23267 updated post view 3455

A Story About Cuban Food

Cuban Farmer in Lunch

I was at the Cuban Interest Office in Washington, just a few miles from where I live, speaking through a locked iron fence, asking the familiar guard the status of my Cuban passport. I applied for it 3 months prior and should have received it 6 weeks earlier. It was 11:45 a.m., though the office is open until noon. I waited 10 minutes before the friendly associate director, whom I’ve come to know, came out with my pasaporte. I was so excited. Across the street, the Cuban flag was being raised at the Swiss Embassy, the decades-long, temporary house for Cuban(-American) affairs. There were hundreds of people, mostly Cubans, cheering, crying, and protesting. We were all witnessing history and a new story unfold, literally, right in front of us.

I had to go. I had a lunch meeting at an Indian restaurant. Telemundo, Univision and one other local Spanish station ran after me, begging for an interview. ‘How do you feel? What’s your message to the Cuban people on the islandAre you going to visit?’ I was so annoyed, but proud. I answered a few questions before my 6’4″ friend blocked with his arm another round of reporters making their way to me.

True story.

I had every intention of going back to Cuba last fall, to see mi Tia and reconnect with mi isla. It’s been 15 years. But a cookbook deal on pressure cooking came knocking with a tight deadline. I shut down to handle that. But then I had an idea: “I’ll go for research!  I’ll deeply explore my recipes’ roots, cook with abuelitas; visit paladares, interview people — los campesinos –and ask them about food traditions from our ancestors –traditions and platos I’m not so familiar with.”

I had it all planned out. But timing… you know how that goes. I’ve not been able to go yet.

And then this. My friend Asori Soto, a Cuban filmmaker living in NY, tagged me 3 weeks ago in a picture on his Instagram feed. It’s a  moody but vibrantly spirited image of an old woman picking food in Cuba.  And then I saw another. And another. Asori was in Cuba, exploring our food! He was on our “Now Open for Business” island, trekking the streets of Havana and meandering the rachuelitos of Holguin, in search of the food culture the island lost right at the turn of the ’59 revolution.

I met Asori in LA back in 2010 when he was working with a TV production company I was being managed by. Our exchanges were surface, mostly about café con leche and flan — two beholden Cuban treats. What I didn’t know until recently is that Asori has an equally impassioned, deep love for our food, our essence, our culture; deep enough to tell its untold story. I didn’t know his background in Cuba was filmmaking.

As we both witnessed the peeling back of an an embargo that’s impacted our entire lives in very different ways — he while in Cuba, me growing up in Miami and DC — our wheels started spinning in sync unbeknownst to each other.

We have to tell this story. We have to expose and share with the world the Cuba most people don’t know exists. It’s not just mojitos and guava pastries.”


The best path into a peoples’ soul is their cuisine. And there’s no better time than now to share our narrative. To tell their story–those still on the island.

Crab Feast Gibara

While I am using my book as a breve introduction to the food that so roundly defines me, he’s taking the lens and bringing to life the hidden treasures in  all of Cuba. In Cuban Food Stories, my friend and his crew, supported by an arm of executive producers behind Jiro Dreams of Sushi, spent over 3oo hours documenting the people who hold history in their hearts. On a boat trip along the Toa River in Baracoa, a sunbaked fisherman hooks blue shell crab. That catch later turned into an idyllic beach dinner, replete with mariscos and beautifully designed serving platters stacked with stuffed cangrejo. Surely, from my childhood stories, crab or lobster or anything from la costa, was food only accessible to visiting dignitaries. Or to the upper echelon of the administration. An employee of La Terraza, a famed seafood restaurant in Cojimar, known for hosting Ernest Hemingway for many years, could not even dream of eating like that. I ate there once with an American boyfriend… but we could afford a $30 crab dinner; you already know I didn’t eat it. But it was available to us…visitors.

I’ve seen raw footage of the indie film and I’ve learned some things myself. There’s no doubt I’m intimiately connected with the Cuban spirit. The ingenious one that takes Campbell soup cans to serve as conductors for a handmade watermill in a creek that produces electricity. He highlights that resilience in the film. But in a way that ilicits sympathy rather than applause. He was introduced to and spent time with  a nuclear physicist-turned fisherman in the village of Jagua. This genius cooks and serves centuries-old recipes for his family.

I am blown away.

The film is an homage to a people and culture who’ve been so far removed from everything you and I expect to enjoy whenever we want. But it’s an equal plea to restore the lost essence of the Cuban soul. Asori inspires a more present and visible revival of dormant cooking techniques and gathering methods from all over the island: the cities, the beaches, el campo, the antiquated villages. It’s not just a glorified wide shot of the colorful pop ups and paladares ubiquitous in La Habana. Or a pan of the ebb and flow of the malécon during carnaval. Not even close to the exciting approach Anthony Bourdain, took the 2 or 3 times he’s been there, to also explore food. It goes to the source of the romanticism.

It’s our story through the lens of a Cuban filmmaker who respects the ancient life and wants to show you the bounty underneath congrí.

It gets to the root of my passion. The very thing I live for. The very soul of who I am.

The film is slated to release later this summer with the help of Kickstarter. The online campaign shows you a moving trailer that’ll intrigue you. You’ll want more. Trust me. But it needs support! And then he’ll later help me tell you the story I’ve been penning.

Check out the Kickstarter campaign video! It’s invigorating and inviting. You’re going to want to be a part of this.

All images c/o Asori Soto. 

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

Follow the sexy & delicious fun on


follow Bren Herrera on Pinterest

Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

104 thoughts on “A Story About Cuban Food

  1. 22492 571353Amaze! Thank you! I constantly wished to produce in my internet web site a thing like that. Can I take element of the publish to my weblog? 675931

  2. 374031 379621Hey! Im at function surfing about your blog from my new apple iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading by means of your blog and appear forward to all your posts! Maintain up the outstanding function! 359286

  3. We investigated the PTPN13 consequences on cell aggressiveness using wound healing and Boyden chamber assays, on intercellular adhesion using videomicroscopy, cell aggregation assay and immunofluorescence buy cialis canadian

  4. In recent times, Africa has come about as a lively hub for tunes and celebrity tradition, gaining international acknowledgement and influencing international trends. African tunes, using its rich tapestry of genres such as Afrobeats, Amapiano, and highlife, features captivated audiences globally. Major artists just like Burna Boy, Wizkid, and Tiwa Fierce, ferocious have not just dominated the charts in Africa but they have also made important inroads into the global music scene. Their collaborations with international stars and performances at significant music festivals have got highlighted the continent’s musical prowess. The particular rise of digital platforms and interpersonal media has even more amplified the get to of African songs, allowing artists in order to connect with fans across the globe and share their unique sounds and tales – https://nouvelles-histoires-africaines.africa/comment-definir-une-chanson-comme-sonnerie-pour-l/.

    In addition to its musical ability, Africa’s celebrity culture is flourishing, along with entertainers, influencers, plus public figures instructing large followings. Celebrities such as Lupita Nyong’o, Trevor Noah, and Charlize Theron, who have roots in Africa, happen to be making waves globally in film, tv, and fashion. These kinds of figures not just provide attention to their particular work but furthermore reveal important sociable issues and ethnic heritage. Their accomplishment stories inspire some sort of new generation of Africans to follow careers in the particular entertainment industry, cultivating a sense of pride and ambition across the particular continent.

    Moreover, Black celebrities are progressively using their websites to advocate with regard to change and give to their neighborhoods. From Burna Boy’s activism around interpersonal justice issues to be able to Tiwa Savage’s initiatives to promote education regarding girls, these public figures are profiting their influence regarding positive impact. These are involved in various philanthropic activities, supporting causes such while healthcare, education, in addition to environmental sustainability. This specific trend highlights the particular evolving role regarding celebrities in Africa, who are not merely entertainers but likewise key players in driving social transformation and development.

    Total, the landscape regarding music and superstar culture in Africa is dynamic and even ever-evolving. The continent’s rich cultural selection and creative ability still garner international acclaim, positioning The african continent as a major push within the global entertainment industry. As African-american artists and celebs continue to break boundaries and achieve new heights, they pave the way in which for some sort of more inclusive in addition to diverse representation inside global media. Intended for those interested in staying updated upon the latest styles and news within this vibrant landscape, numerous platforms and even publications offer exhaustive coverage of Africa’s music and superstar happenings, celebrating the particular continent’s ongoing input to the globe stage.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Theme developed by TouchSize - Premium WordPress Themes and Websites
Show Buttons
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Youtube
Hide Buttons