New Book—”The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers”

The Cuban Sandwich: A History in Layers (University Press of Florida, 2022)—by Andrew Huse, Bárbara Cruz, and Jeff Houck—makes it clear the story of the Cuban sandwich is as nuanced as the flavors of the sandwich. They explore the historical roots of the sandwich, noting that versions of it appeared around the same time, at the turn of the 20th century, in various places, mostly enclaves of Cuban exiles, including Tampa, Key West, New Orleans, and New York City.

Luis Martínez-Fernández (author of Revolutionary Cuba: A History) writes, “Traces the complex and often contested history of the Cuban sandwich. Readers will be left craving the Cuban sandwich in its different variants.”

 Description: How did the Cuban sandwich become a symbol for a displaced people, win the hearts and bellies of America, and claim a spot on menus around the world? The odyssey of the Cubano begins with its hazy origins in the midnight cafés of Havana, from where it evolved into a dainty high-class hors d’oeuvre and eventually became a hearty street snack devoured by cigar factory workers. In The Cuban Sandwich, three devoted fans—Andrew Huse, Bárbara Cruz, and Jeff Houck—sort through improbable vintage recipes, sift gossip from Florida old-timers, and wade into the fearsome Tampa vs. Miami sandwich debate (is adding salami necessary or heresy?) to reveal the social history behind how this delicacy became a lunch-counter staple in the US and beyond.
The authors also interview artisans who’ve perfected the high arts of creating and combining expertly baked Cuban bread, sweet ham, savory roast pork, perfectly melted Swiss cheese, and tangy, crunchy pickles. Tips and expert insight for making Cuban sandwiches at home will have readers savoring the history behind each perfect bite.  
Andrew T. Huse is curator of Florida Studies at University of South Florida Libraries and the author of From Saloons to Steak Houses: A History of TampaBárbara C. Cruz is professor of social science education and codirector of the InsideART project at the University of South Florida. Jeff Houck is vice president of marketing for the Columbia Restaurant Group and previously worked as food editor, writer, and blogger for the Tampa Tribune.

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