I woke up feeling Cuban today.
I am longing for a plate of family with a side of too many cousins to count.
I want to be in a place so loud, I can’t hear myself think. I want to be somewhere where the rapid conversations, raucous laughter and abundant food are non-stop.
Ask me why I call this Cuban nostalgia and I will tell you it is the oxymoronicwhispering, loud voice of a long gone childhood where no longer present Parents, Aunts and Uncles reigned supreme over households full of happy children who belonged to everyone.
When my family left Cuba and relocated our little island on what had been Polish, Irish, Italian and multi-ethnic streets named Charles and James, this defined Cuba for me since I had no memory of the island itself.
I then went on to recall, almost as if on a filmstrip, the sights and sounds of a Cuban childhood replete with Spanglish words, odd customs and a family so incredibly gifted in the culinary arts that every fine memory in my banks is accompanied by a picture of food.
Living in a world where gravy was salsita, rice was a living staple and vegetables consisted of anything starchy, I long at this moment for all those tastes that take me back to my defined Cuba.
I want the aroma of my mother’s simmering, naughtily named Rabo Encendido to hit my nostrils, I want to see a tray of Moros y Cristianos waiting for me to sample from it and I yearn for the sizzle of the platanos in the hot oil atop the stove.
I want Flan dripping in caramel sauce where the taste of condensed milk and vanilla ignite my senses.
I want the taste of my childhood in exile Cuba and I want it now.
So as I embark on my day, I will carry this nostalgia with me and look for the little things that trigger a trip down memory lane for me because…
I woke up feeling
Cuban hungry today.