|Pisto manchego, this and other recipes below|
The book I am now completing is on Black Latino Relations in New York 1959 to 1989 (forthcoming Columbia University Press). Throughout the book I discuss collaborations between recently arrived Southern born blacks, black Caribbeans, and migrants from the Spanish speaking Caribbean as well as mainland Latin America. As a professor of history and foodways, I intentionally seasoned the text with stories about the importance of food in building relationships and community. I gathered lots of rich oral histories on the Tarrytowns where my father grew up and where I lived between 2003 and 2010. In addition to restaurants and luncheonettes, Latin Americans had their own Bodegas in the Tarrytowns. There were Bodegas on Cortland Street, which by the late 1950s had become the center of the Puerto Rican community. Hispanic bodegas were small shops where drinks and food were sold for consumption on or off the premises. By the 1970s, there was the Cuban–owned bodegas in Tarrytown too. Guayos Cubans Jorge Pozas and Juan González ran bodegas on Main Street. Urban centers in Cuba had Bodegas all over the place and both black and white Cubans frequented them. Bodegas served as a breakfast destination for poorer residents who could not afford to eat at more expensive cafes. Speaking about Cuban bodegas in 1940s Havana, Hugh Bradley writes, “the penny prices ensured a brisk trade. Laborers of whatever coloring sat side by side in them at breakfast time, drinking red wine, native rum, or delicious coffee, while partaking of the fried fish and the savory garlic stews prepared on the charcoal fire at the back of the room.” In Cuba bodegas were multi-ethnic spaces but in the Tarrytowns language barriers inhibited the formation of friendships in most of the bodegas between Spanish-speaking immigrants and English-speaking African Americans. Here is a recipe for pisto manchego a popular ratatouille dish in Cuba and Spain.
Pisto manchego recipe: http://www.spainontheroadagain.com/recipe_pistomanchego.shtml
Black and Latino relations series with additional recipes: http://frederickdouglassopie.blogspot.com/search?q=Black+and+Latino+relations+