College of Liberal Arts
World Languages and Cultures Department
BA in Modern Languages and Literatures
This project analyzes the cultural impacts of Cuban culinary history starting with the 16th-century Spanish colonization. Cuba is an incredible case example for culinary adaptations due to its tumultuous history of population demographic shifts, political uprisings, and economic downturns. I will begin by analyzing the culinary shifts brought about the importation of African and Asian workers associated with the sugar cane industry. I then discuss the impact of the fall of the Batista government and the rise of the Cuban Revolutionary government. The Revolutionary government brought about standardization of available ingredients and helped popularize specific Cuban dishes until the fall of the Soviet Union and economic downturn known as the “Special Period”. This period required the Cuban people to survive without access to ingredients and brought about major innovations in cooking processes; causing issues with gender equality and the division of household labors.
This project also includes an original Cuban banquet cookbook. The purpose of this cookbook is to honor the creativity demonstrated by the Cuban people in adapting culinary traditions to available ingredients. Cuban history is a powerful story of individuals overcoming adversity and creating beauty out of desperation. My goal with this project is to give my readers a taste of Cuba and to humanize Cuban history which is often overshadowed by the tenuous relationship between the American government and the Castro regime.