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Food and the Spanish Speaking Caribbean

Ropa vieja, recipes below

As part of Hispanic History Month lets talk about the Caribbean dish ropa vieja or old clothes. This dish is often associated with Cuba but enslaved Africans in the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Puerto Rico all made it from discarded scraps of meat that elites in expensive homes discarded after elaborate meals. They would add vegetables like tomatoes grown in gardens around their slave quarters to the scraps and that's how ropa vieja was born. It's a fabulous-tasting dish made from simple, inexpensive ingredients including tomatoes. It is also food enjoyed by folk, whom it reminds of their rural and African roots and cultures, as well as adaptations to conditions of slavery and freedom in the Americas. The ropa vieja is sautéed shredded beef covered with a rich tomato based sauce seasoned with spices and vegetables such as onion, bell pepper, garlic, cumin, and cilantro. Here are two recipes for ropa vieja:

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