This week I invited to lunch a couple who are friends of mine. I have among the more “respectable” pensions in this country: 340 CUP (Cuban pesos) — the type of currency which is also used to pay salaries.
I set out early in search of the necessary elements and ingredients to prepare for my friends a “criollo” [traditional Cuban] menu. They live outside the country, and I wanted to treat them to a home-cooked meal. Since there would be four of us to feed, I purchased the following:
Four plantains to make tostones, 10 CUP for the four; 1lb onions, 30 pesos; 1lb peppers, 20 pesos; two small garlic heads, 6 pesos; one avocado, 10 pesos; 2lb rice, 10 pesos; 1lb black beans, 14 pesos; 3lb pork steak, 120 pesos; one large (3lb) mango, 7.50 pesos. After that, I stood in line to buy one loaf of Cuban bread for 10 pesos.
As you might have noticed, a simple luncheon for four cost me “only” 257.50 Cuban pesos. My guests brought a bottle of wine.
The meal was a success and we had a great time, but as you can imagine, my pockets are wobbling until my next pension check. Now you see what a simple meal costs on my planet!
Translated by: Alicia Barraqué Ellison
10 August 2014