I despise the New Year. The expectations, the goals that will never be accomplished, and everyone telling you how this year they are going to be ‘healthy’. I was happy to be able to spend the holiday outside of the States, celebrating with new traditions in Havana, Cuba. New Years traditions did not involve much of confetti poppers and loud music in Cuba. Tradition’s focused on growth and starting fresh. There were two practices we took part, the first included throwing out water from the windows of the house. The belief is that this will clean out the bad spirits in the house. An additional tradition, that has become my new favorite, is to walk around the block with a suitcase. This ensures that the individual will travel/get out of the country in the upcoming year.
My favorite part of traveling to a new country, is trying the cuisine, obviously. Restaurants are different than they are in America, because of the government structure. Restaurants are either privately run, Paladares, or State run. Throughout my time in Cuba we ate in mostly Paladares, they have better quality ingredients and more creative recipes. Not only that, but we visited many famous bars, including Sloppy Joes.
Rum and Cokes were always on the table and I have to say they were often poured with a heavy hand. I was there for a short period of time and did not get to try everything that I wanted to. Ropa Vieja, Paella, and Croquetas all were tasted and even something familiar. However, I tried Congrí (black beans with white rice) and the black beans themselves became an obsession. I understand that this dish does not sound exciting, but the flavors are like no other, slightly spicy and smokey. It has become my goal now to recreate this recipe at home.
This year I am focusing on doing more things that I enjoy, like cooking and writing about food, just because. Don’t worry about making ridiculous goals this year. Do more of what makes you happy.
Made with Love,