I started reading Babalú blog a few years ago as a result of a Google search for “Cuba news.” From day one, I was hooked. The writing was always wonderful, sometimes provocative, but for the most part compelling. But the comments! There were people out there reading and caring and giving their opinions on what had been written. I loved the forum and the format. And like I said, I was hooked.
I confess that I lurked for over a year. I would come to Babalú first thing in the morning with my cafécito to get the news and to be entertained. I gave up my beloved newspaper for this better, more expansive, and much more interesting media. I was never disappointed.
While I loved reading the news aspect of it, I was always drawn in by the personal stories. The human drama, if you will. It was at this point that I started writing my own blog, My Big, Fat, Cuban Family. It was a perfect ying to the Babalú yang. I began writing about Cuban-American life and about how we Cubans try (and succeed) to maintain our cultural identity. I posted recipes and talked about my family and our idiomatic ways. When Val asked me to become a contributor to Babalú, I was so honored! But I also felt like this was the obvious next step for me. I love Cubans. I love being Cuban. I love our idiosyncratic Cubanisms. And I especially love Cuban families.
I confess that posting recipes every two weeks is a bit of a challenge for me, self-imposed of course, but still there. Because I decided my posts would be personal and that I would actually cook and take pictures and do step-by-step instructions instead of just posting recipes. The cooking feature was a hit in my home, which I expected, but the real surprise came when I started getting, not just comments, but mail.
Yes, I got mail. Lots of mail. Some had questions about how to make a certain recipe. Some had comments. But all had stories. THAT is when I was seriously hooked. I get to hear people’s stories. Stories that usually revolve around the heart of the Cuban home – the kitchen.
I get to hear about how Tia Conchita made the perfect croquetas and would I know how make those? I get to hear about how their moms would improvise in the kitchen after their exilio. I get to hear about how much they miss their abuelita. And I laugh and I cry and I marvel at what an amazing Cuban community has been brought together online. And I am oh-so-grateful to be able, not just to cook and post recipes, but to share life. To share Cuban-American life.
So thank you, not just to Babalú for being The-Best-Must-Read-Cuban-Blog-On-The-Web, but to you faithful readers who have given this “island on the web” such a beautiful Cuban-American face.
Oh yes, and thanks for trusting me with your lives. =D
Marta “La Cocinera” Darby
(cross-posted at Babalú)
Today, as Babalú blog's odometer crosses over the 3,000,000 (yes, MILLION!) mark, I am especially grateful and proud to be a member of this group:
Wow. Just wow. =D