My sister Isis and I attended Catholic school in Cuba for a short time, because Fidel expelled all the nuns and most of the priest early in his tyranny. Mamina then taught us at home, to avoid exposing us to the intense Communist indoctrination that was carried out  in the schools.  

Ready for School
 As the regime became more repressive, we were forced to  attend public school.  Isis was 7 and I was 8.  For the next five years we were taught well, especially about the evils of Capitalism and the advantages of Communism.

By the time our little sister Nina was old enough for school, we had been trying to leave Cuba for about 6 years, and there was no way of knowing when or if we would finally be allowed to leave. Somehow my mother arranged for her to begin with first grade rather than kindergarten, “this way she will learn to read before we leave Cuba”, she hopefully told my father.

It was early in the school year, the teachers had begun teaching the little children about the “fallacies of religion”, the “Opium of the masses”, and how ridiculous it was to believe in God.   The children were taught that the only thing that one could depend on to take care of us in life, was "el govierno", the State.  

            The little kids didn't understand a whole lot of what was being said to them.  But the teachers/government representatives had a very effective way to teach this lesson. First they asked the children, “Do you like ice cream?”  Of course they did.  They were told, “Why don't you bow your heads and pray to God to give you some ice cream”.  All the little children did as they were bidden.  They bowed their heads and prayed for ice cream.  When they raised their heads the teachers pointed out that there was no ice cream anywhere to be had.  

            Next they were told, “Why don't you try it again.  This time when you bow your heads, pray that Fidel will send you ice cream”. 

            The children obediently bowed their heads once again, and prayed to the "Maximum Leader of the Grand Communist State" for ice cream. When they raised their heads there was a small cardboard container of ice cream on each of their desks.

I still don’t like ice cream in small cardboard containers, and I am so grateful that we were able to escape Communism and that we get to live in a country where  freedom and religion are still valued. 

Here is a simple recipe that reminds me of the sweetness of life. 

HELADO DE CARAMELO- Caramel ice cream 
Makes about 1 ½ quarts

1 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon of water
5 cups warm milk, half and half, or cream. Depending on how
   creamy you want it.
Dash of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put the sugar and water in a pan and melt it very slowly, (on low) so as not to burn it. 

As soon as the sugar is liquid and golden colored, add the milk and salt, mix well. Warm milk will mix better with the melted sugar caramel. If  you use cold milk, the caramel will harden, and you will have to heat the hardened sugar and milk on the stove on medium, and stir and stir until it dissolves. 

Once it is mixed well, add vanilla. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart ice cream maker and process according to your ice cream maker's directions. 

If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can do what Mamina did,  pour the mixture into ice cube trays . It made delicious, rectangular pieces of crunchy ice cream. Kind of hard, but so refreshing!

3 Response to HELADO DE CARAMELO-Caramel Ice Cream

September 6, 2012 at 4:21 PM

María, what a wonderful blog you have, filled with memories of your family and Cuba! The receipts look delicious. Thanks for your email, and your "cariñosas" words, I really appreciate it.
I would love for you to write that message in Cjaronu Blog, you can enter your messages in "Comentarios".

Big Cuban hug, from one blogger to another


September 6, 2012 at 4:23 PM


September 7, 2012 at 11:51 AM

This post, like most others, brought me to tears. The cause for emotion was far different. Sadness, for the evil and horrible forces meant to extinguish HOPE and LIGHT. Thank you for your inspiration, insight and courage!

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