By Sam Leinberger ~
I love food, well actually my whole family does (we’re Hispanic and Italian so naturally a positive relation with food is a given). Food has always been a central theme in my life and when I go to new places I make it a point to experience the flavors of that region.
Before coming to Cuba, I knew what to expect of the local cuisine; a delicious blend of Hispanic and Caribbean food centered around the staple of rice and beans. At home, not only were rice and beans a staple, Hispanic/Cuban food was a usual go-to on takeout night.
I never thought I would say it but, I’M TIRED OF RICE AND BEANS. Please, no more! For the life of me, I never expected those words to come out of my mouth. Now, I am not complaining about the food in this country, it is actually quite delicious, especially all of the seafood, but I miss variety; I would pay anything to have a large plate of spaghetti and meatballs. Italian food in this country is basically nonexistent ( they. say. ketchup. is. tomato. sauce).
But in hindsight, the lack of variety in food makes sense due to the lack of available food products. The embargo imposed upon the country by the United States has been in effect for over 40 years and has had a direct negative effect on the availability and cost of food. This can be seen in the scarcity of varieties of food, and the rationing of food imposed on the citizens of Cuba.
Again, Cuban food is delicious and rich in flavor and culture, but I physically cannot eat one more single grain of rice. When I get home I’m hitting up some Chinese and Italian restaurants.