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Cuban Independence Day and Foodways

Afro-Cuban troops in a makeshift encampment 1898 Cuba

Chunky Sweet potato soup, this and other recipes below
May 20th is Cuban Independence Day. During the war for independence soldiers sometimes turned to hunting and foraging for food and cultivated subsistence gardens when circumstances permitted. Esteban Montejo was born into slavery in Cuba in 1860. He estimate that 95 percent of Afro-Cubans fought in the ranks of the revolutionary forces, and many of them had been enslaved. Speaking of gardens in Camagüey, once a sleepy province in central Cuba, Montejo explains that a lack of military conflict there allowed soldiers to sow subsistence crops such as mangos, “sweet potato, squash, okra, corn, peas, horse beans, beans like limas, limes, yucca, and peanuts” says Montejo. In my book Hog and Hominy I found that enslaved Africans grew and cooked with okra (African plant), sweet potatoes, or yams (African plant) almost universally around the Americas. Thus gardening techniques used to supplement their diets as slaves also feed them as revolutionaries. 

Cuban Foodways & Recipes: http://www.foodasalens.com/search?q=Cuban

Foodways Art and Images Series

It’s Time To Play and Plant: Lacrosse, Tomatoes, Beans, and Corn