With more than seventy mouthwatering recipes throughout, Havana Salsa is the vibrant memoir of Viviana Carballo and her extraordinary childhood growing up in Cuba. A collection of stories about her large, extended family -- an eccentric group who conducted their lives against the extraordinary backdrop of Havana -- Carballo recalls the 1940s and 1950s when Havana was a nonstop party, and food and music defined the culture, until Fidel Castro took power in 1959, and she was forced to leave her beloved country.
With each delightful family memory, Carballo showcases the food of her culture and a delectable recipe, beginning with her childhood in the forties (calabaza fritters, sweet plantain tortillas, and oxtail stew), through the sensual fifties (roast shoulder of lamb, Cuban bouillabaisse), and then the first eighteen months of Castro's revolution (mango pie, tamal en cazuela, and papas con chorizo). Havana Salsa tells the history of Carballo's Havana as only she can -- through the intimate and unifying experience of food, family, and friends.
Viviana Carballo was born and raised in Havana. She earned the prestigious Grand Diplôme at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and has studied regional cuisine in Spain. Her articles have been published in several national magazines, and she currently writes a weekly food column for the Orlando Sentinel and El Sentinel. Carballo is also a respected food consultant and recipe developer for the Hispanic market. She has traveled extensively and has lived in Manhattan and San Francisco and now resides in Miami.
"What to serve for dinner the night a new dictator comes to town? If you are like Viviana Carballo and lived in Cuba during the heady first days of 1959, you make pollito en cazuela (stewed whole chicken), accompanied by arroz con coco (coconut rice), and wash it all down with a Kir Royale, of course!...[A] witty, delicious book."
-- Mirta Ojito, author of Finding Mañana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus
"Readers looking for standards like tostones and cubanos will be satisfied and then enchanted by unique recipes that could only come from Carballo's experiences."
-- New York Post
"Havana Salsa is food-as-memoir set at a diverse and often eccentric table....[Carballo's] Cuba will never be filled with decaying buildings, rationed supplies and difficult goodbyes. All she has to do is go into the kitchen, and the vibrant pulse of her homeland is revived in a whiff of ripe mango [and] the sizzle of calabaza fritters on the stove."
-- The Orlando Sentinel
"A delicious combination of tales about [Carballo's] quirky family and recipes for dishes that are seared into her memory."