Does any sandwich fill the soul with joy quite like a Cuban? Probably not. In addition, most people will enjoy the tasty treat on a semi-frequent basis. Cuban Sandwich Day is the perfect time to show the humble yet heroic creation the love and attention it deserves. And there’s a lot of reasons to love it.
In other words, the Cuban sandwich is truly one of those magical foods that is enjoyed by all walks of life. Unless you have a dietary restriction, of course! Whether it’s a budget-friendly lunchtime meal for laborers. It is also an evening treat for a business owner doesn’t matter. There’s never a bad time to enjoy the sandwich. Subsequently, there is a best time to appreciate it, and that’s Cuban Sandwich Day.
Want to know more? Let’s tuck in.
History of Cuban Sandwich Day
Cuban Sandwich Day is a day to celebrate the traditional pressed food and its many variants. Which have spread from Tampa, Florida’s Ybor City neighborhood to restaurant menus in all corners of the world.
The Cuban sandwich is history pressed between two pieces of bread. Perhaps no other food represents the United States’ history as a melting pot. This combines elements from three different immigrant groups that came together in the deep south. Above all, it’s delicious!
A traditional Cuban sandwich consists of: ham, mojo pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard, and dill pickle slices on crispy Cuban bread. All heated in a press, though the Day celebrates all variations.
Cuban sandwich fun fact
While an early cousin of the Cuban sandwich was born in Cuba proper. The Cuban sandwich as we know it today originated in Tampa, Florida. Ybor City is a cigar-producing neighborhood of Tampa. In the late 1800s and caught on by the early 1900s. It was popular among workers in the district’s many cigar factories. Then known as Cigar City, the “cigar capital of the world”.
The name “Cuban” is after the Cuban immigrants who settled in early Ybor City and influenced the sandwich the most. Similarly the ingredients are also a nod to the southern Italian bricklayers and the German cigar workers who also immigrated there. Salami is added via the Italian bricklayers. Above all, they found that find placing a hot brick on top of the sandwich for a few minutes pressed it flat. It also made it taste better. Mustard was a condiment and flavor preferred by the Germans.
It also didn’t spoil in the Florida heat. That’s why traditionally, there’s no mayonnaise. Refrigeration was scarce in tropical Tampa in the early 20th century.
History of Cuban Sandwich Day
The Cuban sandwich itself has a rich history that dates back to the 19th century. The beautifully brilliant sandwich continues to witness evolution in many different forms. Cuban Sandwich Day is a far more contemporary idea. The event launched in 2016 as a joke by Christopher Spata of the Tampa Bay Times. He wanted to see how many news agencies would run with the story of a fictional food celebration.
It turns out that the answer was quite a lot. It’s not that shocking really given that the “prank” wasn’t actually funny. Still, fans of the sandwich from around the globe can thank Spata’s idea for what has quickly turned into a widely celebrated annual event. The Cuban Sandwich Day has found its way to followers from around the globe and is on a trajectory to gain thousands of new fans each year.
Cuban Sandwich Day actually follows the success of another event that is held in Tampa every year since 2012: the Cuban Sandwich Festival. The food festival was organized by Victor Padilla and Jolie Gonzalez-Padilla. They host a competition between local vendors and restaurants to name the Best Cuban Sandwich of the Year. In its inaugural event, the organizers also built the World’s Longest Cuban Sandwich.
A number of neighborhoods in the regions synonymous with Cuban sandwiches have held public celebrations. While restaurants and cafes are naturally very quick to embrace the fun. However, thanks to online viral content, the annual honoring of the firm foodie’s favorite has reached many new audiences in its first half-a-decade.
How to celebrate
Cuban Sandwich Day is focused primarily on the stunning simplicity and tremendous tastes of the sandwich. Nobody participating in the day really needs to ask “how can I celebrate it?”. The answer is obvious: eat one, or two.
There are no rules or regulations on how the sandwich is eaten. However, participants that ordinarily enjoy this type of sandwich on a regular basis can take their enjoyment to the next level by investing in better ingredients. The beauty of a Cuban on a daily basis is that it tastes great even with budget ingredients. The sandwich is quick to assemble. However, premium meats and cheeses combined with a few extra minutes of preparation can truly unlock a new taste sensation.
Cook this in the dutch oven for optimal results. Vegans, vegetarians, or dairy intolerant participants can look for alternative recipes. Meanwhile, the celebrations for German, Italian, Cuban, and American history and influences from the 19th century until the modern day can be enjoyed too. Ultimately, Cuban Sandwich Day is an event that is best enjoyed with friends, family, and new acquaintances.
This could manifest itself by visiting a local public Cuban Sandwich Day event. Simply ordering the sandwich at a restaurant, or hosting a party at home or in the garden. Flags, bunting, face painting, and music from the different cultures associated with the sandwich are all great options.
There is no single right or wrong option, and it can be enjoyed for brunch, lunch, or tea. As long as the sandwich provides delicious tastes and warming comforts, Cuban Sandwich Day can be considered an enormous success.
For the perfect Cuban Sandwich, try:
- Start with 1lb pork shoulder (boneless)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1tbsp ground cumin
- 1tbsp dried oregano
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1/4tbsp dried red chili flakes
- 1 sliced medium onion
- A cup fresh OJ
- 1 lime, juiced
- A cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 long Cuban bread roll
- 3tbsp Dijon mustard
- 8 thin slices Swiss cheese
- 1 cup bread and butter pickles
- 8 thin slices deli ham
- A drizzle of olive oil