Piti and I often played with Olguita.  She lived in our neighborhood and I went to school with her and Piti in pre primary, first and second grade.  Moving away from school didn’t affect our friendship. Every chance we got, Piti and I played with Olguita and our other great friend Rosita, the fourth musketeer who I will talk about one day…

Intelligent, sensitive, she is someone who lives her life authentically.  She sets her course and follows it with conviction, helps everyone in her family and community, and never takes credit for any of it.

Olguita disappeared from our lives for a really long time.  One day a couple of decades after we left Cuba when Piti was hurrying through the Atlanta airport, she heard her name called by a familiar voice.  To her surprise, she turned around and found Olguita!  What a moment after all those years!  Piti called me and told me and at the first opportunity we all flew in from our respective homes and met in Miami to celebrate our reunion.  It was then we found out that Olguita had never lost touch with Rosita and we immediately started communicating with her also.

So many years later, we hadn’t changed so much.  Olguita has the bearing of a Spanish countess and the humility of a saint.  Her father was one of the men who went to Cuba in the Bay of Pigs invasion.  She and her mother suffered exile together and eventually Olguita married.  She currently lives with her husband Dick in Georgia.

Olguita and I don’t see each other often, but we keep in touch almost daily, mostly exchanging humorous emails or articles written about Cuba or beautiful pictures of places all over the world.  We both know that we are there for one another, and so when I asked for recipes she didn’t hesitate to send me one of her favorites.



Arroz con Pollo (Cuban Chicken and Rice)

Cooked in the good old pressure cooker

Place the small grill inside the pressure cooker,

do not cook directly on the bottom of the pot.


Throw all together but for some reason, in the

order indicated.  Don’t ask me why, but it works.


1 Chicken (small to medium) cut in pieces.  Cook

with bones-more flavor

2 cups of “Valencia” rice (arborio type, short grain)

3 cups of water

2 cubes of chicken bouillon

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of pepper

1 small can of petit pois

1 small can of tomato puree

3/4 cup (or a little less) of olive oil

3/4 cup cooking wine

1 bay leaf

1 large onion chopped in small pieces

1 medium green pepper copped in small pieces

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 can of roasted pimentos

about 1 teaspoon of Bijol (or ground turmeric)


Place all in the cooker in the order above and close

the cooker with the valve at high or full flame.

When the valve rings 4 or 5 time, turn the heat off

and leave on the stove until all the pressure is gone.


Comes out perfectly Cuban!



One comment

  1. In WAITING FOR SNOW IN HAVANA Carlos Eire narrates many of his adventures with the small group of boys who were his close friends in Cuba. Girls only get minimal mention. After reading the book twice – it is one of my favorites – I felt the need to write and read stories about girls growing up in Cuba during those turbulent times. I look forward to reading about the adventures of your group of Four Musketeers in Havana.


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