05 Jan Specialists Corner: Bennett L.
Editor’s Note: Our industry specialists all host a column in our HUB Insider monthly newsletter, but only readers in their specialist industry get to read them. We have selected some of the best examples of these columns and posted them in this blog.
My family on my mother’s side is Cuban.
She was eighteen years old when she came to this country with her mom and dad. None of them knew a word of English, but by the time she married my dad three years later, she had a decent grasp of English. Her dedication to her adopted country was so thorough that my brothers and I grew up without ever learning to speak Spanish. The little bit that I know was learned on the construction site when I had to manage Mexican employees.
One custom my mother did not leave behind is keeping very close ties with family. My grandparents have always been near and cherished members of the family. It’s not always easy talking to my grandmother—she understands English better than she can speak it, but she always finds a way to get her point across. What she lacks in verbal skills, she more than makes up for with her cooking!
Every fortnight, our extended family gathers for a shared meal. No matter whatever else is on the menu, we can always count on Mama to make us some fried plantains. Plantains look like oversized bananas, but you wouldn’t want to try them raw. The way Mama makes them, they taste better than French fries.
This is her recipe:
Select green (not brown or yellow) plantains and peel. The peel is like a banana, but you need to take it off with a paring knife. Cut the plantain into sections about 1” in length and place them in boiling vegetable oil (365˚) until brown, about 5 minutes. Remove from oil and stand the sections on end so you can squash them with the bottom of a glass tumbler. You want to collapse them to about ¼” thickness and then return them to the oil to finish frying three or four more minutes until crispy. Place them on absorbent paper, salt generously, and enjoy.