As part of a Cuban family (through marriage), I have been immersed in the incredible Cuban culture, especially when it comes to their meals. They use wonderful marinades and the ever flavorful sofrito. At any meal, you can count on black beans and rice. At the end, maybe some cafe con leche to top it all off, or for the purists, Cuban coffee.

I was drawn to this book by the bright colors and the simple description of the book, CUBA, in bright red lettering. Nothing would scream Cuba louder than such brightness, except for maybe a hand-rolled Cuban cigar and a mojito on the cover.

Cuba! Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen, by Dan Goldberg, Andrea Kuhn, and Jody Eddy, is a fabulous trip through Cuba, especially if you won’t have the opportunity to visit the beautiful island. The photographs are incredibly beautiful, showcasing the staples of Cuban cuisine – plantain chips (one of my favorite things!), the ever popular meat – pork, and many other dishes.

What I do enjoy about this book is that they take certain Cuban ingredients and add them in unexpected places. For instance, guava paste (another favorite of mine – I could eat it out of the package). It becomes paired with ribs by way of a BBQ sauce. While ribs are pork, Cubans tend toward the pork leg or the whole pig. As a fan or ribs, I am truly excited to try this recipe. And along the lines of that, mojo is the go-to marinade for most things and I like seeing it used with fish. I can’t say that “my Cubans” ever marinated fish with it, but I think I might be able to turn them onto it.

You will find traditional recipes like those for rice and beans, yellow rice, fried plantains,  mojo, picadillo, and cuban fried chicken. You’ll find more non-traditional recipes like black bean burgers, crispy pork with a mango salsa, Vedado lobster roll, cream of malanga soup with pistachio pistou, and shrimp and scallop ceviche. For dessert, the well-known flan (but with pumpkin or coffee), the popular rice pudding, and a mojito cake. Finishing the book off is the drinks section – Cafe Cubano (traditional), iced tea with mango-lime puree, Cuba libra, and the infamous mojito.

If you’re looking for an introduction to Cuban cuisine or a new take on it, this is your book. My husband, the Cuban, is even excited to try the recipes – it will give him a new spin on some of the meals he’s had a million times over. We might just make a meal for the Cubans and see what they say! I bet they’ll add some if these recipes to their own kitchens.

Cuba! at Penguin Random House


I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.