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The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers

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by Andrew T. Huse, Bárbara C. Cruz, and Jeff Houck
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For those who have not had the pleasure, a Cuban sandwich consists of ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard layered on a short, split loaf of bread which is then buttered and pressed until toasty. Whether there are any additions to that mix is a matter of controversy.

Just where the sandwich originated and when are the subject of this exploration by three Florida-based authors, who begin with the emergence in the mid-nineteenth century of Cuban national identity born, in part, from the coalescence of the idea of a distinctly Cuban cuisine or comida criolla. 

The long arm of American interventionism dominated much of Cuban history for more than a century, and Cubans became a part of American life in Florida and elsewhere. Key elements of the sandwich began to assume a particular identity in the US long before the Cuban Revolution of 1959, and the process accelerated with the exodus of Cubans to the US as Fidel Castro consolidated his power.

The Cuban Sandwich is in some ways as much a celebration as a history, and the book highlights bread bakeries, meat packers, and restaurants in Florida and elsewhere which have long associations with the sandwich, as well as contemporary chefs who have reinterpreted it.

Andrew T. Huse is curator of Florida Studies at South Florida Libraries; Bárbara C. Cruz is professor of social science education at the University of South Florida; Jeff Houck is vice president of marketing for a Florida restaurant group featured in the book and a former writer for the Tampa Tribune.

Paperback. Color and black-and-white photos throughout.


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