Why wouldn't I keep doing this?
Enoelia Lovaina Rodríguez can be "lost" among the distinctiveness of her cuisine in Mata, and found in the good taste of her typical dishes. The ranchón where she makes bacán, frangollo, coconutcones, tulanga and more is like an altar of Baracoa's identity. "Tell me if I looked bad," she said after an interview, when one had already surrendered to her naturalness in talking and her jovial spirit.
Good morning, Enoelia.
How was this thing about typical dishes born, since when and why you took the habit?
"Well, it is a tradition from my ancestor, my father taught me to make different typical dishes, such as seafood, traditional food, the bacán perdido, coconut milk with fish, coconut milk with crab, which is very tasty. My mom and dad made different types of sweets, that's why I also have the pleasure of being able to make tulanga, the delicious bacán with crab, the tasty bacán with meat, and I make coconut cones, frangollo, if you want, I'll give you the recipe, for never stop doing it, because that has to continue.
Also let me tell you that I am rich as a creative woman because I have known how to take advantage of the moment and the desire to be a Cuban woman prepared for the times that have passed, what we are living and what may come next. I can do with agriculture what I want, from a broth to a typical seafood dish and present it in any event, as I have presented it on Juración Street, in different parts of the our municipality as well as throughout the Mata-Guandao Popular Council ".
At what age did you start doing the dishes?
"Very early, very early. I make dumplings, coconut nougats, almond cutlets, I make whatever you want with the flavor of my love principles which is what I have a lot of today."
What does it feel like when you are preparing the dishes and once they are finished?
"Well, I tell you that I feel so excited that I even get nervous, because when an event like March 8th approaches, August 23, a collective birthday, a way to greet our federated women that for me in particular is a great thing.
If I do not fulfill that task on the day and at the given moment I get sick, because I do it dedicated to this society that I really chose from an early age, from the age of 16. And I am leading the Federation of Cuban Women, creating, teaching to make different dishes and things, and at least I am relieved at a time that demands so much effort, sacrifice. In particular, I make any dish they ask me. "
I have seen you participate in community cultural festivals in Baracoa, and on Juración, the street of traditions, during the celebration of culture weeks. When did you start going to those events and how has it been?
"Well I want to tell you that I do not remember the year, because as a creative woman I have been the only one in the Popular Council, as a trade worker I represented my area and I have also competed making typical dish, all the wonders in which I could win, in all the areas that my boss assigned me to be. "
I mentioned before that you make bacán, frangollo, coconut cones, but I also remember that you won first place or the popularity award at a Seafood Festival with a beautiful stuffed guapén. Tell me about it.
"Well, I should tell you, because that was an explosion, both for the population of Boca de Yurumí and for the foreign public. Now life has forced us not to do a festival with a wide audience.
But yes, with a guapén, I stuff it with seafood, mainly pink conch and octopus. With guapen I can make 15 dishes, I prepare it, stuff it with different kinds of fish, small, large, octopus, shrimp, I put everything and you know, that looks like a spider ".
Yes, because you also decorate it.
I also decorate it, and with that guapén I have won the Popularity Award and the Unique Award. I felt so much emotion and such nervousness at that moment that I donated the guapén to the girl who was representing Primada Vision, the one called Xenia ".
What importance do you attach to the fact that these typical dishes are preserved and that there are still people who want to preserve that tradition?
"Well, I would dare to tell you that I am retired from my job but not retired from my typical dishes. I do want to make a call to all young people fundamentally, women as well as men, that this cannot be lost, that if I live in such a rich land in natural fruits and so full of what nature gave us, this northern coast, and that we can represent it anywhere, why not keep doing this, why lose these delicious and good sweets our hands can make and we can represent.
And what I can tell you, is that as long as I have my strength, of which I have a lot left, and my will and my love, I will be here".
How old are you?
"I am 71 years old."
That means that you have been doing this type of work since long.
"Well, I started from a very early age, before I was 16 years old, I was already making food, and representing my Federation of Cuban Women at the national level, in 1989 together with my Commander in Chief, and my Vilma Espín, who helped us a lot with her encouragement, as I really say to the youth in Baracoa today: we are going to stand firm, head on, fight everything and keep everything we have because it is an advance for our life.
And if health accompanies you, you are supposed to continue with the dishes.
"If my health accompanies me, I will continue to stand and preparing not one dish, but many and in different flavors. Because I must also tell you that I am a woman who preserves food in a healthy and sustainable way, I teach so that women learn to make different things that are useful in the kitchen apart from sweets, and things that are useful for saving money. Things like make vinegar, seasoning, wine, pru, why not, make compote for our children with different fruit, we only have to take advantage of the harvest of each fruit we have on our farm or in our yard. "
And how can we have the raw material for these products?
"Very easy, because almost all farms here produces various fruit, mango, guava, banana, when they ripen we can make a delicious compote; pineapple is preserved both dry and also in sweet, any way we are asked to.
I can speak like this, at 71 years old, that we are rich in this piece of land but with everything nature gives us. I do not know if you are satisfied with what I tell you, I can only add that I am very satisfied, forgive me that I have been nervous, but you can count on me. Tell me if I looked bad. "
No. Thank you for your words.