Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where's the beef?

Y'all, latinos don't do vegetarian. I lived in Miami for two years, Chile for two years, and Panama for three. I have visited almost every country in Latin America (no Colombia or Belize or those insignificant countries in the northeast corner of South America, like Guyana). I know what they eat, which is why the recipe for "Vegetarian Cuban Black Beans" in the latest issue of Real Simple made me laugh. As if.

Why are you telling us this rather boring story, CF, you are asking. Is there a point?

Why yes there is. First, you have to go see what Marta is making today: It's a fabulous Pan con Bistec, or a Cuban steak sandwich. Then you have to know that Marta's Ropa Vieja that I made the other day was absolutely delicious. I know that's the reason SH married me: not because of our politics, which as you might have guessed, clash daily, but because I feed him well. Why did I marry him? Oh, to change him. The usual.

Then you have to hear the story about a trip Harpo and I took to Miami. (Before I met SH, duh.) Harpo is a lifelong vegetarian, but he is not the annoying "Oh how can you eat something with a face!" political kind. He is a libertarian vegetarian who minds his own business, thank you very much.

Anyhow, we went to Miami a lot because that's where Harpo was from and his wonderful brother and sister in law live in the Keys. The first thing we would do when we landed was go to the little aluminum trailer by the car rental place so Harpo could get a colada (a kind of Cuban coffee that he would drink all by himself, which will mean something to those who know Cuban coffee) and I could get a medianoche, a fabulous Cuban sandwich.

One time, Harpo was also hungry, but being a vegetarian, he didn't want meat in his sandwich.

There is no such thing as a Cuban sandwich without meat.

So he asked for a cheese sandwich.

Clerk: Pero with ham, si?

Harpo: No. No meat. Just cheese.

Clerk: Pero con pork, si?

Harpo: No. No meat. Just cheese.

Clerk: Pero con beef, no?

Harpo. No. No pork. No ham. No beef. Just bread and cheese.

Clerk: [crazy gringo]


John0 Juanderlust said...

I was convinced for years that the reason for the Cuban influx was to get away from the food. Imagine my shock when I found out people ate Cuban food, other than pastry and cafe, on purpose. I don't think I ever did get a sandwich from that lady.

John0 Juanderlust said...

ps: In Mexico a non carnivore can thrive.

Marta said...

Glad you liked the steak sandwich.
You're right. We Cubans really suck at being vegetarians.
I suppose we could just eat black beans and rice and bananas (happily!) but I would sooo miss my pork, or beef, or chicken or....