The theme this year is "Cuban Cuisine: del casabe al mojito."
René Portocarrero, “La cena” (1942)
From their website:
The first conference ever held on the history and development of Cuban
cuisine—from its origins to the present. At the state-of-the-arts
facilities of The International Culinary Center in Manhattan, the
event will not only cover the evolution and the different influences
that have shaped the Cuban gastronomical landscape—through both formal
presentations, as well as on-site cooking and prepared samples by
top-notch chefs—but also highlight its rich cross-cultural
presence in television, cinema, literature, painting and, most
The one-day conference will be dedicated, In Memoriam, to Victor del Corral,
pioneer Cuban restauranteur whose founding of Victor’s Cafe in 1963
ushered in an era of popularity and appreciation for fine Cuban cuisine
in New York City and beyond that still prevails today.
The part I highlighted up there is about me. (I know. Shut up.)
This Day of Cuban Food Awesomeness will be taking place:
On Sunday, July 14, 2013 - 9 am to 7 pm.
The International Culinary Center 462 Broadway (corner of Grand St.), NYC
I'm still in Las Vegas (and blogging from my phone, but thats not important right now) and I just got the news that NBC Latino is featuring "My big, fat, Cuban Family" as one of the "Food Blogs We Love."
I'm so honored to be able to share this great news with you today. Here's the link: Food blogs we love: My Big Fat Cuban Family http://t.co/2d1hNTfF
Quick! Grab the sandpaper! Pa' darme lija!
Thanks, NBC Latino! I feel sooo accidentally cool now.
Some (very simplified, don't judge me) Cuban History for today:
In 1902, a bloody war had been fought between Cuba and Spain for Cuba's independence. The Cuban's won. It was quite a crushing defeat for the Spanish. They never quite recovered from it.
The president of the United States at that time was Theodore Roosevelt who had actually fought with his Rough Riders in Cuba and believed in Cuban independence.
On May 20th, 1902 Cuba was declared free of Spanish rule and winner of the war. (Not sure exactly how this is achieved. I picture a boxing ring and a referree holding up the hand of the winner, but that's probably not how it happened, and for sure it's not important right now.) Cuba was free.
May 20th is still celebrated as Cuban Independence Day.
(I found this somewhere in my archives. It reads:
"In celebration of the Anniversary of the Independence of Cuba
The Ambassador of Cuba
requests the pleasure of our compnay
at a reception
On Thursday, May the twentieth
at ten o'clock p.m.
Rsvp Cuban Embassy"
The U.S. had been involved in this Spanish American war and was now committed to helping the Cubans rebuild. One of the proposed initiatives was to send Cuban teachers to Washington D.C. to the White House to be honored as the best in their country and given support and materials to take back to Cuba.
Why all the history? I had a conversation with my mother, Luza last week....
Me:"I've been invited to the White House!"
Luza:"Then you'll be the 2nd one in our family."
I scoured my mental rolodex trying to remember who exactly in the family had received an invitation to the White House. As it turned out, she was referring to her own mother, Osmunda Perez-Puelles, one of the teachers chosen by President Roosevelt to be honored there. That was in 1902.
This photo was taken much later, obviously. Circa 1959. That's my grandmother, Osmunda, in the center surrounded by her (grown) children.
Fast forward to this week in My big, fat, Cuban family's history:
I am honored and humbled to announce that I was chosen as one of the Top Latina Blogueras by Latism (*Latinos in Social Media). And I also received an invitation to the White House. (I know. Shut up.)
Here I am surrounded by my supportive (and long-suffering) husband and (grown) children.
As you read this, I will already be on my way to Washington D.C. to represent. Represent what?
My culture, my heritage, my passion for all that is good and holy about family. This is why I write my stories and invite you into my world. And now I'm getting some cool recognition. From the White House. On the exact 110th anniversary of Cuban Independence. Coincidence? I think not.
I should technically be waking up in my own bed right now (sleeping-in would be more accurate, but that's not important right now). Instead I am groggy from a difficult night and anxious for the next 2 hours to fly by. (No pun intended.)
Yesterday I woke up in my penthouse room at the Ritz-Carlton with a panoramic view of Miami Beach.
After a quick, but extremely satisfying breakfast of pastelito and a cafecito,
I headed out to the beach, to a waiting chaise, where I was able to stretch out and soak in the sun. Of course, I went in the water and just floated and pondered how lovely and charmed my life was.
My blog-partner and friend, Carrie brought me lunch, we had a fabulous brainstorming session and then she graciously agreed to give me a ride to the airport.
Remember that I had been in a conference for the entire weekend. I had no idea what was happening out in the real world, let alone in Miami. (No, I don't think the world revolves around me, I was just busy with conference stuff. Don't judge me.)
So I arrived a little early at MIA (that's Miami International Airport for those of you who are not wannabe-jet-setters like me), I managed to get through security with relative ease, and I stocked up on provisions for my flight. ;-)
I was completely content with my iPad and internet access and I was happy to be alone and soaking up the airport ambiance. (I'm convinced that MIA is the best airport for people watching.)
That's when the craziness began.
Announcement after announcement of delayed flights and changed gates. I started wondering who was in charge. "Que desorganizados!" How could you run an airport like this? More announcements. More gate changes. More delays.
Then came the most dreaded announcement. My flight was going to be delayed. Not only that, but it looked like because of this, I was going to miss my connecting flight in Dallas, which meant that I was going to miss my flight home!
Deep breaths. The situation was out of my control. Best to relax and not stress about it. No need to create more drama. It was best to just Embrace the Pain. (<--okay, so maybe I got a little dramatic.)
Even after we boarded our already delayed flight, with the assurance that "You might make your connections," we were still on the tarmac two hours later. *sigh*
They started the movie before we even took off. And while it was entertaining and I was grateful, it was not a good sign.
So finally we flew. And we arrived in Dallas late. And there was a guy waiting to give the 83 of us who had missed our connections, vouchers for the flights we missed and the promise of a shuttle bus to take us to a hotel for the night. Embrace the pain.
And so it was that when I thought I would be just getting home to my own comfortable bed and my own sweet family (that I was missing terribly) I was checking into my room at The Psycho Motel in Dallas. (No, not the real name of the place, of course. Just my vivid and exhausted imagination making an Alfred Hitchcock reference, but that's not important right now.)
It was really more of a lair than a room.
And I began to wonder (not for the last time): what had happened to my idyllic semi-vacation?
This is the view from my Psycho Room:
Seriously, what happened?
Well, the POTUS was in Miami. And he stopped at El Mago de las Fritas to indulge in some Cuban food. (Here's the article.)
Photo credit: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
This decision to stop for a frita by the POTUS began the chain of events that led to flight cancellations, gate changes and numerous passenger delays and had a very specific and personal impact on me and my life.
And while I have to commend him for his good taste - a genuine Cuban frita is to die for - I could not excuse the fact that his personal "antojo" (translation: "craving") so adversely impacted so many people.
I love living in So Cal, but every now and then, Miami sings her siren song to me. (It usually comes with a killer bongo beat, but that's not important right now.)
Opening tomorrow, July 8 through July 11 at the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, there's a show I'd love to see. The show is called..... (wait for it....) Babalú. (I know. Shut up.)
Arnaz, with guests Raul Esparza, and Valarie Pettiford, and dancers
Jeanette Delgado and Richard Amaro and very special guest (be still my foolish heart) Desi
Arnaz, Jr. (Yes, that's right MY Desi. *sigh*)
So, if you're in Miami this weekend, please go see this show. Do it for me.
Let me be perfectly clear: Yes, we are unapologetic Conservatives.
I won't belabor the point by explaining (yet again!) that my family had to flee our homeland because of the communist takeover. America, founded on Christian principles, is the best place to live on the planet. And along with passing our Christian faith to our kids, we also want to pass on our Conservative values.
So here's Lucy, once again to finish the narrative of her trip, sharing about who she met, what she did, and what she learned. Thanks again to the staff of YAF for all your hard work and for everything you do to pass on the values of freedom to the next generation.
Ramesh Ponnuru, senior editor of National Review and a columnist for Time, gave his speech about diversity, tolerance, empathy, compassion, morality, and the distorted understanding of these terms.
After a quick break, we heard from Tim Goeglein. He analyzed the relationship between culture and politics, ideologies compared to lifestyles, and the importance of family values and morals, especially where politics are concerned. He also encouraged us to follow our vocation. A few deep breaths later, Bay Buchanan took to the podium and, to put it plainly, blew us all away. She was passionate, enthusiastic, and mildly... extreme. She talked about abortion, equal rights, and touched upon the subject of "political correctness." Quite interesting. Indeed, she woke me up (I mean this as truly as it can be meant; I have no shame in admitting that I had been nodding off for the past hour. No offense to the previous speakers.)
- Lunch. It happened. -
Back to the conference...
Kirby Wibur gave us an enlightening message about the presence of faith and the Christian religion in US history, supported by the references that the Founding Fathers included in the Declaration of Independence. He discussed the connection between faith and freedom, the separation of church and state, and virtue going hand in hand with liberty. We received a pocket-sized Constitution. (SCORE!)
After he stepped down, Kate Obenshain commandeered the microphone and explained the three basic things we should remember when discussing politics (or any topic) with our peers: Graciousness, Integrity, and Courage. She encouraged us to be humble and to believe in something bigger than ourselves. Extremely motivational and quite amusing.
And then... 'lo and behold... Jason Mattera walked in the room. The attention of the entire room was now completely fixated on the Editor of Human Events. The focus of his speech included the comparison between the two political parties, the global warming scare, and some delicate (ahem) criticisms of our current President. He talked about the presidential campaign and how effective the media is when it comes to politics.
He signed my book.
There was some time to gather our thoughts and relax before we went downstairs, well-dressed and smelling nice, for the next dinner banquet. After we had eaten, we heard from Steve Moore. I'll tell you right now: economics has never made so much sense. Income tax, revenue, budget, monetary policy, you name it, he explained it in the simplest of terms.
The night was late, I took my laptop downstairs to the lounge to upload photos and chat with you.
Thursday is over.
- - -
Friday, June 25th:
Dr. Burt Folsom Jr. (from Hillsdale College no less. Go figure.) gave us the history lesson of the month. Now, for someone who barely passed US History, I was actually... interested. So odd. Anyhoo, he discussed John D. Rockefeller and the oil industry, along with Cornelius Vanderbilt and Robert Cunningham (and all the steamship nonsense they were involved in at the time). I have his signature in my book. This pleases me.
Brief break, some questions were asked, and we were introduced to Dave Bossie, president of Citizens United and Citizens United Productions. He defined the conservative movement, discussed getting back to core beliefs and talked about how the media has become a very biased outlet for inaccurate information.
Next up was Michelle Easton, founder of the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute. She took her time to discuss role models and encourage the young independent women in the conference to become leaders in their community. Very inspiring and very humble.
After this speaker, we were privileged to enjoy a "girls only" luncheon with Mrs. Easton and a few of her interns, during which we were able to discuss and ask questions about our principles and values as young women.
The lunch was eaten. We trudged back into the conference room (willingly, but still. you get the picture.) and sat down. Donal Blaney took a few minutes to introduce the next guest, Mark Clarke, the Outreach Director for the Young Briton's Foundation. As soon as that man opened his mouth, there was an audible gasp from the young ladies in the room.
Oh. My. Word... he has a British Accent.
I have no shame in admitting that all of us girls were absolutely captivated for the rest of the session. I mean... come on. Don't judge. We were still listening.
Clarke's speech was abundant with amusing anecdotes about the "ridiculous" system of government and healthcare he had in his country, as well as some solemn observations about how frightful the government could really be. He compared the two political parties and posed a question: "When is the state ever the best answer?" He also talked about institutionalized religion and "tolerance."
Dr. Burt Folsom Jr. returned to speak to us about "Big Government Solutions" and gave us yet another history lesson, this time about Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, FDR, Andrew W. Mellon, and Andrew Jackson. His talk covered income tax, consumerism, the redistribution of wealth, federal spending, unemployment rates over history, and so on.
Soon, the Vice President of Young America's Foundation, Patrick X. Coyle, gave a speech about conservatism on college and high school campuses, and what we could do to create an active presence in our academic community. I scribbled down some shocking points in my notebook.
By this time, we're all getting slightly restless. We began listening at 9am, with some small breaks, and it was now almost 4 o'clock. Patience and focus were waning. But we only had one more speaker left. And they kept us well caffeinated. So that's good.
Last, but definitely not least, was Rebecca Hagelin. Her speech focused on the relationships we develop in our lifetimes, our need for a role model, how we could develop and strengthen our core values, the challenges we would face throughout our lifetimes, and the importance of self-education.
She talked to us about becoming strong-hearted individuals while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This was, I think, one of the most inspiring speeches. I bought her book, which she dedicated to me and my mother. (You're welcome, Mom.)
(I just realized how much I love parenthetical statements.)
I met up with my roomies and we headed back to the room to change into casual clothes. Skirts and blouses are fine, but for 8 hours? Level of Comfort: relatively low and dropping quickly. I felt human again in my jeans.
Thus began our twilight tour of Washington DC. World War II memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Washington Monument, and the Lincoln Memorial.
Everything's prettier when the sky is pink and there's a nice breeze. On the way up there, the gang in the back discussed the flaws in our system of government, argued among themselves about ethics, and defended the values and views of... you pick.
High School students. Politics. What's wrong with this picture?
Oh, fun times! We sang the National Anthem outside of the Lincoln Memorial. First time: Security guard came around and yelled at us to stop singing.
A student walked up to him and calmly explained that we were well within our 1st Amendment rights to sing a patriotic song in front of the memorial.
The security guard left. We sang it again:
Others joined in and then applauded when we had finished.
If you have been following along, you know that my Lucy has been in Washington, D.C. for the Young America's Foundation conference and that I have not been able to focus on much else.
She is finally home safe, but she enjoyed sending me emails so much (and having them posted on the blog) that she continued writing to me as if she were still 3,000 miles away instead of just upstairs in her room. =D
Here, see for yourself:
Written at 12:22 (Monday, June 28th)
Wednesday, June 23rd
Little Goose to Mothership (and the blogosphere):
Oh hi. It's been awhile. I'll try to summarize the next 4 days as promptly as I can. So, so much happened. I hope I can remember it all. As you might have guessed, I was too busy to write to you every night (a horrible conundrum, to be sure.) I have been using pictures to replace my words, so at least I can still recall what I saw, who I met, and what I learned.
*opens up iPhoto to review*
Let's see, let's see... Ah yes! Gettysburg! The students who arrived a day early were treated to a special tour of the battlefield. Go figure. Long, beautiful, scenic bus ride to Pennsylvania.
I saw cows, mom. Real cows.
As soon as we stepped off the bus, the humidity slapped us in the face. Repeatedly. Kirby Wilbur was our tour guide. Awesome guy. And he knows his history like nobody's business. Much walking, much listening, much learning, many pictures... back on the bus we go.
We stopped at McDonald's for lunch. It was a comfort to know that even 3,000 miles away from home, one can always find some really fantastic and familiar fries.
Arrived back at the conference center, hot and sweaty. I went back to my room to change for the dinner banquet and-- oh, hello roomies!
Genevieve, from Minnesota. Rachel, from Massachusetts. And Haley, from Kentucky. My close friends (literally) for the next three days. A quick change into something nice (yes, I wore a dress and yes, I wore my hair down.) and we were headed downstairs to the dinner banquet. Formal introductions were announced and we ate.
I realized that Gettysburg makes me hungrier than usual. Put that in the log.
Congressman Jim Jordan, from Ohio, spoke to us about "Defending Freedom in Congress." I forgot to take notes (I know, I know. Shush.) but he was extremely charismatic and I enjoyed listening to him.
That was just the beginning of how much listening I would be doing over the next couple of days.