The Three Origins: The Cuban Ajiaco and Chinese Cuban Voices in the Narrative of Mayra Montero and Daína Chaviano
Department of Literature and Modern Languages
Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal
In his well-known essay “Los factores humanos de la cubanidad,” Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz argues that Cuba’s origins could be found in the various ethnic groups that had inhabited the island through the centuries. Cuba’s distinctness was a result of its diversity, the mixing of cultures that had transpired throughout the island’s history. According to Ortiz, Cuba could best be defined an “ajiaco.” The ajiaco, the island’s national stew, is made by combing diverse ingredients originating from different parts of the globe, placing them into a large casserole, and slowly cooking them to create a new culinary concoction. With the arrival of new groups, came new ingredients, and thus, new versions of the stew were created. Like the ajiaco, therefore, Cuban identity, and by extension the Caribbean’s, is fluid and subject to change. With each migration and emigration, the ajiaco is redefined.
Fuentes, Y. (2009). The Three Origins: The Cuban Ajiaco and Chinese Cuban Voices in the Narrative of Mayra Montero and Daína Chaviano. Anthurium: A Caribbean Studies Journal, 7 (1), 1-12. https://doi.org/10.33596/anth.139