Following last week's work many people have approached me on the subject, I thank readers for their comments. By the way, I was very struck by what the reader LG comments, who says that he prepares a dish with sweet potato and adds beans, picadillo ... and makes his own dish. How many people did not do the same, but with cornmeal, both dry corn and tender corn. I know people who served it with beans, eggs, picadillo, avocado, and gave themselves a "tunda" and were full. That then gave a tremendous sleep!
The Cuban regardless of who likes to eat, and eat the best possible, what he values most is the quantity, feeling full, whether good or bad, but he likes to feel that pleasant feeling of satisfaction, of fullness.
I bring this up because I believe that a dish as resorted as corn flour, deserves recognition, for being emblematic of our popular cuisine; At many times it was the lifeline of the poor, and even became part of the Cuban musical repertoire. Creole corn flour, flour with sweet potato, flour with clams. All given by the daily use that this dish was made, as I said: both dry corn flour, which was ground very fine, being used in many cases to make bread, sweets and even to breading; the normal flour we know, which was used to eat; the thickest meal or roll for feeding chicks; Tender corn flour, which goes without saying its use as much as flour, sweet flour, fried foods, tamales, tamales in casseroles, tortillas, among other uses.
Corn in Cuba was in such demand at times that, for example, it characterized the Machado government. As Cintio Vitier told him in an interview with Ciro Bianchi ... The political tragedy of the country, which haunted me with intermittent anguish since the machadato, when my father was dismissed... I remember the sugar sack trousers, the flour morning and afternoon, the tenacious work of my father and my uncle Helio...
But long before flour as food is recorded in the chronicles of travelers; those who scrutinize everything in order to know and know, are able to describe a scene as if it were a short film of the time or a landscape painted by the hands and brushes of the best artist, as I have referred in other works on the tortilleras of San Rafael, which tell how people queued to taste a delicious corn tortilla. Or how the students tried to catch one of those tortillas from the vendors and start running, forming the hubbub and noise throughout the street. In addition, as they describe a tavern that was where El Floridita is, where the flour was sold in cubes for food of the horses of the parishioners.
Flour became a frequent dish in all homes, not only to replace rice because it was cheaper, but in many cases they were simultaneous with rice.
In the country houses especially flour could be an appetizer dish or at the end of meals, this could be eaten with sugar, with milk, with both at the same time, with egg, with picadillo, with empellas, with avocado; They called you blonde with green eyes, with... , with everything you could have in order to feed yourself. In the fields especially, seeing, enjoying that cauldron of flour "chipoteando" in the stove, was very recurrent in the houses, and every day.
In addition, its use as food for children. Who didn't eat a bowl of flour with egg as a child? I really liked to be served the flour very hot on the plate, to split an egg on top with a little salt to cook with the heat of the flour; Not to mention that flour with sugar.
In addition, sweet flours were made and already hot cubes of cheese or grated cheese were added, also sweet flour with raisins, in short, its use and variety depended on the needs, what was available and the creativity of the cook.
As emblematic dishes such as tamales, tamale in casserole, are dishes of domain, anyway they consist of having tender cornmeal, some pork with fat; It can also be done with smoked trimming, with chicken or mince, what we must season well with a sauce, with what we have, for me fundamental is the chili, cumin, salt and lemon, you could also add depending on the amount one or two tablespoons of butter to make them soft, add the meat and then mix it with the flour. If it is going to be done in leaves is to choose the leaves to wrap it and then cook it in water and salt so that it does not lose the flavor. In case of doing it in a casserole, it is prepared in the same way and put to cook in a casserole until it thickens; I add two cups of water to the flour to cook.
The corn fritters can be made sweet, adding to the corn flour prieta sugar to taste and eggs, or salty seasoning the tender corn flour as for tamales, the fundamental thing is to give it the desired point, they do not carry meat, one or two eggs are added depending on the amount, portions are taken with a spoon and fried in keep or hot oil until golden brown.
We can make the corn tortilla the same, sweet or salty to taste. Half a cup of flour, two eggs, mix it well and add sugar or salt to taste, put them in a greased pan and turn it so that they do not stick, and turn on both sides until they are.
I bring you some Latin American dishes to taste as well: wrapped in cob, sweet tamalitos and green tamales.
Wrapped in cob.
Ingredients (4 servings):
4 cups of ground tender corn, 2 boiled eggs chopped on wheels, 1 cup of diced cheese, the necessary amount of leaves, pepper and salt to taste.
Put in a deep dish the flour, the wheels of eggs, the cubes of cheese, pepper and salt to taste and mix well.
Proceed with the leaves to make the wraps as if they were for tamales, pour the flour until it covers and place another leaf in the opposite way. Wrap it with several sheets. It doesn't tie up.
Put a saucepan to the candle with water, salt and when it boils place the wrapped carefully. Cook them until they are, take them out and let them cool.
Ingredients (4 servings):
Four cups of ground tender cornmeal, 1 cup of fruit jam, 1 cup of chopped fruit, 6 cloves, 1⁄2 cup of roasted peanuts, 2 tablespoons of honey, 1 cup of raw sugar, the amount of leaves needed, 1 pinch of salt.
Put the flour in a deep dish, add fruit jam, chopped fruit candy, peanuts, sweetened with honey. Mix everything well.
Proceed as you do the tamales with the leaves, in this case the smaller ones. Make a cup with a leaf, folding the ends. Pour the flour until it covers and place another sheet in the opposite way. Wrap it and tie them with a strong thread.
Put a saucepan to the candle with water, sugar, cloves and when it boils place the tamales carefully to cook until they are, take them out and let them cool.
Note: In Mexico, they are made for children's birthdays and the leaves are painted with vegetable dyes to make it more attractive.
Ingredients (4 servings):
Four cups of ground tender corn, 2 chili peppers, 1 mallet of cilantro, 1/8 mallet of chives, 1 lemon, <> cloves of garlic, <> teaspoon of cumin. The amount of leaves needed, pepper and salt to taste
Clean, wash and finely chop the chili peppers. Clean, wash and finely chop the coriander and chives.
Put the flour in a deep dish, add coriander and chives, chili, lemon juice, pepper and salt to taste. Mix everything well.
Proceed in the same way with the leaves to make the tamales, make a cup with a leaf, folding the tips. Pour the flour until it covers and place another sheet in the opposite way. Wrap it and tie them with a strong thread.
Put a saucepan to the candle with water, salt and when it boils place the tamales to cook until they are, take them out and let them cool.