Cuban Stovetop Espresso Maker

Relationship: Child of im/migrant
Espresso Maker
Espresso Maker

My mother was fifteen when she and her family immigrated to the United States from Cuba. My mother was taught to keep her Cuban heritage alive through cooking savory dishes. When I was younger, growing up in the suburbs of Virginia, I remember being exposed to food that many of my friends found foreign. My mother fed us avocado, yucca, guava, mango, and mamey – a fruit which makes the most delicious smoothies. We would eat everything with a side of banana and many meals would be prepared with the help of a flavorful spice from Goya. My mother’s exposure to different cultures enabled us to not be picky eaters and to appreciate the value of a well prepared meal. She was a major proponent in allowing us to be open minded to culinary adventures and through this outlet we were also able to explore more aspects of other cultures beyond the dinner table.
Above all of the others, the one sense I most associate with my Cuban heritage is that of smell. I would wake up almost every weekend to the aroma of Cuban coffee percolating on the stove. My mother would pour herself and each of her children a tiny cup full of strong espresso and then we would proceed to converse about our week. These memories are always warmly remembered amongst my siblings and are recreated whenever we reunite. While food and drink oftentimes may have been the catalyst, it is through these conversations that I made and continue to make discoveries about life that impacts me in ways both great and small.  

Place(s): Cuba
Year: 1980

– Suzanne Nelson

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant