Wednesday, July 04, 2007

From her kitchen

As you may have read elsewhere, Anita Snow has now completed her month-long experiment of trying to live (or rather, eat) like a Cuban.

Ms Snow, who has been the AP correspondent in Havana for the past eight years, wanted to spend a whole 30 days eating not like the privileged foreigner she is (or like Fidel Castro), but as an ordinary Cuban.

To do so, she had to rely on the dreaded libreta (the rationing system that has been in place since 1962), the expensive farmers’ markets dotted around the capital and the even more expensive State-owned “shopping”, where you need real money to buy mostly-imported goods at exorbitant prices.

And the conclusions after a month of supposed deprivation?

Well, folks, Ms Snow has discovered that it aint easy.

She has also discovered that Cubans obsess about food, which she says is understandable given you rarely know where your next meal is coming from, especially when your monthly rations run out after the first week.

Oh, yes, and she also discovered that a single papaya bought at a farmers’ market can cost “more than a day’s wages”.

And let’s not even compare the cost of a tube of toothpaste at the “shopping” where, by the way, every single cent goes back into the regime's pocket.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom, of course.

Food shortages have taught Cubans to be more inventive with their meals and more generous, too, sharing what little they have with relatives and close friends.

You think it’s all a bit condescending?

There is even better news: if you are extra careful about the ingredients you use, you can lose weight on an ordinary Cuban’s diet – as much as four kilos in just 30 days, in Ms Snow’s case.

The Castro Diet. Now, there’s a winner.

PS: For a terrific critique of Ms Snow’s diet experiment, head here for a very funny piece by Cuban independent journalist Luis Cino. It’s called En la cocina de Anita Snow. In Spanish. H/T to Penultimos Dias.


Blogger macthecat said...

Very interesting story... congratulations!

1:10 am  

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