005. cuban parties - transcript

traditional cuban music plays


[00:00:00]Carmen: ¡Acere, que bola?!


[00:00:13] Fryda: ¡Acere, que bola! Do you know that song? Hey Carmen,


Carmen: No


Fryda: Hey Carmen


Carmen: Hey Fryda


Fryda: Happy new year


Carmen: Happy new year


Fryda: What are we getting into today?


Carmen: We’re getting into Cuban parties, because if you have ever been to a Cuban party and you will know that this is a whole ordeal


Fryda: it starts with the process of getting ready to go to the party


Carmen: Yeah.


Fryda: So do you show up in your sweatpants or even do show up in like some nice jeans and a shirt? Like, cause you, you know, that sounds acceptable to me.


Carmen: No, no, absolutely not Fryda, like


Fryda: You're desprestigiada


Carmen: No you are. Yeah. You can't do that. If you're a woman, you can't be showing up and no party with any messed up nails because. What kind of a disgrace are you? Come on, and you also have to have your hair done basic minimum at the very least those two things,


Fryda: Full disclosure. I am *whispers* una desprestigiada


[00:01:00] Carmen: Fryda’s una despretigiada, no, for real. Yeah.


Fryda: I’m pretty much considered a disgrace at Cuban parties, but I still managed to wear those heels throughout my childhood.


Carmen: I know... you'd be like looking at 15 year olds wearing like, you know, five inch stilettos and it's totally normal. Like I can't even...


Fryda: Yeah, no, it's not like your parents are like “take off those stilettos,” rather than being like “Oh, that's too sexual,” my mom would ask me, “What are you doing? Wearing your sneakers. You've got some high heels,”


Carmen: I know… when you're like, you know, 14. So you're getting ready and you are doing your nails and you're doing your hair. What else must you do? Fryda.


Fryda: When you take a shower, you have to smell really, really good.

So the first thing you do is obviously you apply a layer of talcum powder. Like you have to cover yourself up like a little... like a powdered doughnut. So what, what I imagine that the whole talcum situation comes from is that if you are in a place without air conditioning, A.K.A. Cuba, after you shower, if you don't apply talcum powder, you're going to sweat again, and you're going to get nasty.


[00:02:00] For a good amount of years after coming to this country, my mom would coat me in talcum powder everywhere, and she would do the same herself. So after you've powdered yourself, even though the talcum powder usually has perfume in it, it's not enough.


Carmen: No.


Fryda: Okay. When you're a child, you will be drenched in Aguas de Violetas.


Carmen: Aguas de Violetas is essentially perfume that smells like violets


Fryda: It is also called Royal Violets. At least the brand that's especially prominent in Miami or Hialeah. And a little bit of history about Aguas de Violeta's- the original Augustine Reyes started a perfume line in Havana, Cuba in 1927. So, año de la corneta, of course. And after the revolution, like in 1960, the Cuban government seized their operations and the Reyes family moved to Miami.

And so they managed to smuggle out all the ingredients they needed to make the perfume. They settled in South Florida.


[00:03:00] And the main plant for this perfume is still in Hialeah.


Carmen: Agua, fango y factoria.


Fryda: Which means. Water, mud and factory.

*plays Block Party by DJ Laz*


Carmen: Hialeah is called agua, fango y factoria because all of the Cubans moved their factories there and that's where they would go find work.


Fryda: And bueno, that's how we have Aguas de Violetta. And so it's an iconic smell. It's something that I would recognize anywhere. It would bring me back.

Carmen: You know, what? Mark Jacobs makes a perfume that smells a lot like this, the Daisy perfume, the bottle has a really pretty white flower on top.

It's enormous. It's the same version of that, but it's purple and it's literally, Agua de Violetas for like an adult and also an arm and a leg.


Fryda: Yeah. Cause you can get for very little.


[00:04:00] Carmen: You can find Aguas de Violetas at any Navarro or any drug store or any mom-and-pop type of stores in Miami. And actually outside of Miami, I've had trouble finding it because you know that Carmen has tried to find Aguas de Violetas outside of Miami, guilty as charged. The closest I've gotten is Mark Jacobs.


Fryda: Yeah. So as a woman, you wear earrings, you wear heels, you wear a dress or something, pretty elaborate.


Carmen: So you're dressed to the nines and you might be told that you look like you're going to go cantar en palmas y caña. I don't know if I've ever heard that Fryda.


Fryda: I have *laughs*, so we've gotten into what it's like to get ready for a party, or literally any family gathering as a woman, but let's not exclude the men. Right. Let's talk about the outfit. If you're over 30 or you're under 10, someone's going to dress you up in una guayabera


[00:05:02]Carmen: Absolutlely, una guayabera a nice pair of pants.

You don't really want to do jeans, but I think men can get away with jeans a little bit more. And your shoe is definitely a loafer of some kind or a nice dressy issue.


Fryda: Guayabera is a men's shirt that is made of linen. So it's really comfortable in the Caribbean to be wearing this. I just want to say that I've worn a halter top guayabera before


Carmen: Oh my God. Of course,

A little aside on the is something that was mostly worn in the countryside in Cuba. This is why exactly it’s linen, because you want to stay cool. I have heard that the pockets were developed in order to be able to hold guayabas. This is what I've grown up hearing, and that the lines down the front through the middle of the pockets are there to help reinforce weight for the pockets.


Fryda: Well, that would make some sense. So just for our English-speaking listeners, Guayaba is guava.


[00:06:00] And guayabera sounds a lot like guayaba. The guayabera also might look a little bit like Spanish military uniform. So this was possibly worn by soldiers during the Cuban war of independence. And today you will find it on your uncle Pipo.


Carmen: So men are wearing guayabera, and they're wearing dressy shoes and a hat. And now you are properly dressed to go to this party.


Fryda: You drive over there to the party and the entire family, like all generations of the family are going. It's very rare that you find a Cuban party that's like just for a certain age group, everyone goes. And then once you get there, Carmen, how many people do you say hi to?


Carmen: Every single person.

And what does it mean to say hi, Fryda?


Fryda: It means you kiss everyone on the cheek. And in Miami, a kiss on the cheek is one kiss on one side of the cheat. So it's not like the double kisses from Spain or From France, it's a single kiss.


Carmen: And this is one of those things that as soon as I left Miami and I started interacting in communities that were not Cuban,


[00:07:00] I realized how weird this is to everybody else.


Fryda: In Miami, you meet people for the first time, you give them a kiss on the cheek. So just to specify - the kissing on the cheek happens from women to women, from women to men, but men to men usually do not kiss on the cheek. Men to men might like give themselves a pat-hug or a handshake. I went to college away from Miami. That was the first time I ever saw people my age shaking hands.


And I was thinking, “wow, these people are like businessmen, you know, really professional people.” I didn't understand because when I grew up in Miami, I thought that only in business people show hands. Do you remember kissing literally your entire middle school? Every single morning?


Carmen: Oh my god, yeah!


Fryda: Like I would get to school early in order to kiss everyone.

Carmen: The worst part is is that if you walk into a party and you forget to kiss one person, you are never going to hear the end of it. You must say hi to everybody and you must kiss every single freaking person there.


[00:08:00] Fryda: So now that you've done your duty...


Carmen: Yeah now that you've gone around made your rounds, kissed everybody - even the people you don't like.


Fryda: Maybe some people you ended up kissing them twice, whatever...

Carmen: Maybe you're like just for good measure. Just so that you don't get it twisted that I didn't do it. Yeah yeah yeah.


Fryda: Yeah. So now we're at the party. We are here, Carmen!


Carmen:We are here baby.


Fryda: What's going on around us?


Carmen: Well, fulano, mengano, Pepe, Juana, y Cuco who all brought some kind of instrument and they're setting up shop and it's about to get fun.


Fryda: Yeah. So you might bring some maracas, a guiro, las claves, bongos and all of these instruments that are pretty portable. You can bring them to the parties and either use them to play along with existing music, like, you know, salsa, merenge et cetera, or you might have basically a band going on.


If you can improvise some verses of Guantanamera, you're able to do that the whole long.


Guantanamera plays


[00:05:53 ]Carmen: Everything is built upon a really simple meter and a really simple melody that you can then morph as the night goes on. I think the only people that really need to have any kind of skill is if you're bringing in a type of horn, like a trumpet.


Fryda: Or a guitar. Or a piano.


Carmen: Yeah. But that's way more involved. Yeah. Yeah.


Fryda: And of course the drunker you get, this is when the people who were quiet the entire party come out and then suddenly take a mic and start singing.


Carmen: Yeah. Yeah.


Fryda: Some typical drinks alcoholic drinks available at a Cuban party are


Carmen: Ron


Fryda: Ron. Definitely. Which is rum. And you gotta be proud. Rum is is very Cuban.


Carmen: Whiskey.


Fryda: Whiskey. I would say whiskey is definitely a little more in the U.S.


Carmen: If you’re in Cuba it’s straight up chizpetren. How many chizpetren jokes can we make? I can't...take a shot every time on of us says chizpetren. And in terms of beer, we're not seeing any double IPAs.


We're not seeing anything too fancy. We are seeing Heineken. We're seeing Corona, if you're soft, and we're seeing, Presidente.


[00:09:58] Fryda: So let's get into some more food and some more non-alcoholic drinks.


Carmen: Oof. I really want a Jupiña. Yeah. Like I just want to pop open a really cold can of Jupiña.


Fryda: Jupiña is so, so good. So Piña means pineapple, “ju” is a start of jugo.


Carmen: Which is juice.


Fryda: So it's a soda that tastes like pineapple and it's so, so good. It was founded in Pinar Del Rio in Cuba in 1905. It is definitely like one of the sweetest sodas in the world. Let's put out some other drinks


Carmen: Materva.


Fryda: Materva.


Carmen: I don't like Materva.


Fryda: I like Materva, not as much as Jupiña cause Jupiña is so fruity and nice. Materva is made of Yerba Mate. It’s an herb that is found in the Andes. I don’t even know, but...


Carmen: How did Cuba even get that anyway?


Fryda: I'm not sure, but Materva is a caffeinated drink originally produced and popularized in Cuba before the Cuban revolution. And it's been produced in Miami since after the Cuban revolution.


[00:10:58] So the previous owners were also bottling this drink around the 1920s.


Carmen: Ironbeer. Another favorite of mine. Iron beer.


If you go up to your mom and you're like, “mami, yo quiero un Iron Beer”. She's going to look at you. Like you're crazy.


Fryda: Ironbeer is just one word. Ironbeer is a soft drink that originated in Cuba in 1917.


And it has an image of a really, really ripped man. Iron beer, is basically. Ironbeer, me van a matar. If you do translate it into iron beer and you have a very buff man, you can see the connection. So what does it even… what does Ironbeer even taste like?


Carmen: It tastes kind of like...


Fryda: It like Dr. Pepper isn’t it?


Carmen: Dr. Pepper. I would say it's closer to Dr. Pepper.


Fryda: It's delicious..


Carmen: It is.


Fryda: So folks there's a lot going on


Carmen: in just the drinks.


And of course you have your classic Cuba Libres happening. You have your mojitos happening. I've even seen like daiquiris, which by the way, daiquiri, as I then learned, when I moved to New York and got into cocktail culture is not the same diet that I know from Miami.


[00:12:04]Fryda: Cuban drinking.


Everyone's usually getting drunk and there are a couple of different activities you can do while you're tipsy, you know, or while you're enjoying a party, you can dance. And my God, if you are Cuban, you were raised dancing. So it's something that you learn to do from a very young age.


Carmen: I swear to you, I think we were probably popped out of the womb dancing already.


Like, I don't remember a time when I couldn't dance.


Fryda: Most Cubans have a fundamental understanding of salsa moves and some sort of Rueda de Casino. So you can show up to a party and you don't have to think to yourself, “Oh God, I don't have anything in common with this person. I don't know what I'm going to talk about with them.”


You're just gonna dance you. You probably don't even have to have much of a conversation. If you don't want to, you can get up, you can start dancing. More people will dance afterwards. You'll switch partners around and you'll spend the night dancing.


[00:12:57] Carmen: With everyone. It's like. Women are dancing with women.

Women are dancing with other men. You're dancing with your cousin, your uncle, your brother, your dad. None of it is weird. Little kids dancing with older people. You're abuelito is dancing with your teenage cousin. That is the universal Cuban language - dancing and music. So what's another activity that you can do?


Fryda: El domino


Carmen: El domino… Vamos a hechar un jueguito de fichas,

What did I just say?


Fryda: “Let's play a game of dominoes.” Dominoes are such an integral part of Cuban culture, Cuban parties, and there's always a domino table. And generally a couple of men sitting around on the domino table playing really loudly.


Carmen: Dominoes is really not so much about winning or losing. It's about bringing your ego to the table.


So you don't just put a piece down. If you slam it, you are commanding that table. It doesn't matter if it's even a good play.


[00:13:58]Fryda: Getting invited to play dominoes is also a rite of passage.


Carmen: It is!


Fryda: Carmen and I will both probably remember how old we were when we were first invited to play dominoes and what it feels like to be respected for the moves that you made.


I think a big part of dominoes is having a psychological component of trying to game other people. And so that's why it's so intense.


Carmen: I feel like you also learn a lot about how to communicate non-verbally. Coming from a culture that is so loud, we haven't even gotten into exactly what a dominoes game really looks like, but you have a table and this table is not just any table.


What does a Domino's table look like?


Fryda: Dominoes tables can actually be pretty intensely adorned. I would say on the really ornamented side, some of the fancier domino tables I've seen have a Cuban flag, a map of Cuba, like something really elaborate, also drawn on it. And then it has a slick laminated top.


[00:15:00] It'll also have edges built into the table so that you can place your dominoes on them. Some people only buy a tabletop so that they can put this wood on top of any table. There's also some plastic domino tables you can buy. And I had that at my house for some time, but you definitely need to have a separate table or some arrangement ready for when you got to play dominoes.


Carmen: It's a table with four sides and it accommodates four players and you play in teams And your team member is across the table from you and you need to look at them and pick up on what they're putting down. Literally watch their plays, see what they're missing, how you can help them and how you can screw your opponent who's going right after you. So a lot of this is done non-verbally.

One phrase that I've heard a lot when you're invited to this domino table and you're kind of a noob and you're being too vocal about what's going on in the game is.


“El domino lo inventó un mudo,” which is domino was invented by a mute.

Who knows if that's true, but that's what you're told when you're being chastised for talking too much and giving away too much of your strategy.


[00:16:02]Fryda: There's an entire language around dominoes. There are names for every domino piece.


There are terms that you use at different points in the domino game. There will be like an eruption of noise suddenly coming from one side of the party and you know, something's happening at the domino table.


Carmen: Oh absolutely.


It'll be somebody probably screaming like “Me pegue!” which is like, they played their last piece thereby ending the game and they won.


Fryda: Yeah. I've seen some versions of domino being played where every single time someone makes a play they'll say something fancy.


Carmen: Oh yeah. There are so many phrases. And my favorite is “hechale agua!” which means when you're shuffling throw water into it to kind of shuffle. And I just think that's so cute.


Fryda: When you shuffle dominoes, it sounds like a creek or a waterfall.


Carmen: It’s true. Yeah. All that ruckus. Yeah.


Fryda: I think that's at least the association I made any time I heard “hechale agua”


[00:16:56]Carmen: My other favorite one is when you've picked up all of your pieces at the beginning of the game. And they only have low numbers you say “ño, estoy en la playa,” which is


Fryda: ño, like “Shoot, I'm at the beach”


Carmen: Yeah, because you only have low numbers.


I have really fond memories of playing dominoes. There is an entire domino park in Miami where all of the old Cuban men go to play dominoes and bitch about the revolution. It's a really quintessential part of the Cuban identity, dominoes. And so it makes sense that at every single party you’ve got to have a Domino's game.


Fryda: So that's happening in one corner. It's pretty loud. So where are the kids?


Carmen: Where are the kids? The kids are running around, the kids are beating each other up, the kids - if you're in Miami and you are fancy, you probably have a bouncy house for the kids, and they're probably killing themselves in there.


Fryda: Or the kids are having a pool party. You never know...


Carmen: They're in a pool party somewhere. They're killing themselves somewhere. But the point is that you're not worried about them. You're not “vigilando” your kids.


Fryda: Yeah, it was one of the few times like that I felt like I could really just have fun.


Carmen: Yeah. yeah yeah.


[00:17:59] Fryda: Without my parents watching, watching me at all times, because like I'm an only child.


Okay. It was hard to get a moment to myself. So they were finally preoccupied by other adults and I can go and like do stuff with the kids.


Carmen: We'd be running around playing “El Chucho escondido” and all of this in a full on little, like little kid bata. The kids aren't showing up in their play clothes, because they're going to kill each other for three hours while you're getting drunk.

The kids are also dressed in their absolute best.


Fryda: Yes. I will probably find photos of myself, both in Cuba and in Miami wearing an elaborate poofy dress to these parties where I'm like running around and throwing like a tomato at someone. So like, yeah.


Carmen: And then of course, when you get it dirty or you get it ripped or something, your mom is like, “¡No no vaya, contigo no se puede!”

And you’re like “I'm a kid. What are you expecting?”


Fryda: Yeah. And you're wearing esos zapaticos a little shoes that have the buckle

Carmen: the little tiny socks


Fryda: And the ruffly socks.


[00:18:57]Fryda: Yeah. All of the above, but you're still a kid. So those are, that's where the kids are at. And let's keep looking around because people are getting hungry.


Carmen: People are getting hungry….


Fryda: So. What are, what are we eating? Let's start with the main plates.


Carmen: Ooh, well we just did an episode on la caja asadora and la caja China


Fryda: So people are gonna know what the pork is like.


Carmen: Definitely, definitely have to have some pork, definitely have to have arroz con frijoles


Fryda: Or arroz con gris, depending. What is the difference?


Carmen: Arroz con frijoles is white rice and beans separate, but on the same plate next to each other, or even on top of each other. Arroz con gris, is black beans and rice, but cooked together so that it all is already mixed in.


Fryda: yuca con mojo


Carmen: platanito maduro, some kind of fried plantain, tostones


Fryda: ah yeah, y una ensaladita


Carmen: Y una ensaladita which is iceberg, by the way, you never eat a salad as a main course, that is just not within the understanding of food when it comes to being Cuban. An ensalada is a side, just to say that you had something green and it's actually iceberg lettuce.


With sliced tomatoes and a bit of salt. Sometimes you might get some onion, like cut up onions in it, but that's as far as salad goes


[00:20:10]Fryda: Yeah. Usually raw onion,


Carmen: Correct.


Fryda: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. So if you're a fancy, you'd definitely get some avocado and let's, let's take a moment to just describe at least a little bit of the components of yuca con mojo. In one of our previous episodes on how to create the perfect lechon.


We describe mojo. And so mojo is something that you can also use to dress other components of the food yuca are tuber, also known as Yucca actually.


Carmen: That's how people say it?


Fryda: like in English, people will say Yucca


Carmen: Wow, oh, okay. Now we know that. I don't know how to say these things.


Fryda: No, you know how to say it, but just, you know, the Cuban way, it's a different experience.


In both cases, people have preferences. Tostones, is made from green thick planting, and it's usually pretty savory. You chop up a green, thick planting, you fry it, usually in lard, but maybe in canola oil, then you use a tostonera to crush it


[00:21:06]Carmen: and then you squish it into a flat pancake type of shape. And then you fry that again.


Fryda: It's delicious.

You can just add salt to that and enjoy it. And platanitos is sweet. So Carmen, why do we have platanitos?


Carmen: Platanitos, so the difference is that there's platano , which is what I know of as the plantain that you use for the tostones And then there's platano maduro which is the one that you use for fried plantains. So that plantation is a bit more ripe and softer.


Fryda: There's a couple of different ways to do it. If you wait until it gets a little brown, then you get much mushier platanitos. I don't actually like those.


Carmen: Ooh, those are the ones I like


Fryda: I like the ones that are… well, Carmen, you will take those. And I will take the ones that are far greener because it has a crispy outside and creamy inside and there are a lot more intact.

So those are the ones I like.


[00:21:58] Carmen: I like my platano blandito. Those are the main plates and some of the main sides, but we also have croquetas


Fryda: So croquetas are creamy ground, ham, breaded and fried on the outside. So crispy on the outside and nice and soft and warm on the inside.


Carmen: Yo, if you're cuban, you love croquetas. I love a croqueta. I like a croqueta preparada in my sandwich. I like a croqueta randomly stray in the middle of the night when I just need a snack.


I like a croqueta first thing in the morning. I like a croqueta in the middle of the party.


Fryda: You sound like Jose Marti. You're like “cultivo un croqueta…”


Fryda: Cultivo un croqueta de jamon, en junio


Carmen: Como en enero


Fryda: Para el amigo sincero


Carmen: Que me da su mano franca


Fryda: Y para el cruel que arranca


Carmen: El corazon con que vivo


Fryda: Cardo ni ortiga cultivo


BOTH: Cultivo una croqueta de jamon


Carmen: We'll get into Jose Marti in a different episode, but I don't think that he would be upset that we took it here.


[00:22:56]Fryda: I don't think so either, but I don't know. Somehow we got from croquetas to Jose Marti. It happened here at teikirisi folks.


Carmen: Yep. Don't miss this one. Anyway. Great. What else do we have? We have bocaditos. I love bocaditos.


Fryda: Bocaditos!


Carmen: Think of it as like Cuban deviled ham sandwiches. So there's little small finger sandwiches. And the bread is kind of like a dinner roll in that size and sort of shape as well. And then they're sliced in half and on the inside is a sort of ham paste that is actually made with ham cheese,roasted red peppers, mayonnaise, sweet pickles, olives con pimentos.


If I had to really give you an equivalent of what the ham paste tastes like, the best that I have found is pimento cheese. And they're delicious, and you can have 10,000 of them and not feel it.


Fryda: It's like air


Carmen: It is.


Fryda: So pastelitos the magic word pastelitos, the closer to breakfast that you are, the more likely you are to get some pastelitos


[00:24:00] So pastelitos. Are a puff pastry. It can sometimes be crumbly


Carmen: Buttery


Fryda: Definitely a little moist on the inside, super buttery. And it's stuffed with some form of fruit paste, the most common ones, and some of the most delicious ones are stuffed with guava paste. I've seen some mango paste ones. There's guava paste with cream cheese and some also have meat.


Carmen: And yeah, we've also even seen pizza pastel, which they just take pizza ingredients and somehow make it into a pastelito.


If I'm being really honest, if I can be vulnerable for a moment, this is the thing that I miss the most about Cuban culture in Miami. Like to the point that I will sometimes walk into a bakery order of turnover and tell myself “you are a pastelito”.


And it's so sad,


Fryda: But you're not...


Carmen: I have since moved on and learned how to make my own pasteliros. I actually learned it from watching My Big Fat Cuban Family, Marta. She makes a good one and she made a recipe and shared it, and then I started making it so shout out to Marta of My Big Fat Cuban family.


[00:25:03]Fryda: All right. So. Uh, we've got a lot of food, but it's still not enough.


Carmen: No.


Fryda: Let’s start with a typical party that isn't a birthday you'll at the very least have some flan


Carmen: Oh, absolutely. Flan and tres leches


Fryda: Yeah, tres leches means three milks and Carmen, what are the three milks?

Carmen: The three milks can be whole milk. Sometimes heavy cream is used, but definitely sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk.


And they soak sponge-y breads. Ooh so yummy. And then on top you have to have a shit ton of merengue. And if you're getting really fancy, you put a little cherry on top that nobody actually cares or likes, but it's there.


Fryda: You do, a maraschino cherry. If you are attending a birthday party, especially a children's birthday party, what do you get?


Carmen: Ooh! you get un cake mas grande que el niño.


[00:26:53]Fryda: So the Cuban panatella or the Cuban. Birthday cake is usually humongous. Like the bigger the cake,


Carmen: it's a status symbol, right?


Fryda: Like I think that it's definitely a status symbol. The Cuban panetella, is usually a huge rectangular cake that covers almost an entire table. One of the reasons I know a bit more about these cakes is that my mom used to always make these cakes for birthdays.


So she would cook them at home. The actual panetella, the, which is the cake is made with egg, sugar, flour, often maizena, which is an element powder, and some lemon, but that cake itself isn't dry. It's usually coated in something called an almibar, which is a syrup. That syrup is usually sugar water, and oftentimes an essence of orange or lemon.


The way that my mom would do it as she would zest, or ask me to zest, a lot of lime. And that's what we would make as the army. And so that flavor penetrates all of the panetella. You also often would cut the panetella in half and add a layer of something in the center. So it could be natilla, which is like a custard.


It could be guava. One of my favorite ones that my mom used to make was a coconut one too. And you cover that cake merengue.


[00:27:17]Carmen: Oh my God merengue


Fryda: Which is meringue.


Carmen: Mhm


Fryda: Merengue is made from egg whites and sugar


Carmen: Beaten


Fryda: Beaten to no end and it's white and fluffy, but that doesn't mean that cake is white in plain. There's a bunch of ways to decorate these cakes.


You can decorate the meringue in a blue color or a pink color or yellow color. Carmen. These cakes are intense.


Carmen: Yeah, they're really elaborate. When you're fixing to host these parties. You're not trying to feed these people and be done with feeding them. You're also trying to give them plates to take home.


As the host, you would never want to send people home with nothing. So that brings us to the end of the party. When you've been dancing all night, you've been drinking all night. You've been stuffing your face all night, and people have been commenting on whether you've gotten fat or you're too skinny, but then they're bringing you even more plates of food.


And you're trying to get out of there. Are you leaving anytime soon?


[00:28:10]Fryda: Absolutely not,


Carmen: No.


Fryda: Um,


Carmen: No.


Fryda: So, la despedida Cubana.


Carmen: It takes, give or take two hours.


Fryda: Between deciding to leave and then actually leaving,


Carmen: Gathering all of your family.


Fryda: Like maybe, maybe your dad has to finish the game of domino.


Carmen: Right. And maybe your mom is finished telling her story about how fulana y mengana are pissed at each other. And of course you are not done with your game. Your very important game of el chucho escondido. That thing? No, one's found it yet.


Fryda: So someone in your family announces that you're thinking of leaving, how many people do you have to kiss on the cheek in order to even start the process?


Carmen: EVERYONE.


Fryda: Everyone. Everyone. And while you're kissing them on the cheek, you might get into another conversation. So you might go to one part of the party where some people are at you, kiss them on the cheek and you’re “bueno nos vamos!”


[00:29:00]Carmen: Guaranteed.


Fryda: And then guaranteed you get into an entire conversation with that group of people.


Carmen: And meanwhile, the host is preparing you plates of food, little bit of everything, including this enormous cake that now they have to get rid of.


Fryda: Yeah. So you've got around, you started to say bye to people and when you're a kid and you've gone to enough of these parties, you start to realize what’s going on.


Carmen: By the time that you realize that your parents are trying to get out of there, you're like, “okay, I understand that I still have an extra two hours to play with my friends.”


Fryda: Yes, yes, yes, yes. And so sometimes the party happens at different parts of the house, right? Like some people in the party are outside en el patio. Like in the backyard. Some people are closer to the kitchen en el Florida and others are in the living room.


Carmen: En el Florida!


Fryda: Often times often times sounds like, you'll start saying bye at the end of the house.


And you start slowly moving towards the front of the door


Carmen: With all of your plates of food in tow.


[00:30:58]Fryda: Interacting with people, al] of your plates of food


Carmen: Oh and if it was a special occasion party and there were centerpieces, you definitely got to grab one of those too and take to your house.


Fryda: Absolutely. You are taking that home.


And so you've reached the door. Is that where you say goodbye and just like carry on in your Merry way? No, no, of course not


Carmen: You’re packing up into the car. You're strapping the kid up into the car seat. The car is running. Are you leaving?


Fryda: No, you're not leaving because before long you're in another conversation, because you're in the outside, in my car stage of the conversation.


And so maybe you'll turn off your car again. I have so many memories of my dad doing this, like just starting the car and then being like, “yeah, we're getting into something,” and like, turning off the car so he could conserve some energy.


Carmen: Yeah. Oh my God. Yeah. And then you're there for another, what? Like 30 minutes minimum.