If you’ve ever been to sunny Florida, you know the state is filled with beautiful beaches, warm weather year-round, and amusement parks — a tropical destination families from all over the world can enjoy.
But Florida is much more than your next summer vacation. The streets of Florida are filled with rich history, culture, and, you guessed it, cuisine. What makes it so unique is its melting pot of flavors and different dishes due to its heavy population of immigrants.
With that being said, it comes as no surprise that certain foods have gained popularity and have become a staple in many kitchens.
For example, you can go to just about any restaurant or deli section in the south and central Florida and have the option of eating a delicious Cuban sandwich.
But what exactly is the history of the Cuban sandwich?
Taino Tribe from Cuba
While it is difficult to trace the exact origin of the Cuban sandwich, it is believed to have been created around 500 years ago by the Taino tribe in Cuba. The Taino tribe would use bird and fish meat and casabe to create this meal.
The introduction of pork and ham, which is one of the key ingredients this meal is known for today, came once the Spaniards arrived on the island.
Rivalry Between Tampa and Miami
As previously mentioned, while the Cuban sandwich is believed to have originated in Cuba, it is extremely popular in parts of Florida, such as Miami and Tampa. When Cuban tobacco piqued the interest of Floridians, Cubans began to move to Florida. As a result, they started making their sandwich to make it through the long work days. Due to factors such as acculturation, the recipe started being modified into the version we have all eaten in current times.
The rivalry about where the Cuban sandwich was first introduced in Florida is subject to much debate. Those from Tampa attribute the creation of this “new” Cuban sandwich to their city, as Cubans settled there first before Miami.
However, those from Miami attribute themselves to the ones who created the sandwich, mainly since Tampa’s version contains salami. As Miami is such a large city with such a heavy population of Cubans, people often see the salami in the Tampa version as a modification of an original recipe.
Clearly, the Cuban sandwich has a long and vast history that is the subject of much debate.
At this point, you’re probably wondering how to make a delicious Cuban sandwich for your next meal. Well, look no further as we have the perfect recipe for you.
- Split the loaf and spread with mustard and mayonnaise.
- Layer the remaining ingredients and top with the other half of the bread. Lightly butter the OUTSIDE of the bread and wrap the sandwich in aluminum foil.
- Place on a skillet over low heat. Squish it with a heavier skillet on top of the wrapped sandwich and keep it there for a minute or two. Flip over and repeat for another minute or two. Unwrap and eat.
- Enjoy with shoestring potatoes or the chips of your choice.