Who’s blogging: My name is Marta Darby, and I’m a Cuban-American homeschooling, scrapbooking, creative-type mother of four.
I was born in Cuba, and my family came to America in the early 60’s. My stories on My Big Fat Cuban Family are about growing up Cuban and learning to assimilate into American culture and life. I live my life on the Cuban-American hyphen. 100% Cuban and 100% American. And I always wear red lipstick.
Explain your blog name: I’m the youngest of six, and for as long as I can remember my life has been filled with family: parents, sisters, brother, cousins, aunts, uncles, children of assorted ages. My sisters and I all live close to each other and are constantly in each other’s lives. We celebrate holidays, birthdays, Tuesdays, weekends. Anything is an excuse to get together. My mother is 98 years old and is still a daily presence in my life. The Cuban community here in the U.S. is very family-oriented, and I instantly feel at home with other Cubans. I guess you could say that Cubans everywhere are part of my big, fat Cuban family.
Blogging since: I’ve been blogging since 2006. I was homeschooling my two youngest children (who are now 19 and 16), and we were doing lots of fun things together. I felt like I wanted to start documenting some of these fun moments for my own scrapbooks. Also, it felt kind of odd to be one of the few Cubans in my area code, and some of the things we did and the food we loved was very idiosyncratic to our culture. I started writing about it all and found lots of kindred spirits across the country.
Blogging from: I live in Mission Viejo, California in a little house with a white picket fence. We are the midway point between Los Angeles and San Diego in the heart of Orange County.
Most popular post: I came up with a recipe for making pastelitos de guayaba (guava pastries) at home. If you know Cubans, you know we are crazy for pastelitos. Living far away from centers of Cuban culture forces me to improvise my Cuban cooking. The pastelito recipe post was an instant hit. I’m still constantly getting emails about how what a game-changer that recipe is.
What you’ve learned about food while blogging: I’ve learned that food is the universal language. It unifies us. It’s the one thing we all have in common. I’ve learned that food has the power to evoke strong emotions and memories. Food has the power to telegraph love. When you ask anyone about their favorite way of being comforted, they don’t hesitate to describe a favorite food.
Where do you get inspiration for your posts? I am inspired to write as I go about my everyday life. I just make observations about ordinary and everyday occurrences. I respond to the things and happenings around me. I am also very nostalgic, and I love to make connections between my life as a Cuban refugee child and my family’s present reality. Also, I often crave the foods I grew up with, so I’ve tweaked some of those recipes to be recreated in the modern kitchen. Think crockpot without sacrificing flavor. I’m quite proud of that.
What have you learned from blogging? I’ve been blogging now for almost 6 years. I’ve learned that strangers can quickly become friends when you share a story that touches them. I’m not alone in my funny little Cuban-American life. I’ve become quite passionate in my storytelling. I feel I’m adding an important link between my grandmother’s generation and my kids’ lives.
Where else can we find you online? I am a co-founder of the fabulous TikiTiki Blog with my good friend, Carrie Ferguson-Weir. I’m also the resident cook on Babalú Blog. I am active on Twitter as @Smrtqbn and have a wonderfully fun and active Facebook Fan Page.
What are your favorite food blogs? Vianney Rodriguez makes me want to live in Texas with her blog, and Ericka Sanchez is quite impressive in the kitchen. I also love Bren Herrera, a genius when it comes to all things flan and Nicole Presley over at Presley’s Pantry is an amazingly diverse cook.