Monday, December 14, 2009


Cuba's other revolution is green, not red
The Guardian - December 12

In Copenhagen they are debating how to end deforestation, but in Cuba's Pinar del Río they were replanting 50 years ago, creating lush, unspoilt valleys

By Jane Owen

Birds and butterflies are swooping above us and, as our taxi reaches the summit of this forest road just 40 minutes from the heat and noise of Havana, the view opens to an undulating landscape painted every shade of green. Before Castro these hills were dusty yellow and brown scrub.

If Copenhagen needs a model, this is the most eloquent I know, a visionary example of reforestation and the long term benefits it brings. While the rest of the world is ripping up forests in the name of minerals and wood, Cuba has been replanting its tropical forests in the name of jobs, the environment and a lush holiday destination for decades. This policy has worked so well that in 1984 Unesco gave biosphere status to 26,686 hectares of forest in the western region of Pinar del Río, where I am heading to stay at Las Terrazas, 50km from Havana.

Our journey has taken us along an empty motorway, past plains with grazing cattle and sugar cane fields. Few Cubans can afford the petrol to make trips out here. Those who live here survive on smallholdings down dirt tracks that wind into the forest or in villages where the main employment comes from tourism at Las Terrazas.

We reach our destination, Las Terrazas valley, and drive across a lake studded with water lilies. Clouds of turkeys and chickens scatter in front of us and, above us, orange and blue shuttered apartments for local people curve around the hillside. Hotel Moka, and a host of restaurants, bars and attractions, are dotted discreetly around the community.

We check in and walk 40 minutes along a hilly track in search of a river to wash away the dust and heat of Havana. Steps lead from the track down to a river cascading from the hills into a series of natural pools. Above, sunlight trickles through bamboos, the orange-red blooms of hibiscus trees, teaks, royal palms and a tree covered in curly red seed pods. We plunge into the cool, clear water. Grey and red bromeliads and tiny orchids stud the trees above us. A large kingfisher swoops onto a rock a couple of metres away. Eagles circle overhead.

This is Castro's Eden, a paradise he dreamt up soon after the revolution in 1959, when he ordered a reforestation programme. Back then this place was grassland. Now it looks much like it must have done before European settlers cleared the forest for coffee and cattle. When Columbus arrived here in 1492 the island was 90% forest. By the time Castro came to power the figure had dropped to 11%. Now forest covers about a quarter of the island. More:

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Cuban Food and Cookery™
a Wandering Feast®

Cuba y la Alimentación de cocina - Un Fiesta Errante©™
“Preparation of the sustainably produced foods of Cuba”
Jeffrey “Che Gabo” Ensminger
Executive Chef

[Title Page with author and photographs and Publisher credit]

First Edition page
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced by any means whatsoever without written permission from the publisher, except brief portions quoted for purpose of review.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Food is Art for the mind - Art is Food for the mind - GABO

The Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Department of Art
are pleased to welcome to campus Visiting Artist Eduardo "Choco" Roca.
Choco was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. He is one of the island's most
distinguished printmakers (some would say the best there is) and a
national treasure. He lives in Havana and his studio in Old Havana is a
mecca for printmakers the world over. He was one of the first artists
invited to the United States by the Center for Cuban Studies to
participate in its first Cuban art exhibit, "First Look," in 1981. This
visit inspired a film by Kavery Dutta, also called "First Look."

Choco has shown throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas in hundreds of
group and one-man shows. He is known especially for his innovative
collagraph print works. Of his work one critic writes, "Eduardo Roca is
one of those people who creates riches from a very rare personal harmony
with their profession. His pictures, in the main tending towards
symmetry and visual peace, possess inner rhythm and astute dynamism,
producing complex effects whilst dealing with simple matters".

His current work is intense with color, with traditional elements done
in a modern style. His work seems to be structured by three distinct
elements: strong texture, strange atmospheres and a personal interlacing
of spatial abstraction with silhouettes. His subjects sometimes are
non-defined which open up a range of potential interpretations. As famed
art critic Michael Barnett writes, "His work contributes to our own
understanding of ourselves as better human beings.with it we discover
another path to the realm of the fantastic which we all aspire to reach
- where art always leads us, this time at the hand of the great Choco."

CHOCO, a specialist in collagraph printmaking, will be working all month
at the Department of Art's John Henry Print Studio, producing several
collagraph prints. The public is invited to drop in and observe his work
in progress during the afternoons from 2-4:30.

An exhibition of his work will be in the John and June Allcott
Undergraduate Gallery from October 8-19.

A special 2-day workshop on collagraph printmaking is scheduled for
Friday, October 16 (for plate-making) and Friday, October 30 (for
printing) from 9-noon. Participation is limited to 12. Please contact
Beth Grabowski ( to sign up.

Questions? Contact Lou Perez ( or Beatriz Riefkohl
( or Beth Grabowski (

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Presidential Inaugural Menu - A Wandering Feast

Inauguration Menu - A Wandering Feast: 919-683-1244
The foods on this menu are the Obama’s favorites, some are variations, others deconstructed.
$38 Per Person, Nine item menu, 20 person Minimum, 1 per category, set up and delivery no labor or service.
50% deposit is required with minimum 7 – 10 day notice to secure date.
A Wandering Feast promotes sustainable communities & hires Partners for Youth students.
GASTRONOMIC Note: we will advise for a well balanced menu. We will deliver your menu on platters for service. Any item listed that seems to be a pass Hors d’Houvres w/labor will be adjusted for buffet without labor.
We recommend the buffet approach to small plates, self service, High quality paper and colorful napkins in lieu of rentals.

The Presidential Inaugural Menu: All ingredients are sustainably produced where possible.

I. Obama Chili in (or with) Pacific Rim Soup Spoons topped with Sour Cream or, *Chili Natchitoches (traditional southern pastry w/Chili Obama – requires baking)

II. Guacamole w/Tortillas or Tortilla Chips or, *"Pupus" (Hawaiian appetizers) – this counts as three items (think food groups), pick three: 1. Hawaii Chicken and Pineapple Sate 2. Roasted Onion and Macadamia Hummus 3. Shrimp Ono Nui with Teriyaki-Coconut-Pineapple Relish 4. Baby Back Spare Ribs w/Hawaiian glaze (add $2.00)

III. Kona Kampachi (Yellow Tail) ceviche in endive (add $2.00 and market) Or, Tuna Croustade (Tuna with Cornichon) Tatar sauce or, *Salmon or Tilapia Mtuza Wa Samaki (Kenyan Curried fish) over Greens (Sukuma Wiki)

IV. Shrimp and Grits (scallion grits stuffed Shrimp) Or, Shrimp & MAC Cheese Fondue with Sun dried Tomato and Crocottes (a baked dish) Or, Mini Maryland Blue Crab Cakes with caper Sauce or, *Shrimp with Sun dried Tomato-slivered Roast Garlic Marmalade

V. Herb-crusted grass-fed Tenderloin with Potato Cakes or, *Maui Beef Filet with Forest mushroom sauce served w/ goat cheese mashed potatoes Or, Roast Tenderloin of Beef TexMex red chili sauce

VI. *A Display of Fresh breads, Tortillas and Dinner Rolls

VII. *Ugali-Tamales in Banana Leaf w/Chicken (Ugali is the Kenyan national dish – African Polenta) Or, Chicken-Pineapple Sate Hawaii or, Goat with tortillas and salsa (available at market)

VIII. *Organic Broccoli and Roasted Vegetables (a medley of roasted and caramelized vegetables) w/dipping sauce Or, Carrot-broccoli Mousse or, Broccoli & Four Cheese “Chicago” thin crust pizza

IX. *Lattice Apple Pie and Peach cobbler a la mode (vanilla ice cream and toasted Almond slivers) Or, Hawaiian chocolate shells with coconut sorbet and Flan or, Assorted Sweets AWF

X. Kenyan coffee and Nicorettes (obviously we cannot serve these but we liked the idea)

Yellowtail is a member of the Amberjack family - an Obama favorite - Thanks Kelly from Kona Blue water our friends in Hawaii.
NOTE: Items with an asterisk are recommended
Labor (if desired) is dependant on guest count at $100 per person for 4 hours.
Rentals if required are additional and must be arranged in advance and billed direct.
Event Space – The Chameleon on Chapel Hill Road is available for your Inaugural event.