HAVANA TIMES – Today, couples in Cuba go to bed thinking about what they’re going to eat the next day. When they wake up, the first thing they talk about is what they are going to eat.
In a couple I know, the wife asks before going to bed:
“Do we have coffee for the morning?”
“No. I’ll go out early to find some,” the husband says.
“And what are we going to make for lunch?” the wife insists.
“We have a little bit of rice, eggs and some tomatoes.”
That’s how they end one day and begin the next.
Rice is the most staple food in Cuba. If you don’t have rice, it’s like you haven’t eaten. Before the crisis, it was easy to get a hold of this grain. It was cheap and men, especially, would fill themselves up on it. I can tell you this from experience, as the mother of two sons.
Now, you can’t find rice anywhere. And there are not any root vegetables, pasta (spaghetti) or cornflour to replace it.
A family I know has resorted to a system of serving one full cup of rice for each family member at each meal. Even so, it doesn’t last them to the end of the month. The Government hasn’t given any public explanation for this crisis. Food items are so expensive. Even with pay rises in the public sector, not everyone can afford them.
Personally, I’ve managed to find some other alternatives to feed my family. I’ve planted malabar spinach which I prepare as a salad. I’ve managed to get some seeds from different agricultural products to sprout, including pumpkin, which is very rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. I have also planted a cactus that a friend gave me. I’ll tell you what it’s like when I try it.
I’m surprised that given the crisis we’re living right now, national TV, which is state-owned, isn’t broadcasting these healthy diet alternatives. It could be a good start for us to slowly leave our daily dependence on rice behind us. I’m trying, at least.