was pure dirt, full of sticks and stones. At that moment, I wished I had Cinderella’s birds in my kitchen.
I patiently picked out the beans. I left them to soak for a little while so that the dirt would soften and I could take it off. Forty-five minutes in the pressure cooker and with the beans soft already, I made a sofrito with bellpeppers that gives it a special flavor, a little bit of oregano from home, onion, garlic, cumin and a bay leaf… a classic on Cuban tables, inherited from the Spanish. I made white rice, tuna in sauce and an avocado salad to go with it.
Everyone at home was curious to see how my famous black beans full of dirt, sticks and stones came out… especially my husband who loves my black beans.
That morning, I was a fairytale character to be able to cook those black beans my family love so much…
Some time ago, I faced another challenge in pure Cinderella style, black beans mixed with chicharo (split chickpeas), the bags had split open and they became mixed. At that moment, I really did need Cinderella’s birds but because I didn’t have them, I went into my fairytale character mode and very patiently separated the beans. That day, I cooked chicharo which I don’t really like, but my family does so I cook it for them.
Every day, there are new stories that sound like fairytales of Cinderella, I mean housewives, in Cuba.
Other examples of children’s fairytales in our everyday lives:
For example, I couldn’t sleep last night because I had something stuck in my back that was annoying me. In the morning, I checked the mattress and there was something, a spring that had become loose, I folded the end back down with some pliers and filled it with a little bit of padding from a cushion, and I could get a good night’s sleep that night… what does it remind you of? The Princess and the Pea!
There’s a phrase from the story La Cucharita Martina that we use every day when we go to the agro-market, amidst this difficult situation, to look for root vegetables: what will I buy? Well, there isn’t a lot of choice and prices are high. We Cubans face this dilemma every day just to put food on the table.
Sticking to La Cucharita Martina, every time a woman gets a compliment she answers, I’m not pretty but thank you, and when we were young, guys would answer the question what do you do, “I’m great, I sleep and am quiet at night, like the ratoncito Perez.”
Another example, which I’ve never confessed. Due to the nightmare we’re living in my country right now, I’d like to be “Sleeping Beauty” and for a prince to come and wake me up with a kiss once this is all over.
Cuban families have found themselves forced to flee from the island, almost every family, like in the story of Hansel and Gretel, leaving a trail of illusions behind them just like the pieces of bread in that popular fairytale.