We sat in a beautiful outdoor cafe in Old Havana on Obispo, a street almost unendingly mobbed with people, both tourist and locals. This cafe was one of my favorites in Havana; when you step in you feel a little like you are stepping into a tropical Narnia. We sat down, me about four or five months pregnant at the time. We had come here before when things were easy, when we were students with nothing to worry about, but now it was more serious. The beauty and happiness surrounding us belied our feelings. We had to get married and we knew we wanted to, but how and where and when? We sat in silence for a few awkward minutes both contemplating the gravity of the decision we were going to make. The waiter stepped in, breaking our awkward staring at each other, to ask “¿Que quieren?” I ordered the “Desayuno Americano“, which came with eggs, toast, fruit, coffee, and ham. Even just typing that out it seems a little ridiculous, and my husband, noting the same fact those 4 years ago, said, “Muchacha, los americanos no juegan con el desayuno“. I laughed for the first time that morning. That laugh that he always is able to eke out of me is just one of the reasons why I cook my husband breakfast every morning.
When I’m able and in a good mood, I try to cook breakfast for my husband every morning. I fail often, but as my mother-in-law says, “Love begins in the kitchen”, which I wholeheartedly agree with. It took me a while to understand this, but after back-breaking trials within our marriage when we honestly were barely speaking, I found the only way to show love was through what I cooked. There was no listening to words, but of actions solely. The only time we really came together was at the dinner table. Although our struggles are different now and we enjoy each other’s company again, thank God, I still try to cook for him when possible; it just keeps a little bit of magic between us.
The love that emanates from a kitchen is not only between spouses, but also between any loved ones: children, friends, grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbors. So cook something for someone who you love or are trying to love! Make some tostones for your next party, some white rice if you’re just starting out, anything!
If food can equal love and love can make the world a better place, than food can make the world a better place.
This is almost a stupidly easy recipe, but it’s one that I cook on a regular basis and it’s the base of many a Cuban breakfast.