I was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to Cuban American parents who came to this country in 1948. We later moved to Miami, Florida where I grew up and currently reside. I was the only Hispanic in my school. Everyone loved my dark curly hair, and compared me to Ricky Ricardo, the Cuban actor on the I Love Lucy show.
I have never been to Cuba, and have a cousin that I have never met, but we talk through Facebook as he also enjoys cooking. I hope to one day visit the country of my parents and grandparents.
In 1962, there began an influx of Cubans, fleeing their country, mostly coming to Miami. A new neighborhood was formed, Little Havana.
I began to enjoy all these foods I had never experienced. My mother came to this country when she was 23 years old. And only made a traditional Arroz con Pollo on Sundays after church.
One of my "Cuban Tio's", Manolo who lived in New York for years, with his family, moved to Miami to be closer to his Cuban friends Most Cubans give the name Tia, Tio, and primos to close family friends, even those who aren't related. I am honored to be called Tia, to some of whom I am not their aunt.
Most newly arrived Cubans lived in a building in Little Havana called La Paloma.
As you walked down the halls, the smell of sofrito and beans would fill the air.
Manolo was a waiter and he bought me my first Flan with Coco Rallado. I have honored and treasured this memory my whole life.
I want to preserve the dessert recipes in this book, so they can live on with future generations.