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

Prisoner Starts His Own Cooking Show On TikTok And, Like, How

Culture

Prisoner Starts His Own Cooking Show On TikTok And, Like, How

@blockboyjmomey / TikTok

Another day, another prisoner blowing up on TikTok. Jeron Combs, 31, is the latest TikTok prisoner sensation with his cooking show. You read that right. The man is creating foods in his prison cell and broadcasting it to the rest of the world via TikTok.

Jeron Combs, aka @blockboyjmomey on TikTok, is a cooking sensations.

Credit: @blockboyjmomey / TikTok

One of his most popular videos is the burrito that he was able to put together in his prison cell. The 31-year-old, who is in prison for first-degree murder and attempted murder, took his 1.3 million TikTok followers through a step-by-step guide to create the burritos.

We can’t be sure but it does seems like he cooks for all of those around him.

Credit: @blockboyjmomey / TikTok

We don’t know how many burritos he made but it is clear he is cooking for more than just he and his cellmate. Unless he and his cellmate are hungry enough to eat all of those burritos.

He has managed to use his metal bed frame to double as a griddle to cook the food.

Credit: @blockboyjmomey / TikTok

His bed frame is literally used to heat up his food and to make those burritos hot and fresh. Not going to lie, they look pretty delicious.

He even shows how he is able to heat up his bed frame to create the griddle: a hot plate.

Credit: @blockboyjmomey / TikTok

Genius, tbh. However, how was he able to get everything that he needed in order to create his griddle bed? Also, how did he set up a TikTok account and manage to post regularly? His burrito video has more than 4 million views alone.

For some, this is what the Internet is for.

Social media has a way of always outdoing itself with wild content. Like, this is not the first nor will it be the last prisoner to use TikTok or any other social media platform to flex. Who can forget the prisoner who posted to Instagram about the Popeye’s chicken sandwich?

For others, this is some wholesome content.

Sure, the video itself is pretty fine. However, do not forget that the man is in prison for murder. So, while the prison burrito might be a fun gimmick, it is still odd to celebrate.

A whole other group of people is just made their boy got exposed.

What do you think about the prison burrito video?

READ: The Internet Wants To Know How A Prisoner Got A Popeyes Sandwich And Posted It To His IG Story

Chuck E Cheese Is Advertising As Pasqually’s Pizza And Thank You

Culture

Chuck E Cheese Is Advertising As Pasqually’s Pizza And Thank You

chuckecheese / Instagram

The pandemic is forcing everyone to find new ways to survive financially, especially with businesses that have a lot of unexpected contacts. Chuck E Cheese is one of those businesses and their way of staying afloat right now has people lol’ing with respect.

Chuck E Cheese is thriving in this new economy.

That’s right. Chuck E Cheese is still selling its pizza but under a different name. You won’t find Chuck E Cheese in your Grubhub but you might find Pasqually’s Pizza. Some think it was so people wouldn’t know that it was Chuck E Cheese while some think the idea is clever and loveable.

You see, Pasqually is the chef who plays in Chuck E Cheese’s band.

That’s right. You might have thought that Chuck E Cheese was trying to hide that they were selling their pizza on the sly but that ain’t it. Chuck E Cheese is just giving the man behind the pizza his chance to shine. Chuck E isn’t about taking the credit away from the true pizza talent.

The revelation did bring up Chuck E Cheese’s past, that people didn’t know.

There’s a lot it seems we didn’t know about Chuck E Cheese. First, he was an orphan who never knew his birthday. Who knew that? Since he never knew his birthday, he has decided to celebrate the birthdays of the children. Also, street walker? What could that possibly mean?

It’s a pretty smart move for the chain that is a logistical nightmare when it comes to reopening.

It’s literally a place for children to run around sweating and touching everything. Imagine having to come up with the protocol to properly sanitize a Chuck E Cheese to keep the virus under control. Selling Pasqually’s pizzas seems like a solid plan for now.

Some people are not at all upset about this.

Legit, it isn’t that bad. Any kid’s party at Chuck E Cheese is always made right when you dig into that pizza. This is really a win for all of us adults who just want to taste our childhood once more.

So, who is ordering some Pasqually’s Pizza?

Go ahead and treat yourself. You won’t be disappointed.

READ: Latino Food Trucks Are Serving Up Some Of The Most Delicious Foods From Coast To Coast