|About the Book|
This is an attempt to memorialize and bring a recent hobby, close to my heart and stomach, to those of you who are either in my family, or close enough to be family. My intention is to make this a reference and guide for the staple recipes that ourMoreThis is an attempt to memorialize and bring a recent hobby, close to my heart and stomach, to those of you who are either in my family, or close enough to be family. My intention is to make this a reference and guide for the staple recipes that our family most frequently ate and enjoyed. I contemplated many names for this book and finally came up with the not so original but very fitting title of “Cuban Cooking 101” It really is meant to be easy enough for anyone, regardless of cooking experience, looking to whip up a Cuban dish.Cuban cooking is not an elitist or eclectic style of cooking- in fact, it is very simple food prepared with some very basic flavor enhancing ingredients. Although most of the Caribbean islands’ cultures and cuisines illustrate the influences left behind by Spanish and African occupancy, there are no strict African or Spanish dishes here. These recipes are very much Caribbean in flavor and often times distinctly Cuban.The desire to put a book like this together began when my own kids started going off to college Admittedly, I grew tired of answering the phone and having one of them tell me to put Mom on the phone because they needed a recipe for some basic dish that they were looking to make that evening. Imagine a desperate call asking for directions on how to prepare “Caldo Gallego” via long distance!I had come to realize that these kids along with others of their generation had grown up enjoying all the delicacies of our culture but had no idea how to prepare it themselves- I mean a simple “sofrito” (the base of all Cuban dishes) was a foreign concept to them!Most of these recipes are from the family archives- and some are so basic that most Cuban cookbooks have a version of them. However, I have found that several of the books I reviewed tend to overwhelm the reader with either too many recipes or instructions that are far too complicated. My wife’s approach of a dash of this and a pinch of that, has not worked for me as a cook. So, In addition to providing simplified instruction for the “How To” portion of the recipe I have also tried to be as descriptive as possible with the ingredients and quantities.The emphasis of the book is on ease and swift preparation. From what I remember a Cuban mother could whip something up in the kitchen that feeds everyone with minimal fuss, leaving them sucking their fingers dry.This book is meant to be the go-to guide for everyday cooking readily available on your kitchen counter. So go ahead and wear these pages out, until the recipes become second nature. Remember, this may be the beginning of a culinary journey for you, so do not think of this as the bible of authentic Cuban gastronomic experiences- but, rather a fun and creative ongoing work in progress.