14ymedio, Juan Diego Rodríguez, Havana, 26 December 2021 — Before the popular protests of July 11, the fish market on Calle San Lázaro in Centro Habana had had hardly any supplies for months. After the social explosion, the state trade was supplied with lobster, minced meat and snapper, but that is now a thing of the past and the star of the tablet is the mortadella with moringa.
“It is a new experiment and I do not intend to try it, mine job is only to sell it,” said the clerk who managed sales at the store on the corner of Soledad Street this Saturday. The approaching customers looked in amazement and pouted when they read: “Chicken Mortadella with moringa at 150 pesos per kilogram.”
The mere mention of the word “moringa”, a tree highly valued for its properties, immediately reminds Cubans of former president Fidel Castro. In his last years of life, Castro became obsessed with the properties of these plants, which he even praised as “capable of providing well-paid, shady work.”
Unpleasant in appearance due to its dark color and somewhat lumpy texture, the new sausage did not elicit much enthusiasm from the audience, despite the desperation to take something home. “In the middle of Christmas and the gift to the Cubans is pork sausage with moringa, and very expensive, what a lack of respect,” complained another customer.
The other offers on the list of products available were special chicken mortadella at 120 pesos per kilogram and chicken croquettes at 57. A woman who was looking for what to put inside the bread for her children’s snack was indecisive when choosing which of the unattractive products displayed in the window she was going to take.
“I don’t know if my children are going to eat the one with moringa, I have no idea what it tastes like,” she said aloud, to which a lady in line replied that the vegetable addition didn’t taste like anything. “What I don’t understand is the difference of 30 pesos compared to the special, it seems expensive to me,” added another person who was listening nearby.
Food mixtures have been a constant in Cuban state trade, which frequently “enriches” the ground meat with soy, adds claria meat (of the catfish genus) to sausages, and now makes use of moringa. But customers seem to still prefer the raw material: “Can’t you sell a simple pork steak?” One frustrated shopper raged on that Christmas morning.
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