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Cuban Foodways
Madison, WI


Americas: North America and South America together.
Aroma: Odor, smell, fragrance.  
¡Buen provecho!: (sounds like, bwayne pro-VAY-cho) Enjoy your meal!
Caribbean: The islands in the Caribbean Sea. There are about 160 islands with people living on them.
Cassava: (sounds like, ka-SA-va) A root vegetable also known as yucca or manioc.
Caterer: (sounds like, KAY-ter-er) Someone who prepares and serves food at an event.
Cuban-style coffee: Strong dark coffee usually made on a stovetop and served with sugar and milk.
Cuisine: (sounds like, qui-ZINE) Food that comes from a particular place and is prepared according to particular cooking traditions.
Garbanzo beans: The Latin American name for chickpeas.
Guantanamera: (sounds like, gwan-tan-a-MEE-ra) A famous and popular Cuban song.
Legume: (sounds like, lay-GOOM) A plant family that includes peas and beans.
Malanga: a starchy root closely related to taro root.
Manioc: (sounds like, MAN-e-ock) A root vegetable also known as cassava or yucca.
Mobile: (sounds like, MOE-bill) Easily movable.
Plantain: A starchy banana-like fruit that is cooked and eaten as a vegetable throughout the tropics.
Pungent: (sounds like, PUN-jent) Penetrating, sharp, strong.
Socialism: A way to organize a country so that raw materials, factories, and transportation are owned by the society and not by individual companies. Usually the government plans and controls how things are made and given out.
Socialist: Based on the political system of socialism.
Stroll: To walk in a relaxed leisurely way.
Vegetarian food: Food with no meat.
Yucca: A root vegetable also known as cassava or manioc.

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Journal Questions


Which foods are part of your cultural heritage?

QuestionHave you ever wondered about the food you eat?

QuestionHave you ever thought that what you eat says something about who you are, where you come from, and what you believe?

QuestionWhat kinds of rice mixtures does your family cook? 

QuestionWhat goes into making a traditional Cuban meal?

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Resources For Teachers

Web ResourceGuantanamera: A Poem and a Song is a grades 9-12 lesson plan on the song from the Kennedy Center’s Arts Edge program.

Web ResourceCuban Food and Cooking provides overall information on Cuban cuisine. 

Worlds Together has produced a well-received
 video on Cuba for grades 1-6. The video “Cuba: A Portrait” explores Cuba’s traditions, lifestyles and its historic revolution. 

Web ResourceProvide contextual background to Cuban history and culture by using any of these on-line units and lesson plans:

Web ResourcePromoting Place Through Architectural Heritage is a research paper that traces the physical history of Miramar, the neighborhood in which Yolanda grew up.

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Resources For Students

Web ResourceAt La Guantanamera, compare the Spanish language lyrics of the song Guantanamera with the poem that they’re based on, Versos Sencillos by Jose Martí. 

Web ResourceThe Wikipedia entry on Guantanamera gives a translation of the song’s lyrics and lists many artists who have recorded the song.

Does your library have this great book on Cuban folktales? Check it out! From the Winds of Manguito: Cuban Folktales in English and Spanish/Desde los Vientos de Manguito: Cuentos Folkloricos de Cuba, en Engles y Espanol by Elvia Perez, Victor Hernandez Mora, Margaret Read MacDonald (Editor), and Paula Martin (Translator). 

Web ResourceCuban Food will tell you more about this delicious cuisine. Feel like cooking? Try some of the recipes at Cuban Main Dishes or Cuban Desserts

Web ResourceTour Havana, the capitol city of Cuba, through these photos taken by newspaper photographer Dudley M. Brooks in 1998 for the story Behind the Curtain: Cuba.

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Text written by Stephanie Alemán, edited by Anne Pryor.

Sources consulted include fieldwork with Yolanda Fabregas and Mario Moya conducted by Stephanie Aleman (12/03) and Twyla Clark (8/04), housed at the Wisconsin Arts Board. Map from theodora.com used with permission.


Wisconsin Folks

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Yolanda Fabregas & Mario Moya



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