The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook - A Giveaway

I can't, in good conscience, end Hispanic Heritage Month without talking about my love of Cuban food and sharing a wonderful new Cuban cookbook. 

Obviously I'm a lover of all-things-Cuban. Particularly the food that so defines our culture. Platanos, black beans, tostones, lechón asado, picadillo, and of course, pastelitos de guayaba. Food just doesn't get any better than this.


I'm happy to report that the wait is over for this wonderful cookbook. My friend and Real Housewife of Miami Alum, Ana Quincoces has partnered with the Versailles family, specifically Nicole Valls to bring you a collection of all of your favorite Cuban recipes from the iconic Versailles Restaurant in Miami, with the forward by ...wait for it...(drum roll, please)... Andy Garcia. (Pinch me!)

Part history and lore of the Versailles Restaurant, part detailed cookbook, with a good dose of Cuban idioms makes the Versailles Restaurant Cookbook a must-have in the kitchen of any self-respecting Cuban cook.

Ana had originally contacted me a few years ago, asking for a quote about Versailles to include in the book, which I gave her. Read that story here: Happy 40th Birthday, Versailles! My quote didn't make the book (sigh), but it's still a beautiful Cuban cookbook, with every single recipe you want in there. Ham croquetas, anyone?

Ana has generously given me an autographed copy of the Versailles Restaurant Cookbook to give away today. 


To enter this comment drawing, answer one or both of the following questions:

  • When you celebrate a special occasion, what's on the menu?
  • What's your favorite thing to order when you go to Versailles in Miami?

Remember that if you want to enter the drawing for the cookbook, you must leave a comment on this post and I'll choose a winner on Friday, October 17th at 8 pm PST.

Gracias and Buen Provecho!

Cubamerican the Movie on DVD - Giveaway

I so love celebrating Cuban (!) Hispanic Heritage Month with you guys because...

  • Our stories need to be told.
  • Cubans are amazing people.

Speaking of great "Cuando sali de Cuba" stories, I know many of you have already seen the documentary, Cubamerican. If you haven't yet, you will be amazed at how beautifully and poignantly it depicts the struggles and triumphs of Cubans who were exiled here and eventually made America their home. Get a copy! STAT!

Here's a list of the highly accomplished Cubans who were interviewed for the film. 

  • Carlos Eire
  • Lorena Feijóo
  • Pedro José Greer, Jr.
  • Mirta Ojito
  • Andy Garcia (be still my foolish heart)
  • Gonzalo Rubalcaba
  • Pedro A. Sanchez
  • Achy Obejas
  • Orlando Diaz-Azcuy
  • Felix S. Sabates, Jr.
  • Alvaro de Molina
  • Tony Pérez
  • Gustavo Pérez-Firmat (friend and lover of the MBFCF cookbook)
  • José Orlando Padron
  • Steven Bauer
  • Raoul G. Cantero III
  • Roberto González Echevarría
  • Eduardo J. Padrón
  • Jorge Pardo
  • Lorna Feijóo
  • Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras

The fabulous news is that this gorgeous film is now available on DVD.

The 2nd piece of fabulous news is that I have a couple of copies to give away today, plus a promotion you will totally be excited about. 

The 3rd piece of fabulous news is that I received the very first copy of the DVD as a gift from Director, Jose Enrique Pardo and Producer, Daniel Bellas. Okay, that's not truly fabulous news, it just makes me feel sooo accidentally cool. (But that's not important right now.)


First of all, I'm giving away, not one, but two (2) copies of the Cubamerican DVD. 

To enter this drawing for a chance to win a DVD of the documentary, Cubamerican, please leave a comment on this post and tell me:

  • When did you arrive here in the U.S. 
  • Where was your first stop?

My answer: February 14, 1961. Miami, Florida.

Please leave your comment on this post and I'll choose TWO winners on Monday, September 22nd, 2014 at 11 am PST. 

The 2nd piece of fabulous news is for those of you who just don't want to wait (I know how you guys get), the generous folks at Cubamerican have a BOGO* offer for the first ten buyers. (*Buy One. Get One.)

The first 10 people to buy a Cubamerican DVD and put MBFCF after their name, will win an additional DVD. Here's the link: Cubamerican DVD.

Also, I think every Cuban should own and share this film. It tells our stories so beautifully. A very important reminder: Don't forget the tissues!

Cuando Sali de Cuba - Stories of Courage and Hope

Cuando sali

My family moved to the U.S. reluctantly. 

When we left Cuba, we didn't know we were coming here for good. I think that's a part of our story as Cuban refugees that doesn't get much play. 

When we left our beloved homeland, we (when I say "we," I mean, my parents) thought it was only a temporary stay until that whole pesky revolution thing blew over. Obviously, it has not. 

The Verdes sisters circa 1961

The Verdés Sisters, circa 1961. Our 1st photo here in the U.S.

We began our life here in the U.S. based on the premise that it was going to be sort of a long vacation. Then we began calling it exile. Then there came a point when we knew for certain that there was no going back. 

It's Hispanic Heritage Month. From the 15th of September to the 15th of October, we, here in the U.S. celebrate the contributions of Hispanics to the fabric and culture of America.

For the past few years, here on my blog, I have celebrated the stories of Cuban families who came here and built beautiful lives as proud Americans. I call that series, "Cuando Sali de Cuba - stories of courage and hope."

Here's a link to all of the stories. Cuando Sali de Cuba.

Here's a video of my family in Cuba "back in the day" and in the here and now. Set to the beautiful song by Celia Cruz that inspired this series. The lyrics are especially poignant to me as well as to most Cuban refugees. 

That's right: Refugees. Not Immigrants.

Cuando salí de Cuba
dejé mi vida, dejé mi amor
Cuando salí de Cuba
dejé enterrado mi corazón.


When I left Cuba
I left behind my life, I left behind my love
When I left Cuba
I left my heart forever buried in the ground.

That just about sums it up. 

Celebrating Six Years in the Blogosphere (MBFCF Giveaway WEEK!)

If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I love any occasion to celebrate. So, you're probably asking, "What are we celebrating today, Marta?"

Let me tell you. Today marks the 6th Blogiversary of My big, fat, Cuban family on the Web.

GUAT? I know. Shut up.


That's right, people! SIX. YEARS.

I sat down in front of my computer screen on October 1st, 2006 and started over-sharing about being Cuban in the O.C. and how difficult it was to get decent Cuban food and so I just started cooking for myself and my family. And I took pictures every day anyway, so I started sharing my recipes.

And isn't it fitting that my October 1st Blogiversary is right smack dab in the middle of Hispanic Heritage Month? Coincidence? I think not.

I was amazed when I hit the One Year in the Blogosphere mark in 2007. So I celebrated.

1 year

Encouraged by your great response to this little Cuban corner of cyberspace, I kept writing, and picture-taking, and documenting and before I knew it, two years had gone by. And so I celebrated again. And designed a faux magazine cover, and I gave stuff away.

2 years

Blown away by your support and because I apparently had a whole lot more to say, I continued to write and lo and behold, in October of 2009, I celebrated My 3 Year Blogiversary. (<--is that even a word?) By that time, I had gotten into a groove and I was totally loving the whole faux-magazine-cover thing and I really enjoyed giving stuff away, so I did it again.

3 years

I was having SO. MUCH. FUN! I did stuff. I took pictures. I wrote about it. This space had become a living, breathing, photo album of my life. And I just kept writing, and picture-taking, and over-sharing right up until it was time to celebrate Year Four of Blogginess.

4 years

To be perfectly honest, I was still amazed and surprised that anyone even wanted to read what I was writing about. I kept doing it because, well, it is my life. And it should at least be of interest to me, right? Plus, when I look back at the hundreds of posts that I've written, it tells a really nice story about a really nice life and that makes me really, really happy.

I had some health challenges in 2011 and the thought crossed my mind that I had probably told all my stories and said everything I wanted to say about my family and my kids and all that. And I actually toyed with the idea of stopping this whole documenting-my-life-for-the-world-to-see thing. I took a break for a while and went back and read some of what I'd written and decided that even if no one else was following, it was an excellent record of my life (or at least the last few years of my life). And it made me happy. So when I got to Year Five in the Blogosphere, I really felt like I had a lot to celebrate.

5 years

Now I'm six years into telling, not just my own stories, but sharing some of yours with the Cuando Sali de Cuba series. I'm very proud of my little cyber-home here at My big, fat, Cuban family. I've made some lovely relationships with some wonderful people and generous sponsors.

As of today, my 6th Blogiversary, I'm happy to report that I have 4,491 followers on the MBFCF Facebook Fan Page where I get to over-share every single day in real time, but that's not important right now.

I want to thank you all.

You read. You share. You come back. You write to me. You leave comments. You make me laugh out loud. I love writing about the "relajo" that is my life and I'm humbled that you keep responding so positively every time. I love that you get my Cubanisms.

{A very special Thank You and shout out to Val & the rest of the Intransigents over at Babalú Blog for their unfailing friendship and support and for putting MBFCF on the Blogging World Map. Gracias!}

So, about that whole celebration thing.....

I'm going to be celebrating ALL WEEK. That's right. For the next SIX days, I've lined up some fabulous Cuban sponsors and I'll be hosting a very cool giveaway every single day for the ENTIRE WEEK to celebrate each of my SIX Bloggywonderful years.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. ;-)

To kick things off - here's MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway #1:

My Big, Fat, Cuban Family Cookbook

Mbfcf cookbook

Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win my cookbook and please answer one or all of the following questions:

  • How did you find My big, fat, Cuban family?
  • What do you enjoy most about this blog?
  • How long have you been here?

I'll choose a winner at the end of MBFCF Blogiversary Giveaway Week on Monday, October 8th, 2012 at 11 am, so you have lots of time to enter.

Have I said, "thank you"? Seriously. Thank you.

Cuando Sali de Cuba - stories of Courage and Hope

Every year around this time, I start to get requests for a story or a recipe to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. It struck me that it would be fitting during this month of heritage celebration to tell the stories of Cubans who had to flee their island home to make a new life here in the U.S.

So, I put out the request to my readers and you have responded with the most amazing stories. I am honored to share them here.


Some of the "Cuando Sali de Cuba" stories I have featured in the past:

Christina's Story

Jorge's Story

Gracie's Story

From now until the middle of October, it gives me great pleasure to share the stories of Cuban immigrants and refugees.

I'll also be doing some really fun and fabulous giveaways, so stay tuned. (No, really. You're going to love them!)

Thanks to all of you who have participated already. To those of you who have not, it's not too late! Please send me your stories, along with some photos. My email is mdarby (at) cox (dot) net.

I am so very excited to get to share these beautiful stories. Thanks for trusting me.