On Cuban Mincemeat

Osmel Almaguer

HAVANA TIMES — When a Cuban doesn’t know what a rissole is made out of, they say it’s a “hoonos rissole.” Whoever’s next to them then says: “Who knows what it’s got inside!” and everyone has a good laugh.

In addition to the few ounces of ground soy-meat you get through your ration booklet every so often, sometimes they sell you a type of mincemeat (at market price) which is practically inedible.

I, a lover of nearly every variant of proper mincemeat out there, have felt the urge to vomit after putting it in my mouth. It is a mixture of flour, big chunks of animal fat, tendons and cartilage.

The few times my father cooked this mincemeat, before we had come to the conclusion that it is “preferable to skip the main course than to eat the blessed mincemeat,” the meat had no flavor, and my father had seasoned it with everything at hand. We would always end up eating the stewed potatoes we would add to it to give it more volume.

Despite this, the price of this product is 10 Cuban pesos. Heaven knows what genius in this country came up with this idea, and decided to charge an arm and a leg for it. The fact of the matter is that the product is still out there and, as is always the case, no one can register a complaint anywhere.

The other day, while looking on the Internet for information on transgenic foods and genetically manipulated farm animals, I came across horrifying pictures of chickens without eyes, cows without legs or mouths and lawsuits brought against McDonalds for fraud.

I pitied the poor US citizens who are eating the flesh of genetic monsters hidden from them.

Such manipulations of the natural world are ethically questionable and sometimes horrifying and I do not condone them, but, when an American eats a burger, at least he is eating meat.

What are we eating when we eat that hoonos mincemeat? Ground up chicken heads? Legs, tripe, feathers? Dead dogs? The only thing I know is that whoever sells us that mincemeat wants us to become scavengers.

3 thoughts on “On Cuban Mincemeat

  • You can’t believe every scary story you read on the internet, Osmel. McDonalds uses only beef in their hamburger patties, meaning only meat (protein & fat). No organs, skins, bones, tendons, cartilage or tripes are permitted in their burgers. The cattle are not transgenic nor GMO. The only additives they use in the patties are salt & pepper. I would far rather eat McDonalds burgers than that soy-meat stuff Cubans are forced to eat.


    Ground beef is relatively inexpensive in the US & Canada. Currently, the average supermarket price for ground beef is $3.75 per pound. The minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour.

  • Oh, in addition we call it ground beef. Mincemeat is something different. It is a mixture of fat of some kind usually suet, mixed with dried fruit, rum, sugar and baked in a pie or tart at Christmas. It is really not very good, unless you have been raised with the stuff and are nostalgic

  • Don’t buy it. That’s how the system works. Of course if you eat at a fast food chain in North America we have the same problem They just know how to make it taste good. Lots of fat and salt does the trick and is addictive too.

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