01 February 2008

Food and Cuba

Let's face it. Cuba has a lot going for it. Its stunning beaches, great weather, friendly folk, rich culture, spicy music and dance ... but food is difficult. Getting away from pork, rice and beans and all your really left with is a ham sandwich. The resorts do their best. But in our experience, having been there 3 times, Cuba is not about the food. So, whether you are travelling around the country or staying put in an all-inclusive, it's a good idea to have some back up for your little ones. What follows is a list of food related items that we either brought or would consider bringing if we went again.

1. Bento Lunch for the airplane. In my experience food on the airplane has become a decreasingly important part of customer service. I just don't rely on it anymore especially when it comes to my wee one. This time I packed a little bento lunch which was a big hit: salad pocky, turkey meat balls, tomato/feta cheese skewers, cucumber and red pepper car shapes, grapes, craisins, cashews, and chocolate pudding.

2. Crackers or some other familiar snack food that you can leave in the room or throw in your beach bag. We brought Stoned Wheat Thins and Salad Pocky. With so much new food or familiar food prepared differently, it was nice to offer him something he knew from home.

3. A power bar for each day. These were a huge hit. But no wonder, most of them were covered in chocolate. This by the way is a silly thing to bring to a warm climate. I kept them in our mini fridge but by the time we made it to the beach the little bars were a big mess. Next time I'll look for some healthier and cleaner options too.

4. Peanut Butter. I would bring a small container if we were to go again. It's got protein. It's easy to keep food safe. And it's a comfort from home.

5. Dried fruit. Raisins are easy to find in the shops there but I didn't see any other variety.

6. Cans of tuna. I would consider bringing some tins if I was venturing off the resort for more than a few days.

7. Milk. My little guy barely touched the milk for the entire week. He said it was "too creamy". We drink 1% at home. If we were going for an extended trip I would consider working him up to whole milk a couple of weeks before the trip. If you are travelling away from the big hotels then consider bringing powdered milk or get everyone used to UHT milk (shelf milk) before you go.

8. I suspect that you aren't allowed to bring in fresh veg or fruit but if I could, knowing I had a fridge on the other end, I would have brought a red pepper, cherry tomatoes, grapes, and apples. But that's just specific to my kid's preferences.