What is Ajiaco?

According to  Don Fernando Ortiz: “… it´s the most typical and complex  stew , made of different kinds of legume , here called "viandas" (viands) , and different meat pieces , everything is cooked  in boiling water until it turns thick and succulent. Then it is seasoned with the Cuban pepper to which it owns the name."

El ajiaco was the typical stew of our indigenous people called Tainos, as well as the typical food of any indigenous people that changed from an extractive and nomad economy to a sedentary and agricultural one and learned how to cook foods in a pot at fire.

Stew like this have also ben known by all peoples with different eating habits depending on their specific ecology and they are preserved as suvivors of the remote agricultural life. An example of this is the so called Spanish stew in Europe , which is known in French as  pot-pourn , other examples are the cocido potaje (the pottage) , sancocho, half - boliled meat , minestra etc. That  only and primitive course of the cave cuisine consisted of a pot with boiling water over the fireplace, many vegetables, roots and herbs grown by women in smallholdings were added to this pot, depending on the seasons . Meats of any kind of vermin were also added four-leggs , birds, reptiles, fish and seafood got by the man in his hunts along the woods and coast.
Anything edible went to the pot , dirty and sometimes rotten meat , vegetables unpeeled which sometimes had even worms, which were thought to make the food more substantial . Everything was cooked together and everything was seasoned with a lot of pepper , which covered up all the distastes with  its exciting spice. Only what was going to be eaten could be taken out of the pot each time , the leftlovers remained for the next dinner. Just like nowadays in Cuba we enjoy frijoles dormidos (slept beans) left from one meal for the next day , that´s what people did with the original stew : it was always a slept stew .
The next day , ajiaco was ready for new cooking water , other viands and animals were added and it was boiled again with more pepper . Just like that , day after day , the pot remained uncleansed with many ruined ingredients at the botton forming a thick soup .Nowadays  , our Ajiaco its a kind of analogue  stew , but much cleaner , better seasoned and less spicy , which makes it traditional and unique .

The Cuban people is an Ajiaco . Let´s follow the metaphor , first of all an open pot , that´s Cuba, the island is the pot at the fire of the tropics, painted in fire art by Massip .It´s a peculiar pot the one of our land , like the one of our Ajiaco, which should be open and made of mud .