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Power to the People

The Cuban economic miracle leads to some creative homemaking. The Wall Street Journal ($) reports:

As homemaking gurus go, 72-year-old Margarita Gálvez is no Martha Stewart.

Mrs. Gálvez writes articles, churns out recipes and
hosts coffee klatches for the Roman Catholic bishop’s office in the
western Cuban city of Pinar del Rio. But her skillet skills can’t get
too fancy in a socialist economy where monthly meat rations roughly
equal two hamburger patties. Beauty tips must be simple enough for a
country where even soap and hot water are scarce — and where the
average monthly wage is $17.

Because of such obstacles, Mrs. Gálvez may be the only
homemaking authority whose salad-dressing recipe is useful to
hairdressers as well as to cooks.

Mrs. Gálvez’s vinegar topping can serve, in a pinch,
as a hair conditioner. Her advice: save the water used to rinse dried
rice rations and add two spoonfuls of dark sugar. After letting the
mixture marinate for 45 days, you’ll have a vinegary liquid that will
perk up lettuce greens at the dinner table — or add sheen to hair
after shampooing.

This would be funny if it weren’t so tragic. Elian Gonzalez sure is lucky to be growing up in such a non-materialistic society.