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The Cuban War for Independence Part 4

Cuban Mango Bread, this and other recipes below
Been talking about the role of food in the Cuban War for Independence 1895-1898. Revolutionaries had to be resourceful if they wanted to eat because the leaders of the revolutionary forces did not provide rations. In addition, Spanish authorities practiced a policy of relocating peasant sympathizers to military garrisons and the destruction of peasant crops and livestock as a way of starving their opponents. So how did revolutionary soldiers eat? They depended on peasants when they could, hunted wild game, stole, and planted crops when they could. Revolutionary soldier Esteban Montejo tells us that he and his comrades used what I call soul strategies to eat when food seemingly did not exist on the battle field. In my work as a historian one of my many definitions of soul in my book Hog and Hominy: Soul Food From Africa to America http://cup.columbia.edu/book/978-0-231-14638-8/hog-and-hominy/webFeatures is experiential wisdom about how to endure based on an amalgamation of West and Central African survival skills, as well as adaptations to conditions of slavery and freedom in the Americas. For example, Montejo tells us that soldiers made, mango flour by “cooking mango pulp without the pit.” Then you mixed the flour with lemon juice and wild “hot guaguao pepper” for a tasty and filling bread. This represented one of the many soulful ways Montejo and others feed themselves during the revolution. Here is Cuban Mango Bred recipe that shows the evolution of Cuban soul cuisine.

Cuban Mango Bread recipe

2 cups spelt, whole wheat (or all purpose flour)
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in hot water for 10 min and drained
1 cup maple syrup (or sugar)
2 egg substitutes (or eggs)
2/3 cup canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup chopped firm-ripe mangoes
1 tbsp lemon or lime juice

Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease two bread pans or use unbleached baking paper. In a medium bowl,
combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt. Add the dried cherries and mix well. In another bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, and oil until fluffy and light colored, about 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Add the vanilla. Add the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat just until silky. Do not over stir. With a large spatula, work in the mangoes and lemon juice. Rub the batter into the pans. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool before serving.

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