An Occasional Simple Pleasure, Not All Is Lost!

By Rosa Martinez

Photo: Ken Alexander

HAVANA TIMES – There’s a well-known saying that goes: “Breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; dinner like a pauper.”

The popular wisdom, in which I place a lot of trust, wasn’t wrong this time either. Breakfast is our most important meal, since it supplies the principle energy that your organism will need to be able to realize its daily tasks.

That’s without mentioning how vital it is to maintaining good health, just as having a fairly light supper is vital, since we’ll be engaging in few physical activities following that last meal.  After supper, the majority will be gong to bed in very few hours.

But if it was already difficult to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as God wills it, even before COVID-19 sunk its claws into this beautiful Island, imagine how it is now. The shortages have worsened, prices skyrocketed, and the savings, for the few of us that had them, have completely disappeared.

There’s so much suffering around the question of food, that generally the person at home who’s in charge of resolving the matter – as is my case – can barely enjoy what they eat.

After having improvised so much to obtain it; after suffering for so long in a line; after juggling so many accounts so your money will stretch for this and that: after all that, when you try a bite of even the most exquisite dish, it has an insipid taste.

In my case, though, this blessed isolation has forced me to save more than usual, and has also taught me a few survival tricks that I thought I wouldn’t ever have to go through after leaving behind the famine of the badly named “special period”.

Being at home more than I would have wanted has also allowed me to engage in some small pleasures that I’d barely glimpsed amid the daily rush.

These days, I especially enjoy a solitary breakfast. With my little girls still asleep; my husband, once again out of the house for fifteen days for his work; my parents remaining in their house; I sit enjoying a piece of bread with a good quality cheese.

Not even in the best of times can we eat cheese regularly at home, but as luck would have it, a very good friend gave me a few pounds as a present. Since the girls aren’t going to school, I didn’t have to leave all of it for their school snack, as has happened so many times before.

So, with all the time in the world in my favor, I prepare a piece of a soft bread – okay, not that soft, but more or less. I place a small slice of cheese inside – no, actually it’s not small, it’s pretty big – and wait patiently for the old sandwich-maker to heat it up a bit.

I sit down in the old rocking chair and, little by little, bite by bite, I ingest my exquisite bread. I accompany it with an aromatic coffee that a neighbor roasted.

Completely alone, with my thoughts far from my body, I enjoy a taste that I had completely forgotten. Cheese? What’s that? Breakfast? Yes, I’m having breakfast. Then I tell myself: it doesn’t matter how much we suffer, nor how far we are from some people we love, nor how much misery surrounds us…. Not all is lost, right?

Rosa Martínez

Rosa Martinez: I am another Havana Times contributing writer, university professor and mother of two beautiful and spoiled girls, who are my greatest joy. My favorite passions are reading and to write and thanks to HT I’ve been able to satisfy the second. I hope my posts contribute towards a more inclusive and more just Cuba. I hope that someday I can show my face along with each of my posts, without the fear that they will call me a traitor, because I’m not one.

4 thoughts on “An Occasional Simple Pleasure, Not All Is Lost!

  • Rosa has managed to romanticize food scarcity. I am not sure if I should envy or pity her.

  • Thank you for your nice comments… Receive a hug.

  • Rosa – such beautiful and soothing thoughts that you put in writing

  • Thanks Rosa, I so enjoyed reading this. Gives me a glimpse into daily Cuban life. So different from life in Kingston, Jamaica, right next door. At least my life I should say…

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