Fi2W on the Radio: The dessert with roots in the Dominican Republic that I will not give up

Listen to Katherine Hernandez’s story on PRI’s The World

When Adriano Manen Campusano was a child, he remembers going out to el campo – the countryside – to pick lima beans and sugarcane from the fields around his hometown of Villa Altagracia in the Dominican Republic. He was then asked to get milk from the family cows and vanilla, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg from the market. This was all in preparation for his mother’s famous habas con dulce–  a stewed bean dessert traditionally prepared for Good Friday.

At 83-years of age he’s still making this dessert, even though he long-ago left the town and his home country. While the tradition of this recipe continues in the Campusano family, the dessert is almost forgotten in the Dominican Republic. Food historians say it’s disappearing; partly because it’s associated with lower income people and seen as a dish of the past.

But reporter Katherine Hernandez is determined to learn how to make habas con dulce from her grandfather Adriano, so that she can keep this Good Friday tradition alive for years to come. Katherine told her family’s story on PRI’s The World. 

Habas con Dulce served with cassava bread; photo: Katherine Hernandez

Katherine developed this story as part of her food journalism fellowship at Feet in 2 Worlds. The fellowship is supported by The Culinary Trust, whose mission is to give culinary professionals the tools and opportunities to understand and act on critical issues in the world of food, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. Together, Feet in 2 Worlds and The Culinary Trust help emerging voices tell important food stories from immigrant communities.

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, the J.M. Kaplan Fund, an anonymous donor and readers like you.

AboutKatherine Hernandez
Katherine Hernandez is an Afro-Latina writer and educator based in Brooklyn, New York. In culinary school, she won a scholarship from the Hispanic Association for Colleges and Universities to develop a culinary portfolio alongside an award-winning pastry chef. She also studied food history, culture, and media in Italy. Katherine recently earned a B.A. in Food Journalism through the CUNY Baccalaureate for Interdisciplinary Studies program. Her work has been featured on Harlem Focus, Edible Manhattan and Feet in 2 Worlds. She is currently a Food in 2 Worlds food journalism fellow and a community chef instructor that advocates for healthy food habits in low-income communities.