Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Helpful Hints Dept.

Who says the official Cuban media are nothing but useless propaganda mouthpieces for a tired and corrupt regime on its (hopefully) last legs?

Certainly not Juventud Rebelde, the official newspaper of the grandly-named Cuban Union of Communist Youth (UJC).

Starting this past Tuesday, the paper is publishing weekly lessons to help its readers in the correct, revolutionary use of "highly advanced" electric appliances such as rice cookers and pressure cookers.

As you will recall, the cookers have been imported from China over the past couple of years as part of Fidel Castro’s grand plan to solve the country’s energy shortages – his so-called Revolucion Energetica.

In characteristic style, the all-powerful dictator ordered that from then on, all Cuban households had to buy the new cookers from the State at supposedly “subsidised” prices, as a way of saving energy.

Why, he even gave a hilarious televised demonstration showing Cubans how to correctly use the new machines.

But you know Cubans ... too busy talking to pay attention! It appears many families have been using the cookers wrongly, despite the clear (and strict) instructions from El Cocinero en Jefe, as we have previously reported.

So, with Castro out of action, the helpful folk at Juventud Rebelde have come to the rescue.

You can read their first instalment here – a complete lesson on how to look after those new and mysterious Chinese pressure cookers. Sadly, it's only in Spanish.


Blogger Manuel A.Tellechea said...

Yes, Castroite publications are always filled with "useful" hints and recipes for those with an empty pantry and refrigerator. Which is certainly odd because Cubans are supposedly so well fed. If fact, the island's statisticians even assure us that at least 40 percent of the population is obese. Which shows what Cubans can do with a handful of beans. Even Jack would be impressed.

Let me give you an example:

There was once a special fourth meal in Cuba known as "la merienda." It was prepared especially for children by mothers and grandmothers after school.

I thought that the merienda was one of those traditions that was dead in Cuba. After all, since Castro came to power people in Cuba have been lucky to get one meal a day, and that a miracle of improvisation.

Then some 15 years ago, reading a copy of Red Bohemia, I chanced upon a recipe for a merienda snack. The recipe was prepared by inserting fish scraps ("desperdicios") into an old sock, tying the open end and boiling it for 20 minutes. The fish roll was then cooled, sliced and served to the children as their merienda snack.

Since then, whenever I see pictures of Cuban children, I think of that miserable fish roll in a sock merienda, which is a metaphor for their lives in Castro's Cuba.

12:20 am  
Blogger Greg said...

It is amazing they would put this on their website. What are they going to do,spend their monthly income reading it at the internet cafe?

1:54 am  
Blogger Manuel A.Tellechea said...


Supposing they had access to the internet, supposing they had internet cafes and supposing that these would accept Cuban pesos, which, of course, is too much supposing.

2:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How extraordinarily embarrassing, to put it very charitably. I suppose being a dictator means never having to bother with silly things like shame.

3:35 am  

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