Culture

Here’s The Story About Ropa Vieja, The Most Delicious And Heavenly Food To Ever Come Out Of Latin America

There is nothing that is more quintessential to Cuban culture than ropa vieja. The dish is the national dish of Cuba and every Cuban family has their own recipe for this famous and popular meal. It can be served with rice and beans or rice and tostones or, really, anything because it is divine.

As part of the La Cocina series at we are mitú, Dariany Santana, the host of What’s Good In Your Hood, called her mom to learn how to make ropa vieja. It’s a sweet segment since Mother’s Day is right around the corner and, like all of us who moved away from home, Santana wants a little bit of home on Mother’s Day.

One of the most commonly told stories about ropa vieja is one of religion and miracle. The story goes that once upon a time in Spain, a poor man was struggling to feed his family. At the end of his rope, the man took his old clothes and put them in a pot with water and boiled the clothes. As the clothing cooked, the man prayed over the pot for food to sustain his family. What happened next is a miracle. The poor man opened the pot and where his clothes and water once were was a delicious and hearty meat stew. Ropa vieja translates to old clothes so the legend persists today about the most famous dish to call Cuba home.

The dish was created in Spain and historically the dish came to Cuba by way of Spanish conquistadors. More specifically, ropa vieja comes from the Canary Islands. When Spanish conquistadors started to settle in Latin America, they brought their favorite foods and items with them to feel at home far away from home.

Ever since ropa vieja became the national dish of Cuban, other variations have shown up throughout the Caribbean islands. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic both have their own version of ropa vieja. The differences in the variations are slight but they include ingredients that are most common for those islands.

The dish lends itself nicely to a vegan variation. Since it is shredded beef, you can replace the meat with jack fruit. The pods around the seeds perfectly imitate the shredded fibers of flank steak. When you are cooking the jack fruit, you can use different cooking tools and lesser cooking time to achieve the same texture and consistency. Instead of adding the jack fruit to the sofrito that is cooking, you can keep them separate and let the jack fruit start to fall apart then top the jack fruit with the sofrito when you are plating it.

For any Cuban, the taste, smell, and sound of this dish is something that immediate transports them to their childhood. It is a way for Cubans to share the most intimate and important piece of their culture with those they love and care for. It is also a way for Cubans to feel connected to their family even if they are living thousands of miles away. For those who fled the island, it is a way to stay connected with a home they were forced to flee.

Ingredients:

Beef:

  • 2 pounds of flank steak
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • salt to taste

Sofrito:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 sweet peppers of different colors, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 1 package of achiote powder
  • 2 cups of olives, cut in half, and some of the juice
  • 1/2 cup cooking wine
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil

Directions:

Ropa Vieja:

  • Cut flank steak into cubes that are an inch and a half.
  • Add steak, onion, garlic cloves, cilantro, green bell pepper, cumin, and salt in a  pressure cooker.
  • Add enough water to just cover the steak and cook for 30 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over medium-low heat, add garlic, onions, peppers, green pepper, onion, cumin, cilantro, bay leaf, and tomato sauce.
  • Simmer the sauce over the gentle heat until it starts to reduce by about a quarter and has a thick, soupy consistency.
  • Making sure the pressure cooker no longer has any pressure, remove the beef from the pressure cooker and add it to the sofrito.
  • Add the olives and cooking wine and cook for a few more minutes until all the ingredients are well incorporated.
  • Using two forks, shred the beef int eh sofrito and mix well so everything is combined.
  • Serve hot with a side of white rice and black beans.

READ: Here’s How Cuba’s Tumultuous History Forced A Cuban Diaspora That Changed The World

A Woman Lost Her Job At A Panera Bread After She Posted A Viral Video Of Her Warming Up Frozen Mac And Cheese

Entertainment

A Woman Lost Her Job At A Panera Bread After She Posted A Viral Video Of Her Warming Up Frozen Mac And Cheese

@briannaraelenee / TikTok

Social media is a wonderful tool when it comes to connecting with friends across large distances and finding a community. However, social media can also come with its own downfalls. Take the recent lesson learned by TikTok user @briannaraelenee. She posted a video on TikTok from work and it went viral eventually leading to her losing her job. Here’s what went down.

A viral video about Panera Bread’s macaroni and cheese took on a life of its own after it was posted.

The video shows an employee preparing the macaroni and cheese for a customer. The food is frozen in a plastic bag and is dropped into boiling water to warm up. The video isn’t anything revelatory in itself since a lot of restaurants warm up frozen foods that are shipped to locations to insure consistency.

Her next video was dedicated to explaining how the food was still good.

It didn’t take long for the video to go viral. As of the time of this writing, the video had almost 1 million views. Despite the text on her first video of “exposing Panera,” @briannaraelenee told people to keep eating at Panera because the food is delicious.

She quickly followed up with a video near tears apologizing to an Anthony.

The TikTok user really wanted to keep her job. She is making it clear that she likes her job and was not trying to tarnish or attack Panera Bread. One can only assume that she made the video without thinking about it.

She kept her fans, new and old, completely up to date on her journey from Panera employee to unemployed.

She was all smiles when she explained that she was told that she was let go. As she puts it, they were parting ways, like a breakup. She then explained that she is not being fired for the video. Instead, she is being fired because she had her phone out and her nails were too long, both violations of health safety regulations.

The next video showed her in tears as she drove away.

It’s hard to lose a job so unexpectedly. However, it seems that @briannaraelenee saw it coming when her video of the macaroni and cheese started to go viral. It was only a matter of time before people at Panera Bread saw the video.

While some might think she’d be full on clout, she is letting everyone know that it is not the case.

LOL. It’s like becoming famous. As soon as it happens, everyone you ever met is going to come out of nowhere to hit you up. Obviously, they think you are going to do them some kind of favors or will help give them their own social media clout.

The woman took to Twitter to address all of the concerns from followers.

Credit: @BriiRamirezz / Twitter

She is really holding herself up here. Not only is she taking responsibility for what she did, but she is also telling everyone else to calm down.

Not everyone is buying that her tweet was not coerced.

Credit: @SassmastatT / Twitter

You can’t really blame them. Social media is filled with lies and questionable moments. It isn’t too shocking that the Panera employee’s sincere responses to the scandal are being questioned.

Other people are just genuinely impressed with her composure throughout the whole thing.

Credit: @mikegstowe / Twitter

It really is impressive. She took responsibility for her actions and took the consequences in stride.

She does want to leave everyone this one special PSA about phone usage at work.

Solid advice. Hopefully, people can learn from her mistake.

READ: This Man Is Using TikTok To Bring Younger People To Old-School Jams And His Fans Are Loving It

A Woman’s Obsession With Hot Cheetos Just Got Her Into Some Hot Water With TSA

Culture

A Woman’s Obsession With Hot Cheetos Just Got Her Into Some Hot Water With TSA

Look, it’s no news that the world is currently undergoing a real crisis when it comes to Hot Cheetos. Not only does it seem that there are never enough, but it also seems that we cannot GET enough. From inspiring fashion ranges (like Forever 21s)  to sparking all kinds of similar spin-offs in the snack and chip world, there’s no doubt that the spicy, somehow simultaneously soft and crispy treat has taken over. Which presents new problems. 

One Twitter user by the name of Emily Mei says that an obsession with Hot Cheetos actually led to her being stopped and checked by TSA.

The Instagram model shared a post to her Twitter account highlighting one of the more bizarre moments involving Hot Cheetos that TSA has likely ever seen.

According to her post, last year, Mei had loaded up her luggage with 20 bags worth of Hot Cheetos to bring to friends who were having a hard time finding them in Korea.  “For everyone who’s asking why i had so many bags of Hot Cheetos, apparently it’s hard to get in korea so my friends always ask me to bring it for them LOL,” she wrote in a post about the incident. 

It’s not the first time Mei has opened up about her Hot Cheetos obsession and struggle.

Recently the model shared a post to her Twitter page that featured her decked out in Hot Cheetos-inspired clothes and accessories. Wearing a denim skirt and jacket with Hot Cheetos flames on them, the model shared the post and wrote “No one: Literally not a single person: Me: This is how much i love Hot Cheetos.” The Hot Cheetos-loving photoshoot also featured her wearing a Hot Cheetos bag and glasses. Ultimately the look was complete fire and I am here for a Hot Cheetos campaign featuring Mei as an advocate and spokesperson.

Over the summer she also shared images of her wearing the latest Instagram obsession: the Hot Cheetos onesie.

Mei’s outfit came directly from Forever 21 and featured a Hot Cheetos one-piece bathing suit and coin purse. TBH the look was fire and even if the hot season is cooling down for most of us this ice of continent, it’s always summer somewhere and this look is worth the travel for a similarly cute photo-op.

Feeling inspired to try a similar look? Forever 21’s Hot Cheetos line is still up and ready to give you the most fuego looks of the year.

For the cutest looks of the summer, check out Flamin Hot Cheetos Graphic Jersey which will give you all of the best vibes for your Go! Fight! Win! game days.

FOREVER 21

This jersey mesh top features an embroidered “Flamin’ Hot” design and a boxy silhouette. For just $24.90, it might saying Flamin Hot on the front but there’s no doubt your heart is stiched all over this baby.

Another Instagram shout-out to Cheetos featured Mei stacking up on and eating all of the Hot Cheetos snacks once again.

Leading up to a trip to Coachella, the model posted an image Instagram standing in the chip aisle and holding onto two giant bags of Cheetos. “Did someone say Coachella diet ….? See y’all tomorrow if i don’t die from eating all these snacks.”

Of course, it didn’t take long for others to share the many other forms of snacks that they’re willing to smuggle onto a flight.

“Reminds me of exactly a year ago when TSA had to search through one by one every single one of my airheads,” wrote @TheBMWilson.

Soon enough, Mei’s story took on a new life with users sharing the various snacks they’ve endured at TSA search for.

“I remember when they literally made me miss my flight over some Costa Rican coffee !” Wrote @sheaintyohoe

One user shared all of the snacks they tried to get onto a flight proving when it comes to snacks USA kind of is on top.

TBH there’s no denying that we’ve been at the rock bottom for some time, folks (2016 to be exact) but these bags full of snacks made in the U.S. are proof that we really do know how to hold it down when it comes to snack obsessions. 

But here’s the important question: will Mei put an end to her part in the world’s Hot Cheetos obsession? 

Clearly that answer is not very likely.