Every meal I make has a story. Take my breakfast this morning. It wasn’t elaborate — two eggs, over easy, and a baguette with butter and avocado. (For details on the coffee, see this post; I'll write about the pink guava smoothie in coming posts, or for something similar, see my mango milkshake recipe.)
The avocado was the easy part. At this time of year, if you’re not careful while you’re walking through our backyard, you might get hit by a green orb falling from our enormous avocado tree. Finding the butter was also relatively easy. A few months ago, butter (as with many other basic items) had disappeared from the shelves of the many mercaditos (mini-markets) in our neighborhood, but, inexplicably, in recent days, butter — from Poland, no less — has been almost as easy to find as a ripening avocado.
The baguette, on the other hand, was a product of persistence — good bread is one of the trickier items to find in Cuba, and it was on my third or fourth try to the best state-owned bakery that I finally found it. With the difficulties in finding bread, we are beginning to bake it ourselves (details to come in future posts).
The eggs took the most effort. Once or twice a month, our bodega receives a shipment of eggs, packed in large carton flats of thirty, and when they arrive, you know it. La bola en la calle, or “the word on the street,” gets out. A long line forms in front of the small, humble shop that resembles a general store from the 1800s. A shopkeeper doles out five eggs per person per month with their libreta (or ration book). Aside from collecting this ration for a few cents, Cubans are also free to buy eggs at 55 cents per dozen — a relatively affordable price, given that the average government salary in Cuba is about $25 per month. All of the eggs are usually gone in a few hours flat.
My breakfast this morning wasn’t particularly Cuban, but I’ve also learned that there isn’t any typical Cuban breakfast, at least not at this moment in time. It’s basically a matter of what you can get…