With you bread and onion, forever

With you bread and onion, forever

Theatre & Performing Arts

By Irene Ferrer

Such a simple phrase, such as “with you, bread and onion”, from the popular heritage, contains messages of universal significance and has been a source of inspiration for creators from different times.

The expression of everyday language, of Castilian origin, reflects the will to love and live with the loved one "in hard times and in mature times", that is, beyond material possibilities, both in happiness and in misfortune.

In difficult historical circumstances, onions have been a symbol of poverty, when it was the only or fundamental element of a nutritional diet. Evidence of this are the verses of the "Lullaby of the onion", by Miguel Hernández (1910-1942), dedicated to his son: The onion is frosted / closed and poor. / Frost of your days / and of my nights. / Hunger and onion, / black ice and frost / large and round, wrote the great poet from Orihuela, imprisoned in the Alicante prison as a result of the Spanish Civil War, in times of the Second World War.

Among the works inspired by this saying and with this same title, a theater piece from 1833 by the Mexican Manuel Eduardo de Gorostiza (1789-1851), premiered in Madrid and Mexico City that same year.

Also in a comedy tone, “With you bread and onion” names one of the anthological stagings of Cuban theater, authored by Héctor Quintero, a versatile artist with extensive work on stage, television and radio ... National Theater Award 2004.

The play, written in 1962 and released in 1964, deals with the purchase of a refrigerator by a lower-middle-class family at the end of the 1950s, and exposes family situations and conflicts, in the midst of which the protagonist defends her cape and sword loyalty and family survival. With good creole humor, proverbial in Cubans to face the most dissimilar difficulties, "With you bread and onion" reflects values ​​that are still valid today.