Culture

The Fake Fruit On The Kitchen Table Was The Cruelest Thing To A Cuban Child Growing Up

Cuban culture is very food heavy. From the delectable dish called ropa vieja to the delicious and mouth-watering moros. Since food is one of the most important parts of Cuban culture, it makes sense that we’d spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It also makes sense that some of the most iconic things we think of about our childhoods has to do with the kitchen. Here are 15 things you are guaranteed to find in a Cuban kitchen.

1. An old, beat up pressure cooker that is used to cook everything.

Legit, this thing looks so old that you think your abuela snuck it out of Cuba and even at 5 years old you questioned the safety of cooking with this thing. However, those moros always came out bomb af. ?

2. The fly swatter.

We all know it. We’ve all seen it. It was always the same fly swatter that hung there near the kitchen sink and was rarely used to discipline the flies. It was used to discipline you instead.

3. Mojo by ?? the ?? gallon. ??

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Nothing made you more excited as a little Cuban kid than coming home (or going to abuela’s) and smelling the strong and distinct scent of this garlic, citrus marinade washing over all of your senses. To this day you probably have a gallon or two in the pantry and you put this stuff on everything.

4. More Jupiña sodas than you’d need to satisfy the army.

These were crack and we could never say no to them, especially on a hot summer day while listening to salsa music in the kitchen.

5. Guava paste for days.

Jorge Rodriguez-Jimenez / mitú

This was something that was always stock-piled if you were a Cuban living outside of Miami because it was not easy to come by. It was so precious that when you did manage to find some, you’d clear out the shelf and hide it in the pantry.

*Note: This is actual footage from my present-day kitchen.

6. First Communion photos on the fridge.

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Doesn’t matter if it was one month ago or 30 years ago. Mami y abuelita love showing all of their friends how preciosa you were when you took First Communion.

7. Keebler Export soda crackers and the big green tin that lived on the counter.

It lived on the counter because it was so bulky and big that it literally didn’t fit anywhere else in the house. But that was fine because you and your hermanos would clear a tin in two days tops. And, yes, they had to be Keebler or else they were trash.

And all those empty containers quickly became Tupperware for all the bulk items that needed storage like rice or beans.

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And sometimes they would just be used to hold precious muñecas from your childhood that mami just couldn’t bear getting rid of.

8. You’d always see some freshly washed Ziploc bags drying out in the sink.

It wasn’t because you were #goingbroke, your family just believed in not wasting things that can be used again. Don’t lie. You’ve done this.

9. Random bottles of pickled fruits and vegetables that you were never going to eat.

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To this day, I have no idea who created this little fade and how long it’ll last. One thing was for sure, though. These were strictly decoration and they would be cycled out every year for the “newer” models.

10. An old-school cafetera that lived on the stove.

Much like the Mexican comal, this bad boy never left the stove unless it was either serving you cafecito or being washed.

11. Black beans on black beans on black beans.

It was never really clear if abuela just forgot that she already had 30 bags of black beans before going to the store or if she was preparing for a national state of emergency. Either way, she is the only person in the family that knows how to properly season the beans. It’s like she had some special santeria that made them taste so good.

12. There was always a map of Cuba.

Why? Who knows, but by the time you were 7 years old you knew the exact shape of the motherland.

13. A bowl of fake fruit that usually hung out on the kitchen counter.

It is a fact that the trust issue of many Cuban children stems from the first time they took a bit of an apple only to get a mouthful of wax or styrofoam. Then they’d get yelled at for trying to eat it. Who does that?

14. Pik-Nik shoestring potatoes were always on deck in case you got a hankering for salt.

You ate so many of these as a kid that you can still smell the cardboard used to make the packaging. Tbh, you just thought about buying some more right now.

15. A radio that blasts Celia Cruz all day and night because, why not?!

Christina Henderson / mitú

Only the queen of salsa can get a Cuban grooving and jiving in the kitchen. ?


READ: 21 Smells that Perfectly Sum Up Your Cuban Childhood

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Jenny Solares Is One IG Creator Everyone Needs To Follow

Culture

Jenny Solares Is One IG Creator Everyone Needs To Follow

A year in quarantine has led so many of us to doom scroll and get lost in social media. As a result, some people are getting more recognition and one person who should be getting your attention is Jenny Solares, or @es_jenny_solares on Instagram.

Jenny Solares is here with the relatable content we all want.

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A post shared by Jenny • Sad Girl (@es_jenny_solares)

The Guatemalan content creator knows what the people want to see. How many times have you heard someone say that they like a woman who can eat? Well, as Jenny urges, prove it, y’all. Take your lady out and get her all of the food that she wants. Let’s go!

Now, that’s how you add salsa to someone’s food. If you didn’t already think this way when adding salsa to your tacos, you definitely will now. It’s just impossible not to.

We also love seeing her collaborating with Estefania Saavedra, a fellow Latina creator. A rising tide lifts all boats so we appreciate seeing these Latinas working together.

Solares is even creating brand new identities.

Cholas will forever have a place in our hearts. We know cholas. We love cholas. We are related to cholas. Solares’ creation of the glola is truly a work of art. Just because you’re a chola doesn’t mean you can’t love glitter and colors.

She’s even got some of the Covid humor in check.

There are going to be so many school assignments about this year in the coming years. Kids will be learning about the time the world stood still as we battled an out-of-control virus. It is going to be us having to tell the little ones about that time and it’s going to be rough. Get ready to reliving everything we have been dealing with for the last year.

On top of all of the comedy, Solares is ready to show her fans some real love for their support.

“Thank you all for letting me be me. Thank you for appreciating my silliness, my craziness, my songs, my dances, my imperfections,” Solares tells her fans in a year-end video. “Thank you for letting me be myself. This year was full of so much sadness, uncertainty, frustration, and, for a lot of people, loneliness. Thank you all for not letting me feel that loneliness.”

Thank you, Jenny. Your comedy has been a bright spot for so many during an incredibly hard and sad year.

READ: Instagram Fitness Gurus To Follow For Your 2021 Goals

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Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

Entertainment

Spanish Actor Javier Bardem Will Be Playing Cuban Entertainer Desi Arnaz in a New Movie and Fans Wish Hollywood Cast a Latino Instead

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Recently, it was announced that Amazon studios will be producing a movie based on the lives of groundbreaking Old Hollywood power couple Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. According to reports, Nicole Kidman is set to play Ball while Spanish actor Javier Bardem will be playing Arnaz.

Seeing as Arnaz is widely viewed as one of the first Latino actors to achieve mainstream success in the United States, this news was positive for many. But for others, the news was less than ideal.

Some critics are lambasting the decision to cast Bardem as Arnaz, seeing that Bardem was born and raised in Spain, and is therefore not Latino.

One disgruntled Twitter user wrote: “I guess it’s really hard to find a Cuban actor so you have to hire a Spaniard…Whitewashing can happen to Latinos too.”

The criticism around Hollywood relying on Spanish actors and actresses to play Latino roles is not a new one. For years, Spanish actors like Antonio Banderas, Penelope Cruz, and Paz Vega have played Latino characters in American movies. The preponderance of this phenomenon have led some people to accuse Hollywood of “white washing” Latino characters by casting Spanish actors.

Antonio Banderas is one of the most famous examples of a Spanish actor who built his career off of playing Latinos.

He has played Latinos for so long that many people think he is, in fact, Latino. But when he was erroneously called a “person of color” by American publications when he was nominated for an Oscar in 2020, there was quiet the outcry in Spain.

Spanish publications condemned American media for having an “absurd obsession” with race, and not understanding that Spaniards are, in fact, white.

Publications wrote arguments like: “Banderas might pass as a Latino ‘person of color,’ to an Arkansas farmer, great-grandson of Germans, but never to a California delivery man born to Guatemalan immigrants.”

To some observers, it seems that Hollywood prefers casting Europeans as Latinos because Hollywood sees Europe as more “sophisticated” than Latinidad.

25-year-old Spaniard Juan Pedro Sánchez, summed up the problem on Twitter, saying: “A lot of people in Spain are bothered if others confuse them for Latin American because Spaniards see Latinos as people of color, and they don’t want to be associated with that.”

He went on to say: “What bothers me is not being considered a person of color, but that people ignore that Spain was a colonizer country. It erases that history.”

The bottom line is, fans are frustrated that Hollywood keeps looking to European actors to cast Latin American characters.

Study after study shows that there is still a stubborn lack of representation for Latinos onscreen. And when there is finally a role that puts a Latino character front and center, Hollywood prefers to hire a European actor over a Latino one.

Javier Bardem is an exceptionally talented actor and there’s no doubt that he will tackle the role of Desi Arnaz with creativity and dedication–but fans’ frustrations at the casting choice doesn’t have to do with Bardem’s acting capabilities. It has to do with the all of the ways that Latinos are discounted–including professionally.

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