Santiago eggs, from Cuba the Cookbook
Santiago eggs, from Cuba the Cookbook

How the egg became a Cuban life saver

In Cuba, if you want to make pretty much any meal, you've got to break some eggs (and not only at Easter)

In Cuba, eggs are for life, not just for Easter. "The food culture in Cuba places a lot of emphasis on animal protein and when meat is not available, eggs are the next best thing," explain Madelaine Vázquez Gálvez and Imogene Tondre, authors of Cuba the Cookbook. "The food scarcities that sometimes affect the average home have led many Cubans to refer to eggs as “the Cuban salvation” or “the lifesaver of the Cubans.”

The authors go on to clarify that eggs were a big part of Cuban culture long before Castro came to power and haven't found this special place due to the shortages Communism has brought about.

 

Mimosa eggs - from Cuba the Cookbook
Mimosa eggs - from Cuba the Cookbook

Nevertheless, "eggs are still subsidized by the State as part of the monthly rations," they write, "but they can also be bought in the open market, and it is very common to see people walking down the street balancing one or even two cartons of eggs, each containing thirty eggs.

"In Cuba, it is common to eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Eggs are also fast and easy to prepare, which make them a great option for a quick meal. They are almost always served hot, with the exception of huevos rellenos, a cold egg dish similar to deviled eggs, which are sometimes served at parties.

 

Eggs in beds - from Cuba the Cookbook
Eggs in beds - from Cuba the Cookbook

The recipes include eggs Santiago style, a classic tomato stew; the cold shrimp and mayonnaise dish eggs mimosa; as well as a wide variety of omelets, including a typical, frittata, Spanish-style version; one with rum (of course); and one filled with crumbled cream crackers, not wholly unlike Ferran Adrià's famous crisp omelet. 

 

Cuba the Cookbook
Cuba the Cookbook

It certainly sounds like, in saving themselves, the Cubans have saved us all from dull egg dishes, forever more. Happy Easter! You examine all the recipes described, and much more, by ordering a copy of Cuba The Cookbook here.