Today, you will learn how to say Happy New Year in Spanish and how to speak Cuban Spanish. This is how to say Happy New Year in Spanish: “Prospero Año Nuevo.” But keep in mind that you can say either “Prospero Año Nuevo” or “Feliz Año Nuevo.” Or as they say in Colombia, “Feliz Año.”
After I wrote a recent article where I included a “foto” and a “receta” for pegao, concon or cucayo (delicacy consisting of crunchy rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot), one reader responded with a very interesting email:
“Muchas gracias, Patrick. BTW, in Cuba, the rice crust at the bottom of thepot is called la raspa, and is a delicacy there, too. Gracias por la receta, tambien. Most people these days just forgo the raspa and use a rice cooker, but I hate accumulating more gadgets! I do use my pressure cooker though.
I do a lot of Cuban cooking. I love it.
We will have a traditional Noche Buena on Christmas Eve with the Lechon Asado that I injected and marinated with mojo for at least 24 hours, yuca con mojo, frijoles negros, arroz, (if you cook the rice and beans together it is called Moros y Cristianos), maybe some platanos maduros fritos (yum), salad, and for dessert flan and maybe some Turrones. I’ve never had Turrones, but it’s part of the traditional Christmas foods. Do you still live in Colombia? I tried to make arepas, but did not get them to cook through properly. Plus, I’m not sure we have the proper harina here. I used the one Mexicans use for tamales and tortillas”
That ends her email.
I wanted to talk about her email with you because I thought it was very interesting. I actually came across the word or phrase “la raspa” on last week, for the first time, when I was researching the Net for “fotos” and “recetas” for pegao, concon or cucayo, and saw that it was the word that cubanos use for crispy layer of rice that is scraped from the bottom of the pot. But I didn’t want to include it in my last article unless a cubano or someone familiar with “la cultura de Cuba” confirmed that “la raspa” is the word used in Cuba for crunchy rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot.
The word “raspa” apparently comes from the verb “raspar” which means “to scrape.”
But I also found her email very entertaining because she said that she forgoes the raspa and uses a rice cooker. I have a rice cooker in my “apartamento” in Medellin, and whenever one of my Colombian amigas visits and cooks rice, they also, out of convenience, forgo the “caldero” (cast iron or cast aluminum cooking pot) and the pegao, concon, cucayo, or raspa. Which I am of course unhappy about since I love eating the crunchy rice that sticks to the bottom of the pot.
And another thing that she mentioned which I felt was also typical of my amigas in Medellín is that she cooks with a pressure cooker.
But when I lived in Barranquilla on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, my “novia” never cooked with a pressure cooker. Instead, she would soak the frijoles overnight to make sure they were soft before cooking them the next day.
But the “paisas” or people of Medellín are a bit more “cosmopolita” than the “costeños” (coastal people) of Barranquilla and prefer the convenience of rice cookers and pressure cookers over “calderos” (cast iron or cast aluminum pots) and regular “ollas” (pots).
So that’s what I wanted to share with you that I learned about the Spanish or culture of Cuba and Colombia.