Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos


Cuban bread is a staple of the current Miami diet. Originating in 1896 and created by Francesco Ferlita, the bread quickly became popular amongst not only Cuban cigar workers of the time, but also with the Italian and Spanish. As a creation unique the the Miami-Tampa Bay area, the bread represents a blend between the many individual cultures of the area, combining a Sicilian creation with Cuban coffee and later, even Cuban sandwiches. Created with butter, lard, flour, yeast, sugar and salt, the bread takes a whole two and a half hours to make and comes out soft and shaped like another better known bread, the baguette and is used for many things, such as Cuban sandwiches and deviled crab.

Cuban sandwiches too are an American creation, having been invented at around the same time it's necessary ingredient, the Cuban bread was. Although not invented by a non-Cuban, the sandwich still represents a blending of cultures, having been created from the importing of not only Cuban immigrants and workers but also cooking. Created similarly to a ham and swiss sandwich, the Cuban consists of added pickles, mustard, added pork, and the famous Cuban bread, all toasted together. 

While the previous two foods have had vague pasts, being created in the exchange of ideas and cultures of America and Cuba, the deviled crab has it's history rooted in the 1920 Tampa cigar strikes. As the union workers starved, blue crabs were caught and incorporated with red-chili flakes that give the roll its name, and stale Cuban bread to combat hunger. Although the strikes ultimately were settled, with both union leaders and factory owners claiming victory and certainly no clear victor in sight, the deviled crab emerged from it a new food staple borne from necessity in the Miami-Tampa bay region.

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