It is said that natives of the Dominican Republic, located on the eastern side of the Hispaniola Island are Afro-Caribbean, but we should be called Blended-Caribbean because we are descendants of a blend of European, especially Spaniards, Africans and also Taíno Indians (very small percentage)! Oh no, we cannot deny our European or Indian heritage!!
Well, due to the above, we have a mixed culture, manifested in our daily life and customs, making us what we are, special creatures, who like to enjoy life and overcome difficulties with courage and expectation for better times to come.
Let us share a daily routine of a typical Dominican household living in towns and countryside in the Dominican Republic.
But First Coffee!
These families go early to bed and wake up early too! As soon as the housewife gets out of bed, she will immediately prepare delicious black Dominican coffee; if it’s in the countryside, most probably, it will be grained coffee filtered/strained thru a cloth in an aluminum pot and served in similar cups! If she smokes, then a cigarette or a tobacco will be lit up and enjoyed with the coffee!
The preparation of the breakfast starts when the green plantains are peeled and put to boil while waking up her family to prepare themselves for work or for school.
Breakfast will normally consist of boiled and mashed green plantains with fried eggs and/or fried salami, there might be eventually a treat of fried onions or white cheese and juice or milk. Hot chocolate with bread is also a common breakfast in the Dominican Republic.
Once the family has left the house, the housewife starts thinking and checking what she has and what she needs to cook the midday meal, which has to be ready by noon!! Most of our women have to stretch the money they receive from their husband to make ends meet and buy the necessary things at a “colmado” or at the market to cook the traditional Dominican midday meal called “la Bandera Dominicana” or “the Dominican flag”!
“Colmados” are food stores with a variety of basic household items, such as rice, beans, sugar, tomato sauce, seasonings, milk, plantains, bread, salt, soap, etc., normally much more expensive than supermarkets.
Cooking starts at approx. 9 - 10 o’clock in the morning: the red beans are put to boil and usually a chicken, which is the most affordable meat, is cut, washed and seasoned! Between these processes, the house is cleaned (not deep cleaned), some laundry is done, an updating chat with friends or family by phone or with neighbors is almost a must!
The Dominican Republic can boast of having excellent communication facilities; mostly everybody around the island has a cell phone.
By 11 o’clock rice pot is placed on the stove with water, salt, a bit of frying oil and the chicken begins its cooking process; lettuce, tomato and cucumber are washed and salad prepared. By now they have also seasoned the red beans, the rice is cooking; ripe plantain or sweet potato is cut in slices or some dough of corn or cassava made, to start frying and when the clock strikes 12, done, this menu called “Dominican Flag” or “bandera Dominicana” is ready to be served and eaten. It is customary to share a dish of the cooked food with a neighbor or close by living family!!
After dishwashing and cleaning the kitchen, they take a break with a nap, watching soap operas, or just taking it easy to get ready for the next obligations.
Around 5 - 6 pm, begins the preparation for the dinner, which most of the time consists of boiled green or ripe plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes or any other root vegetables, which will be served again with scrambled or fried eggs, salami or white cheese. Also, red sauce spaghetti or bread with hot chocolate drink are favorite dinner food!!
After dishes have been washed and kitchen cleaned, as part of their daily customs, to end their day, chairs are taken in front of the house to exchange with their neighbors/friends some hot gossips, the good and bad news heard on the radio or read in the newspapers; while others, will not miss a chapter of their favorite soap opera and take a seat in front of a TV! Between 8 and 9 pm, everybody starts getting ready to go to bed, doors are closed, lights are turned off and Morpheus does his job!!
Pictures by: @keirodr @almontejulissa