14ymedio, Havana, 25 September 2023 — The long line that wrapped around the corner of Carlos III Plaza in Central Havana on Monday was nothing out of the ordinary. It was the same one you would typically see every day when items that are scarce in state stores, or at unattainable prices in private stores, come up for sale: sausages, chicken, bottled water, yogurt. Seen from afar, the white product they were selling in small plastic cups for 20 pesos apiece looked like ice cream. At that price, such a product would be well worth the wait. The illusion was evident, judging by the young women who went back several times to buy more. Once you got to the counter of the Buon Piacere stall, however, the emotion dissipated. What they were selling was not ice cream but meringue decorated with a few drops of strawberry syrup brightened with artificial food coloring.
Without spoons to eat it, customers put the cups to their mouths, squeezing them with their hands and covering their faces with meringue
“Never in my life have I seen meringue sold by itself, much less this soft. It’s like the icing on cakes,” said an elderly woman, disappointed in what she was actually about to buy. “They used to sell those baked meringues, which were delicious even though the idea was to trick your stomach. But I’ve never seen those desserts sold on the street since eggs became scarce.” Without spoons to eat it, customers put the cups to their mouths, squeezing them with their hands and covering their faces with meringue. Before the astonished gaze of those in line, one man carried away ten cups on a cardboard tray.
“They’re giving us meringue so we’ll die of hunger. It’s too early for such a stupid meal,” lamented a third woman as she left the line, loudly warning of the dangers of selling food made of uncooked egg whites prepared in less than hygienic conditions. “It’ll be a miracle if no one catches salmonella here.”
In spite of her predictions, people finished off all the meringue within an hour.
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