Teresita Román de Zurek

Teresita Román de Zurek

Teresita Román de Zurek is a Colombian writer and chef. She was born in Cartagena, Colombia on December 29, 1925.


Colombian Red Cross

Teresita Román began working at the Colombian Red Cross in the Department of Bolivar in the mid 1960's. She founded the association of "Damas Grises" and was regional president of the institution from 1992 until the year 2000. After that she was named Honorary National President.


In 1963, she published the first edition of "Cartagena de Indias en la Olla", her very first cookbook which now has been published in more than 36 editions, both in Spanish and English. Cartagena de Indias en la Olla has been recognized with numerous awards all over the country and in the United States. In 1998 she publishes "Mis Postres", a small cookbook entirely dedicated to desserts, almost entirely to chocolate. In 2004, she receives a distinction from the Popayan Cooking Festival for her work to preserve the native cuisine of Cartagena.Teresita Román de Zurek also belongs to the internationally renowned Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.

Public Life

All throughout her life she has been awarded numerous prizes, both for her enormous contribution to Colombian culture and its preservation, as for her active public life which has been dedicated to those who need it the most and for the preservation of Colombia's most valuable treasure: the city of Cartagena. In 2006 she was named Honorary Mayor of the City of Cartagena de Indias.

Casa Museo Rafael Núñez

The Fundación Casa Museo del Cabrero, is the organization that works for the preservation of the legacy of Colombian President Rafael Nuñez. It was founded by the late historian Eduardo Lemaitre and after his decease this work was carried on by Teresita Román de Zurek. The House of Rafael Nuñez is located in the Cabrero neighborhood in Cartagena.

Writings regarding her life

"If Willy is the unofficial mayor of Cartagena's streets, then Teresita Román de Zurek presides over the life behind its gates. She is one of the city's grandes dames, the matriarch of its most prominent family, and Cartagena's honorary mayor—a title given her for her many civic contributions, including a best-selling cookbook on the local cuisine, and her leadership in returning horse-drawn carriages to the city center. (A friend of mine correctly points out that the horses' canter on the pavement sounds like Cartagena-Cartagena-Cartagena.)

Teresita lives behind the gates of Casa Román, possibly Cartagena's most famous private home. It's an extravagant nineteenth-century Moorish fantasy whose arched windows are copied directly from the Alhambra. The house is built around a tiled courtyard, and doors lead to sitting rooms and bedrooms. Teresita was born in this house some eighty years ago (it seems rude to ask the precise date). She is a handsome, stately woman with well-coiffed reddish-brown hair. Her earrings are two large hunks of lapis lazuli. Teresita comes from a family of famous chemists who emigrated from Spain in the early nineteenth century. The first Román in South America washed up near Cartagena's beach after his Lima-bound ship went down. Despite this inauspicious beginning, the Románs have held positions of prominence in the city for almost two hundred years. A nephew is the former mayor. Her father invented Kola Román, an electric-pink soda popular throughout the region. Her cookbook features a number of recipes that use Kola Román imaginatively, including plantains marinated in Kola Román and Kola Román fruit cocktail. As Teresita is telling me about her recipes, her maid offers me an ice-cream soda made with Kola Román. It tastes like bubble gum.

Above all, Teresita is known and loved for her collection of 1,470 dolls (reportedly the largest in Colombia) representing the nations of the world. She began the collection in 1948 with a Romería del Rocío baby doll in a frilly linen skirt. One of her most recent acquisitions is a Shakira doll, which stands in a prominent place in the Colombian group. Teresita keeps her collection in glass displays that fill a corner room in Casa Román. When I visited, three assistants were busy labeling, cataloguing, and cleaning the dolls.

If Teresita Román de Zurek sounds like a character out of a Gabriel García Márquez novel, it's because she is. Several years ago, Gabo, as everyone around here calls him, published a book of short selections from his many novels and stories accompanied by photos of the people who had inspired characters in his work. There's a picture of Teresita in her drawing room with dozens of broken plates on the floor. Behind her is a collection of Napoleon-era ladies' fans—a gift from a suitor when she was a girl, Teresita tells me. She sent him packing but kept the fans. Teresita's nephew Antonio de Pombo Román tells me that García Márquez didn't invent magical realism. He just looked around and wrote everything down." Taken from: "EBERSHOFF, David. SLEEPING BEAUTY. Condé Nast Traveler Magazine, March 2007"

ee also

*Colombian cuisine
* [http://www.concierge.com:80/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=10622&print=true]


* ROMÁN DE ZUREK,Teresita. Cartagena de Indias en la Olla. Ediciones Gamma 2006, Bogotá.
* http://www.cartagenacaribe.com/cultura/cocina.htm
* http://www.univision.com/content/content.jhtml?cid=768468
* http://www.ocexcelsior.com/mi_cocina/0715/0715_mi_cocina_er_sancocho.shtml
* http://www.concierge.com/cntraveler/articles/detail?articleId=10622&pageNumber=5
* http://www.alcaldiadecartagena.gov.co

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