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Book Review: Memories of a Cuban Kitchen

Memories of a Cuban Kitchen

Authors: J.Shwarz, M.U. Randelman

Overview: Authentic Cuban recipes offer a mixture of Spanish, Indian, African, Chinese, and Portuguese cuisine, from appetizers like Green Plantain Chips, to such entrees as Roast Pork Creole, to tropical rum-based drinks and desserts.

Filled with reminiscences and evocative halftone photos of Randelman’s childhood in pre-Castro Cuba, this book presents more than 200 traditional recipes for Cuban dishes, a cuisine that lusciously combines Spanish, Indian, African, Chinese, and Portuguese influences.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements.
  • Introduction.
  • Cuban Cooking.
  • Travels with Titi: Appetizers and Snacks.
  • La Majagua Tobacco Ranch: Soups and Stews.
  • El Chamizo Cattle Ranch: Meat and Poultry.
  • Varadero and Mariel: Fish and Shellfish.
  • Rosalie’s Kitchen: Rice, Beans, and Eggs.
  • The Spa at San Diego De Los Baños: Salads and Vegetables.
  • Las Canas Orange Groves: Desserts.
  • An American in Havana: Drinks.
  • Index.
  • Permissions.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

“Most Cubans will tell you that we have two food groups: party food–made up of snacks–and real food, built around fish, stews and soups,” write menu consultant Randleman and editor Schwartz. “We seem to consume more of the former.” In 1957, when Randleman herself was 10 years old, her prosperous family emigrated to Miami from Cuba. Her memories of pre-Castro life and eating are filtered through a golden haze of childhood recollection: cousin Pepe entertains his family at meriendasic (afternoon tea), in which “steaming trays began appearing from the kitchen, borne by a parade of indulgent maids and cooks,” and glamorous Aunt Titi drives the young Randelman to the Havana Yacht Club for incomparable freshly fried potato chips and croquetassic “filled with smoky creamed ham and splashed with lime juice.” The Cuban national cuisine as it emerges here is a fusion of Spanish, African, Chinese and Portuguese elements, as one sees in a dish such as okra stew with plaintain dumplings ( guiso de quimbombo ), containing root vegetables, sherry, bacon and Cuban beef stock, always seasoned with cumin.92 Lime juice is used liberally, both as marinade and flavoring. Desserts are largely custards, flans and puddings.250 The book is a personal yet comprehensive introduction to a cuisine perpetuated more in South Florida than in its native island.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


From the Back Cover

“The best foreign cookbook honors go to Memories of a Cuban Kitchen. The book rings wonderfully true, both in its recipes and its evocations of pre-Castro Havana as recalled by author Mary Urrutia Randelman with heartfelt affection. This beautiful book is a memory piece as much as a cookbook.”—The Washington Times “Memories of a Cuban Kitchen will be an added treasure in any cook’s library and a must in the kitchen of any American of Cuban heritage or anyone who’s interested in exploring Cuban cooking more fully at home.” — The Miami Herald A Sampling of Remembered Dishes

  • Bistec de Palomilla (Cuban Fried Steak)
  • Moros y Cristianos (Black Beans and Rice)
  • Ajiaco Criollo (Cuban Creole Stew)
  • Pargo Relleno (Stuffed Red Snapper)
  • Ensalada de Aguacate y Mango (Avocado and Mango Salad)
  • Flan de Coco (Coconut Flan)


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This entry was posted on March 12, 2013 by and tagged , , , , , .
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