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Marta M. Darby
Mission Viejo, CA
I'm Marta. Blogger. Mother. Documentor of Life. Cooker of Cuban Food. Wearer of Red Lipstick.
Interests: Writing, making art, gardening, homeschooling, cooking, scrapbooking, graphic design, photography and all things Cuban.
Recent Activity
Hi Michelle, I'm so glad you like it! My frame shop does something called "plaque-ing." It's mounted directly on a hardwood board. The 16x20 size is a standard frame size. My daughter got a sweet black poster frame at IKEA for a very reasonable price. xo, Marta
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I'm super excited to share this with you today. So, you know that I have that fabulous Cuban Food Poster that I designed last year. I've had such a great response from you that I decided to go ahead and create an Etsy shop (I know. Who am I?) to make it easier for you to buy as many as you want. For those of you who don't know, Etsy is THE place to shop online for some of the coolest handmade, homegrown, fabulously designed stuff on the web. And look! Here I am! And because of this auspicious occasion, I've listed my 16 x 20 Cuban Food Poster (which, I know you've totally been wanting) at a discounted price just in time for Christmas. It's only $21.00 this week. Just in time for you to get one for every single person in your big, fat, Cuban family to open... Continue reading
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A few weeks ago Eric and I had the good fortune to enjoy a pre-screening of the newest Disney Animation film, Big Hero 6. Because we live a few area codes away from Burbank, where the Walt Disney Animation Studio is located, we turned it into a Road Trip/Date Night. First of all, let me say that I had no preconception of the movie, nor did I quite get the extent of the plot from watching the trailers. I knew it was about a young braniac teen named Hiro and a big, fluffy, inflatable robot named Baymax. Truthfully, I couldn't conceive how they could construct a compelling story around these two unlikely "heroes." As soon as the story begins to unfold in the streets of San Fransokyo, every one of my emotions was immediately engaged. The animation (this goes without saying) was beautiful detailed amazing. This is my entire problem... Continue reading
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Last year I had the privilege of attending an event at the Disney Animation Studio and I was overwhelmed by pretty much everything I saw and experienced. That was for Frozen. You would think, then, that I would not be very impressed with the idea of going back again to attend a press junket for Walt Disney Animation Studios' newest project Big Hero 6. You would be wrong. I was super-out-of-my-skin excited to receive the invitation to do a meet and greet and round table interviews with the producer, directors, and voice cast. And, of course, I got to visit the Walt Disney Animation Studios once again. (Pinch me.) The makings of a Disney animated film are intense and complex. I was quite surprised to learn that the voice talent had not actually met or worked together while the film was in production. They record their own dialogue in a... Continue reading
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I was having a conversation with my mom (Luza, who, by the way, is 100 years old) and I was telling her how weird it was to only have 1 of my kids left at home. Technically, even Jonathan is not here, because he's gone most of the time with school and auditions and driving to LA and rehearsals for the play he's in. So I find myself rethinking making meals. I'm so used to cooking for a crowd and now it's just me and Eric. Which is awesome. And completely weird to me. So I am telling this to Luza and she suddenly she asks, "Is your kitchen clean?" Which at first I thought was an issue with her synapses mis-firing again because that seems to happen more often lately. She's 100, after all. I thought she was changing the subject. "Yes, as a matter of fact, it is."... Continue reading
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Do you know what I love most about running a comment giveaway on my site? Well...your comments. Seriously, I love hearing about who the best cook in your house is and about your favorite foods to cook. That, and I have some cool things to give away. I wish all of you could win because this is such a beautiful cookbook. Or as we say in "good Cuban," Ana Sofia Peláez and Ellen Silverman, "You ATE it!"* NOTE: *This particular Cuban phrase loses everything in translation. "Te la comiste" means that you did an amazing job. See? Everything sounds better in Spanish. Congratulations to the winner: Beatriz Navia, you won! Please send me an email with "HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG!" in the subject line. Include your mailing address so I can send you your very own copy of The Cuban Table. You are so going to... Continue reading
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Last year I had the good fortune to participate in the Cuban Cultural Center of New York's (Centro Cultural Cubano de Nueva York) 12th Annual Congress. You can read about that right here. It was there that I met another one of the chefs involved in the event. Ana Sofia Peláez is the author of the very delicious food blog, hungry sofia. We shared a kitchen and chatted a bit as we made our own creations. That day she made Cucuruchos de Coco y Almendras for all of us (which were to die for!) and told the stories of how she had been traveling on a Cuban Food Adventure with the amazing food/travel photographer Ellen Silverman. Together, Ana Sofia and Ellen went to Cuba and Miami (of course) and New York where they visited both Cuban home cooks and accomplished chefs who eagerly shared their stories and recipes and secrets... Continue reading
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Have you ever seen those photos that people take of their kids in the exact same spot or with the exact same toy over lots of years? It's a wonderful way to mark the passage of time and show the child's growth and how they've changed and grown. You know I'm a big fan of then and now photos. I think they make me much more appreciative of the good times we've had, while also helping me be "in the moment." We have a tradition that we do every year where we take a vacation week down in Del Mar, California and go surfing (well, my husband and kids do the actual surfing while I sit on the beach and document the magic, but that's not important right now). We usually take the week that Lucy celebrates her birthday and Eric and I celebrate our anniversary. It was 5 years... Continue reading
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Okay, people. Can I just tell you that I love when you talk about Cuban food? My take-away when I read all your comments was, "Wow. We Cubans are passionate in our love for our food." That's really true, isn't it? Personally, there's something about the sublime blend of flavors in the almighty sofrito. The texture of a beautiful plantain. The variety of soups. The endless list of desserts. So much goodness to choose from. The food of our memories, our imaginations, and our abuelas' kitchen. And the memories of wonderful meals and events at Versailles? So many great stories about Cuban comfort food and celebrations. Thank you all for sharing. Sadly, I only have one autographed Versailles Restaurant Cookbook to give away. But, congratulations to the lucky winner! Irma, please send me an email with HEY, MARTA! I WON STUFF ON YOUR BLOG! in the subject line. Include your... Continue reading
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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... Continue reading
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I have a confession to make, I was not prepared to like this movie. But let me tell you why... If you read my post from yesterday, you know that Jonathan worked as a featured background guy on the new Disney movie, Alexander and the Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. And if you did read all about it, you know that I'm going to be completely insufferable, but that's not important right now. Movies are not made in a perfectly sequential order. You probably knew that, and I think I did, too, but I wasn't quite prepared with how jumpy and seemingly untethered the story appears as they are working on random scenes. Plus, they shoot scenes over and over and over which is how the director decides which "take" tells the story best. It makes very little sense to those of us in the peanut gallery. And, of... Continue reading
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Sit back. Get some popcorn. I have a wonderful "full circle" type story for you today. Jonathan worked on the film, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day last summer as a featued background actor. It started almost exactly a year ago when Jonathan decided he might like to give acting a shot. He signed up with a casting agency that specializes in background actors. Specifically kids. Because we homeschool and his high school classes were all online, there were no scheduling difficulties. He started working almost immediately as he was 17 and a few productions needed teenage background actors. I recall we were on vacation when I received the email asking if he was available to work for a few days in September on an upcoming Disney movie. Wait. WHAT? Disney had a film in production and they needed a few kids to work "featured" background."... Continue reading
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I had the absolute pleasure to attend the press junket last week for the newest Disney release, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. A day at the beautiful Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills? Yes, please. I had already seen (and immensely enjoyed) the film, so I was really looking forward to hearing what the actors had to say. There were 2 panels. The first being made up of the director, Miguel Arteta, the producers: Lisa Henson and Dan Levine, and the screenwriter, Rob Lieber. To my everlasting delight, director Miguel Arteta invoked the mighty name of John Hughes (let's observe a moment of silence, please) as his inspiration for the way the film unfolded. "Yes!" I thought, "That's exactly how I would've done it." (Of course, that's the way I would have done it in the alternate universe I inhabit where I am in charge... Continue reading
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I went through and read each and every one of your posts and I can't even tell you how happy you made me. So many of you I've had the pleasure to meet in person and I recall those times from reading your sweet comments. Thank you so much for your loyalty and love. I chose 3 winners for the poster giveaway. In case you don't know how I decide who wins, I go over to Random.org and plug in the number of entries into their True Random Number Generator. It's much quicker than putting all the names into a hat, but the end result is the same. These are today's winners, but stay tuned - I have another cool giveaway happening this coming weekend. (I'm a giver like that.) Also, if you want your own poster, ordering information is included below. Congratulations to the 3 winners: Please send me... Continue reading
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I sat down at my computer 8 years ago today and started crafting my very first blog post. I wasn't quite sure exactly who I was writing for, but I tentatively introduced myself and my family to cyber-space. I crossed my fingers and hoped that maybe somehow, some way, someone out there would read the stories about my extraordinarily ordinary life and maybe enjoy what I had to say. I was homeschooling both Lucy and Jonathan at the time and started over sharing about what our days were like. I reminisced about my childhood in Cuba. I posted photos. I told my tales of growing up Cuban and wondered if they were just going out into the ether. I decided early on to write to please myself. Not trying to sound self-serving here, but writing about my life and the things I care about is a very personal and vulnerable... Continue reading
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I know that all of us Cubans who left our homeland because of the communist revolution have a story. Many of the stories sound pretty much the same, but of course, the details are slightly different and oh-so-very personal. As I read over your comments on the last post, I could almost tangibly feel the pain and loss of each individual. It doesn't escape my notice that every single one of you remembers the exact date of your departure from Cuba. Some wounds never quite completely heal. Here are the stories I've collected so far: Cuando Sali de Cuba - stories of courage and hope. However, the gift of the film Cubamerican is that the stories that are told are of both loss and triumph. Having arrived here not knowing the customs or the language, we Cubans managed not just to survive, but to thrive. All the stories are fascinating... Continue reading
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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... Continue reading
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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 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... Continue reading
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I'm so happy to announce that Cubamerican the Movie, that has been a huge hit with Cuban audiences all over the country is now coming to Miami TV. I'm proud and very excited to share the details with you. I've been gushing about this film since the first time I saw it, but that's not important right now. To all my Miami friends, you won't want to miss this! The Miami TV premier for the Cubamerican movie is tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 4th, 2014 at 8pm on WPBT2. Here is the link to director Jose Enrique Pardo's interview on the Maria Elvira Salazar show on Mira TV. He comes on at the 39:56 mark. Note the time and station and set your DVR's. It's time to make history, people! (Get tissues.) Also, you're welcome. Continue reading
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My four kids have always been in super different places in life, which has always kept our lives interesting. I remember when Amy Kikita started college. It was the same year Jonathan started Kindergarten. Yeah. Kindergarten and college. With Lucy in grammar school and Adam in high school there was never a dull moment around here. Change is inevitable. Kids grow. They go out into the world to find their fortunes. They meet other people. They make new friends. They have adventures. They find their way in the world and add different kinds of cares (good and bad) into our lives as parents. So I mark the passage of time as I always have, by the ages and activities of my children. Eric and I find ourselves navigating some challenges that we hadn't experienced before. But that's what keeps life exciting, right? And, yes, our kids have always been in... Continue reading
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The 2nd Annual Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium has come and gone and it was, by all accounts, a huge success. I'm still a little overwhelmed by all the fabulousness and fun of celebrating baseball and Cubanity(<--it's a word, right?) with my people. And it was the hottest stinking day of the summer in LA, so, if this is a little incoherent, please forgive me ahead of time. Still recovering from the heat. Picture this: Cuban music playing (loudly) from the stage. Once a song starts, the smile of recognition quickly spreads across the faces. When the music plays, we must dance. It's in our Cuban DNA. We seriously can't help it. We spontaneously begin dancing with, and next to, and behind, and in front of whoever happens to be there. I so loved that. Although many wore their tried and true Dodger Blue, many of us showed off... Continue reading
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As I'm writing this, I have "Take me out to the ballgame" playing in a loop in my head. I am anticipating the excitement of arriving at Chavez Ravine for the big day on Sunday. From last year, I remember the awesome pre-game Viva Los Doyers party with the Charanga Cubana playing classic Cuban music. I loved being surrounded by all my Cuban people as they came to enjoy the music, the game, and especially the "Cubania." I can't wait to find our seats inside Dodger Stadium. I love looking around and seeing a sea of Dodger blue shirts. I'm so excited that one lucky MBFCF reader will join me and my family and all the rest of the Cubanity on Sunday, August 17th to cheer on our boys in blue (and expecially our home boy, Yasiel Puig.) Congratulations to Daniel Swaby! He won this fantastic Dodger Gift Pack and... Continue reading
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We're super excited to be a part of Cuban Heritage Day at Dodger Stadium again this year. And the Dodgers are super excited to host all of us loud, fanatical Cuban baseball fans. From the Dodgers site: Our Cuban-themed Viva Los Dodgers festival will begin 2 hours prior to first pitch, and fans can enjoy festive live music including performances by Alfredo Rodriguez and Charanga Cubana, player autographs and various activities. Admission to Viva Los Dodgers is free with a paid ticket to the game. First, the details: The game is against the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, August 17th, at 1:00 o'clock PM. If you haven't already, you can still get tickets at the Los Angeles Dodgers Site. Then, you need to get your t-shirts, of course from Habana Brand Clothing so that you can appropriately represent. But the best part is today's giveaway... Sponsored by the Los Angeles Dodgers... Continue reading
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"You have to see this movie." I love conversations that begin this way. With a command. That means my friend, who knows me intimately, has something to share that I would love. And, in this case, MUST SEE. Further explanation comes: "It's got salsa music and Cuban food. You have to see this movie." There's an urgent tone in her voice. The movie in question is called "Chef" and is the brainchild of accomplished director and actor, Jon Favreau. My salsa-dancing-Cuban-food-loving friend, Rosabelle dragged me to see it. I was not disappointed. In fact, I caught her urgent tone. Why hadn't I heard of this film? It's got a great plot, hilarious moments, clever storyline, wonderful acting. And Cubanos. This synopsis from IMDB: A chef who loses his restaurant job starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family.... Continue reading
Hi Armando! Next time you MUST find me and say hello! Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad I can bring a little bit of Cubania into your Central Cal life. xo, Marta
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