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Cocina Cubana

Some of Rita Chanfrau’s favorite Cuban dishes include (clockwise from left) yuca, mariquitas (fried plantain chips), 
mojito with mint, vaca frita, fried sweet plantains, black beans with chopped onion and parsley, and rice.

Some of Rita Chanfrau’s favorite Cuban dishes include (clockwise from left) yuca, mariquitas (fried plantain chips), mojito with mint, vaca frita, fried sweet plantains, black beans with chopped onion and parsley, and rice.

Rita Chanfrau has the luxury of time to do what every would-be gourmet cook wants to do. She has organized her recipes.

Recently, we took a peek into one of her kitchen cabinets and found several bookshelves devoted to three-ring binders. On the spine of each was the category of recipes inside — cakes, pasta, hors d’oeuvres — while nearby lay a pile of clipped recipes waiting for the next filing session.

In addition, Rita has indexed and cross-referenced each recipe into a general file so she can find what she needs in an instant. She claims that her organizational skills come from the fact that she did not start cooking until she decided to leave a very busy career as sales director for a company in Lima, Peru. That left her with a lot of free time on her hands. Going from a routine that put her in Peru for two weeks, the United States for a week and Europe for a week each month to a life that was no faster than a snail’s pace gave her ample opportunity to think of what was important to her and her husband, Steve Layton.

Read the entire article in the Summer 2005 issue