Traditional Cuban cuisine strongly relies on the Spanish sofrito. This consists of diced onions and green peppers, garlic, oregano and black pepper sautéed together to form a flavor base for many dishes.
Cuban cuisine largely consists of peasant food: quick, simple dishes prepared with care and using herbs and spices such as cumin, garlic and oregano. Meat and poultry are usually slow-cooked and derive much of their flavor from a citrus marinade using lime or orange. For breakfast, Cubans dip buttered toast in their coffee much like Americans do with donuts, and lunch often consists of Cubano sandwiches (ham, mustard and swiss cheese) or empanadas (savory turnovers with chicken or meat). Sides include vegetables such as yuca and plantains, which are often made into chips called mariquitas, as well as fried, breaded ham fingers called croquetas.
Dinner is the most lavish meal of the day, often consisting of a meat dish with sides of black beans, white rice and plantains. Salads with onions, tomatoes and avocados are also common. Desserts can include custards made from eggs and milk as well as sweetened rice pudding.
The ultimate Cuban indulgence, saved for holidays and special occasions, is an entire pig, marinated in garlic and orange juice and roasted whole over an open fire.