Lily Vansciver ~
The food of Cuba is something that its people are very proud of, especially in the paladares. They are essentially welcoming us into their homes and giving us their best food, and my God is it good!! Everything tastes fresh, and I know I’m going to miss it when I get back to the United States. My favorite thing was the pumpkin and ham soup. It’s warm and smooth, with a mild but excellent flavor. It has a slight sweetness to it, which was unexpectedly wonderful.
I think my favorite meal as a whole was at El Templete. We ate outside under an awning, with live music playing loudly behind us. The song that the musicians chose was Bailando by Enrique Iglesias, which was actually the song I was listening to on the plane as we were arriving in Cuba. We had peppers stuffed with potato and fish, which were somewhat sour, but the softness of the filling balanced out the sharpness of the pepper. We also enjoyed croquette balls with ham, cheese, and potato. Both were pleasantly mushy and soft. They made a slight crunch as my fork made contact and sliced through them, due to the breading on the outside. My entrée consisted of beef with rice and beans, and the meat was very tender and easy to cut through. Dan mentioned it tasted like hamburger meat, and I couldn’t stop thinking about that after the fact! It really did taste exactly like the way my mom’s burgers taste when we eat dinner outside in the summer.
The dessert was strawberry ice cream and a warm brownie. Together the tastes seemed slightly odd, but on their own they were perfect. The ice cream was slightly softened because of its close proximity to the brownie, and was very sweet and refreshing. It’s amazing to me that everything, even the ice cream, tastes incredibly fresh. The brownie was pleasantly warm and had a crunch to it because of the almonds inside. It’s something I may dream about forever! Each meal, I’ve found, has some sweet and some sour parts to it, and I think that that is representative of Cuba as a whole. There are some wonderful things, and some things that still really need to change.