My mother, uncles and grandparents emigrated from Cuba in August of 1962… They never returned. My grandmother would talk about life in Cuba in the 1950’s with such descriptive detail. She would talk about where she lived, where she went, what she did. She always did… Even when the dementia took her mind, she would remember the street she lived in, which was Gonzalo de Quesada in Jaguey Grande, in the Province of Matanzas in Cuba.
Once a year in Miami, there’s a cultural exhibition called Cuba Nostalgia, it brings back a sense of the old Cuba my Yaya would talk about so fondly. The Cuba I would never see, but in the scant pictures she was able to salvage and through her vivid descriptions.
This year, thanks to my friends at Santayana Jewelers http://santayana.com/, I got to bask in Cuban Bling!!! They designed some amazing pieces that are very true to the Cubanity that a lot of us that are children of exiles have. I tried on the ‘Cafetera Ring’ and the ‘Caja China Ring’. Let me explain the 2… Lets take the ‘Cafetera Ring’, one thing that brings people together is a cafecito, which littlerally translates into little coffee. It may look like the italian espresso, but it’s not. The sugar is integrated into it right after brewing and if made by hand (like I do it) you have an amazing foam made by sugar. Friends get together over cafecito to catch up. When a single girl makes good cafecito, it is said that she’s ready to get married, for Cubans that’s the marriage litmus test. Now for the ‘Caja China Ring’, in every Cuban celebration, there’s one thing that you serve – PORK. And where do you cook the pork??? In a caja china of course (http://www.lacajachina.com/). Both the Cafetera and the Caja China were perfectly done in silver.
As an American of Cuban decent, I feel that I belong to two cultures… I can make great burgers that are followed up by a mean cafecito, trust me that my cafecito has a cult-like following. It’s nice to feel that I can relate to a place that I’ve never been to, but feel like it is also home.