Though I live in the midwest now, reasonably content, I grew up in South Miami, surrounded by Cuban food. And every now and then I miss it sharply and terribly.
So the good thing is that we live in a global economy and I can get Cuban foods and ingredients even though I live pretty much in a non-Cuban society. Kansas has a large hispanic population, but it’s not Cuban-hispanic. And there is a difference, right down to the languages. About like British English vs. American.
This took me a long time to get over when I kept going to hispanic food stores out here and wanting “galletas” and being directed to row after row of cookies. No, I kept trying to explain. That’s not what a galleta is to me. But finally, it dawned on me that I could just hunt up a Cuban foods store and hey, have galletas—unsweetened hexagonal thick crackers with an appealingly sandy texture—delivered to me. As well as Cuban sugar cookies which are called torticas, thank you, not galletas…. Life improved.
And then I realized I could order guava paste. I don’t do it all the time. In fact, it’s a once a year thing. I cave. I order a bunch of guava paste, buy multiple boxes of puff pastry, and settle down to make pastelitos– puff pastry sandwiching a filling of tart guava and cream cheese.
It’s more assembly than actual baking/cooking, and my god there is nothing in the world as sticky as guava paste. Which is… probably my least favorite sensation in the world. Sticky.
So making them is always an exercise in slicing guava, peeling the guava paste from the knife, laying down the guava slice, running to the sink to wash my hands. And doing it all over again until the guava paste is all sliced up.
Worth it, though for the way my friends and family greet the results.
That’s my Monday.
Currently reading: NK Jemisin’s The Stone Sky