Tampa City Council passed a resolution Thursday making the Cuban the city’s official sandwich.
What’s a Cuban?
It’s a sandwich made of the combination of ham, mojo pork, Genoa salami, Swiss cheese, yellow mustard and dill pickle slices stuffed between two slices crunchy crispy Cuban bread.
The salami with the little black peppercorns embedded in the meat made its way between the slices of bread as a gesture to the stone-cutters from southern Italy who settled in Ybor City along with the Spanish and the Cubans.
The Tampa-born cubano is more than a sandwich. It’s a history lesson in every bite.
The reason it doesn’t have mayonnaise?
Because before refrigeration and air conditioning were in Tampa homes in the early days, mustard was the non-spoiling condiment of choice.
The Germans who migrated to Tampa to work in the cigar factories in the 1890s liked that flavor.
The reason the sandwich is pressed flat as a board?
Because Ybor City bricklayers found that a hot brick placed on top made the bread taste a whole lot better after it was caramelized.
And it’s the bread that makes the sandwich so special.