These Smells Will Instantly Transport You Back To Your Cuban Childhood

There are some aromas that stay with you for life. These scents will take you back and remind you what it was like growing up in a Cuban home.

1. Abuelita’s mouth-watering frijoles negros.

CREDIT: hilditaperez / Instagram

Somehow her beans were never bland, perfectly cooked, and the greatest surprise after a long day. I’m still not entirely sure what she put in her beans, but I could never stop at the third serving and the smell was so… yummm ?.

2. Quenepas by the f*cking pound, bro.

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3. Pan Cubano con mantequilla straight off the press.

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You know what I’m talking about. The bread is hard and warm with some butter still pouring out when you dunk it in your coffee. The smell of toasted bread with butter on top will always transport you straight to abuela’s kitchen.

4. The sweet and buttery aroma of guava pastelitos.

CREDIT: breadmanmiamibakery / Instagram

If you’ve never enjoyed one of these babies, you are seriously missing out. If just guava seems like it might be too sweet for you, try one with queso. Hell, just spend the day at the bakery trying to fill yourself up on pastelito after pastelito. The smell of that buttery, flaky crust will stay with you long after you leave.

5. The smell of abuelita’s house a.k.a. lavender Fabuloso.

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Maybe your grandmother used a different scent of Fabuloso. Regardless, you know just how important and relevant this scent was for a Cuban household. This smell still makes me feel right at home.

6. The strong, familiar scent of Certs mints.

CREDIT: mrkiki02 / Instagram

Me: Abuelo, quiero un dulce.

Abuelo: *passes Certs*

Me: ?

7. Smelling ropa vieja cooking all damn day and trying not to eat it when mami steps out of the kitchen.

CREDIT: foodblogmiami / Instagram

Okay. Maybe it wasn’t cooking all day but that smell knows how to fill a space and cling to your clothes. Admit it. You are currently reminiscing about that smell now, aren’t you. If you even tried to take a bite before it was ready all hell rained down upon you.


CREDIT: Assassins / Warner Bros.

Who would have guessed that you could recall a smell just by looking at a picture?

8. Agua de Violetas a.k.a. baby’s first perfume.

CREDIT: labellaviajante / Instagram

Abuela, tía, mami, everyone had this somewhere in their bathroom and it smells like Cuban heaven. If you could bathe in this, you would. When you were younger you were covered in this stuff after every bath from head to toe.

9. Fresh fried croquetas de jambon.

CREDIT: sracroqueta / Instagram

Nothing says Cuban like the aroma of croquetas slowly wafting into your room. Or is it really just the smell of hot oil in a pot? Either way, these aromas are spellbinding.

10. Men smoking cigars during family reunions.

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And after church, before bed, during the game, and when they had nothing to do. Somehow they always had Cuban cigars even though they weren’t allowed to have Cuban cigars in the US. How did they get them? You never asked.

11. A refreshing malta while you sit at the counter and watch abuela cook.

CREDIT: raginpitbull / Instagram

Goya makes the best malta and you know it. But even if you can’t get the Goya version or if your family never stocked it, the malta drink was still a staple. It’s a smell you can never forget.

Abuela: *cracks open a malta*


CREDIT: Tam Coco / TBS

Doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 45, that smell will always make you remember being in the kitchen on a hot summer day while abuela was cooking.

12. Café Cubano.

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‘Nuff said. Except there is never enough said when you are drinking café Cubano. Like, it is the fuel you need to survive and sometimes you might get annoying because you just can’t stop talking after you have some of this coffee and….

13. Leche condensada, which was in every dessert you ever ate.

CREDIT: charsfernandez / Instagram

The sweet, dairy smell still lingers in your nose to this day. Doesn’t matter what it was being used for, you always knew that the smell of sweet milk in the air meant that it was about to go down.

14. The wood rosary you got for your first communion and left on your closet doorknob the rest of your life.

CREDIT: rschllemonique / Instagram

For some reason, this rosary smells totally different than anyone else’s. It was also probably hanging on the doorknob of your bedroom door so you touched it every time you left the house.

15. Peeling open a fresh pack of dominos.

CREDIT: whoizc / Instagram

The smell of the wooden box mixed with the new, plastic smell of the dominos is a thing of Cuban dreams. It was also a definite sign that you’ve become an adult when you got to join in on the game. You didn’t know what you were doing but you were just happy to be included.

16. Lechon that you would have several times throughout the year.

CREDIT: oni_perez / Instagram

Either abuelita was practicing for the big day or there was just an abundance of pork to roast. Didn’t really matter because as soon as that lechon was ready to go, you were ready to feast!

17. Only a true Cuban knows the refreshing scent of Materva on a hot day.

CREDIT: typettigrew / Instagram

We will not be outdone when it comes to beverages. If you’ve never had a Materva, you don’t know what you are missing. It is nectar that clearly came to us from above.

18. These shoestring potatoes that were in your sandwiches, hot dogs, and everything else.

CREDIT: superlouieanlap / Instagram

The smell of salty cardboard still makes your mouth water because of these things. Now, where you might run into salty cardboard is your own business.

This is your brain when thinking about those shoestring potatoes.

CREDIT: RuPaul’s Drag Race / Logo

Should they be salad croutons? Sure. Can they be dipped in ketchup? Hell yeah. Just enjoy them however you can.

19. Talco powder because baby powder is just too basic.

CREDIT: elinamicaayala / Instagram

Especially the on in the yellow container that smelled like a gift from the gods. You’ve definitely poured all of it out onto the floor before and that was the most fun and scariest day of your life.

20. Who could have guessed that bland crackers and thin paper could smell so good?

CREDIT: mrthepete / Instagram

Throw some butter on those bad boys and they are great with café Cubano. (It all comes full circle.) Plus, those metal containers make great rice storage facilities because they are durable and stack so nicely. *checks Amazon for a bulk order*

21. And, of course, the best damn smell in the world, mojo.

CREDIT: regards_angel / Instagram

A little gift from the Cuban people to the world. You are very welcome. Now go use it on your chicken, beef, whatever because there it nothing mojo (pronounced Mo-Ho) can’t make better.

Now, please excuse me while I go drool in the corner.

CREDIT: The Simpsons / Fox

There’s nothing that smells better than a Cuban childhood because, well, you just read why.

Don’t forget to click the share button below! Share with your friends – they’ll be super jelly of your Cuban childhood. 

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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


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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Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes


Change Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner With These Latin American Substitutes

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Thanksgiving is almost here and the pandemic is changing things for the holiday season. One of the biggest changes is that it is not advised to gather in person for the celebration. This might seem like a bad thing but it does give you the chance to mix things up before a Zoomed Thanksgiving feast. Here are some Latin Americans substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving table as a test run for next year.

Turkey is great but give some lechon a try.

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Lechon is a Cuban pork dish made for big celebrations. Thanksgiving is a big celebration the revolves around food. Lechon is already the meat of choice at a Cuban Thanksgiving and is usually the star of the plate. You can spend hours dealing with a turkey for the tenth year in a row or you can be a little more excited and make this delicious Cuban meal.

Tostones (patacones) are the perfect replacement for potatoes.

Tostones, also called patacones, are made using green plantains. They are tough and starchy so they make a great savory side dish. make sure you double fry these bad boys. Once when they are chopped and a second time after smashing them to their iconic flat shape. If you let the plantain ripen, you can use it to make maduros instead, which are sweet.

Or, take those plantains and make mofongo.

Mofongo uses the same green plantains except they are fried once then mashed. It goes great with pork so this is a perfect little dish to pair with the lechon if you really want to go for it. The Puerto Rican dish is something that will forever change your mind about what you’d like to see at Thanksgiving.

Causa rellena is a Peruvian take on the classic mashed potatoes.

If you want to stick to the potatoes you are used to buying, Peruvian causa rellena will given them a Latin American spin. The dish does not take long to make and requires minimal cooking. The most you have to really cook is boiling the potatoes so you can mash them but the way the dish ends it by popping it in the fridge. Just layer the cooked ingredients and set it in the fridge overnight to save on Thanksgiving Day cooking time.

Corn is always a hit, especially as esquites.

Esquites is one corn dish everyone needs to try at least once. It is a neater version of elote because it is all the same ingredients but in an easier to eat way. Better yet, you can make a big batch or opt for personal servings to make it all cleaner and easier for everyone involved.

Guava con queso pastelitos are the dessert everyone is really asking for.

This little Cuban pastry is probably one of the best desserts ever created. This is not up for debate. It is just a simple fact of Latin American desserts. Honestly, when you taste the sweet and tangy flavor of the guava wrapped in the flaky, buttery pastry, your life will change. Drop the pumpkin for one year and give this Cuban dessert a try.

READ: Take A Tasting Tour Of Latin America This Thanksgiving With This Curated Menu

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