Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook

Magazine article Foreign Affairs

Recent Books: Western Hemisphere: The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook

Article excerpt

The Versailles Restaurant Cookbook BY ANA QUINCOCES AND NICOLE VALLS. University Press of Florida, 2014, 192 pp.

To understand the influence of political strife on the recipes and ingredients in people's ever-changing dining habits, academics now study "conflict cuisine." Founded by Cuban immigrants in 1971 in Miami's Little Havana neighborhood, the restaurant Versailles embodied conflict cuisine before the term became trendy. Like its namesake, Versailles is an elegant icon of an upended ancien régime, mixing nostalgia for a lost homeland with kitsch decor that recalls a style of 1950s Miami. For decades, Cuban Americans have gathered at the restaurant to plot their revenge against the man who stole their birthrights, Fidel Castro. No paladar (privately owned restaurant) in Cuba can match Versailles' seating capacity of 400, as the Cuban government places a tight limit of 50 chairs on such establishments. …

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