Culture

The New York Times Sparked A War Over The Home Of The Cuban Sandwich And Here’s How People From Miami And Tampa Are Acting

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The Cuban sandwich is one of the most iconic foods in Latino culture and its history, while documented, is hotly contested. Both Miami and Tampa proudly claim to be the home of the Cuban sandwich everyone knows and loves today. The New York Times, maybe accidentally, reignited the debate over the Cuban sandwich’s home with their crossword puzzle and now there’s a war raging in Florida.

The New York Times asked crossword puzzle players to name the home of the Cuban sandwich.

Credit: @NYTimesWordplay / Twitter

While people consider Miami the home because of the well-known Cuban community, the answer was Tampa. Of course, Miamians got upset and took to Twitter to let the world know that they believe the Cuban sandwich is from Miami.

The City of Miami’s Twitter page decided to fire the first shot in the social media debate.

That’s a really big claim considering that the Cuban sandwich did not in fact start in Miami. Sorry about it, bro.

Obviously, the City of Tampa had to get involved to let Miami know that they are watching.

It is kind of satisfying to watch two Florida cities warring over who started the Cuban sandwich. While both claim to be the home of the Cuban sandwich, it is important to understand how the Cuban population moved within the state.

The City of Tampa even came through with an informative video showing how the Cuban sandwich shows the diversity of the Ybor neighborhood.

The video breaks down all of the ingredients in the Cuban sandwich and how they represent all of the communities that called Ybor City home. The melting pot of cultures led to an influx in various immigrants calling Ybor City home. Ybor City is a cigar manufacturing neighborhood built by Cuban, Spanish, and Italian immigrants.

Other Twitter users injected themselves into the debate.

Credit: @C47 / Twitter

Let’s go ahead and lay out one thing. Miami is not the home to the Cuban sandwich. The sooner we all accept that fact, the better our society will be. The Cuban sandwich first documented appearance was in Tampa in the 1880s in workers’ cafés. There was a migration of Cuban people to Tampa to work in the cigar industry.

A few people took a stand for Tampa as the home of the Cuban sandwich and they aren’t wrong.

Credit: @keith_browning / Twitter

Clearly, the first Cuban sandwich started in Cuba with the indigenous Taíno people. From there, it made its way to Florida because travel between Cuba and Florida was easy in the 1800s as the tobacco and cigar industry grew. Tampa became a major location for the cigar industry in the 1880s and it wasn’t long until the city was home to a large Cuban population.

People were really eager to make everyone know that Tampa is where the Cuban sandwich came from.

Credit: @Scottyyz / Twitter

As part of defending their city’s honor, some Twitter users have taken to dragging Miami. Miami might be the epicenter of all thing Cuban and Cuban-American now but that was not the case when the Cuban sandwich came to life. Believe it or not, there was a time in history when the larger Cuban community of Florida was in Tampa.

Yet, despite the facts, some people still claim that Tampa is not where the Cuban sandwich originated.

Credit: @MrBravoJr / Twitter

Miami is literally filled with Cuban sandwiches. You can’t go anywhere in that city without a chance to get your hands on a delicious and savory piece of Cuban history. However, quantity does not mean that Miami is the home and originator of the Cuban sandwich. That is a fact. We will even go so far to say that not even Tampa is the true home of the Cuban sandwich.

However, we’d like to bring one more city to the fight: Key West.

Credit: @CJintheKeys / Twitter

That’s right. Before Tampa became the destination for Cuban immigrants and workers, Key West was home to the cigar industry. Thousands of Cubans worked in Key West because it is the closest U.S. city to Cuba. As such, a lot of Cuban culture has made its way to the U.S. by way of Key West.

Basically, Tampa and Miami have had an ongoing feud over who created the Cuban sandwich when the real creator of the delicious meal has been Key West all along.

Key West might not have documented the existence of the Cuban sandwich but there is no doubt that the city brought the sandwich to the U.S. Much like the sloppy joe, Key West was a place where Cuban people and foods have entered the U.S. for centuries and has received little to no credit for its importance for the Cuban community.

The Cuban tobacco industry first made the jump from Cuba to the U.S. in Key West. The small city at the tip of the islands between the Florida mainland and Cuban is a humble one filled with historic and important moments in Cuban culinary history.

So, while The New York Times might have Miami and Tampa feuding, Key West is being the bigger city and quietly knowing they are the true home to the Cuban sandwich.

The sandwich, which was a fast and affordable lunch for tobacco workers, is one that has become a defining example of Cuban culture. No matter where you find a Cuban, there are six main ingredients to ensure the best recipe. It’s all about the bread, ham, roast pork, mustard, Swiss cheese, and pickles. You don’t have to know the history of the Cuban sandwich to enjoy it, but it helps.

READ: Check Out These Croqueta Recipes If You Need Some Good Cuban Comfort Food

The McDonalds Happy Meal Was Invented By A Latina And Here’s How It Got Started

Entertainment

The McDonalds Happy Meal Was Invented By A Latina And Here’s How It Got Started

David Paul Morris / Getty Images

Did you know that the first ever Happy Meal was created by a Latina? That’s right, in the mid-70s when Yolanda Fernández de Cofiño was operating various McDonalds in Guatemala, she invented what she dubbed the “Menu Ronald”. The “Menu Ronald”  was invented to help parents keep their kids satisfied when the family went out to eat. The original “Menu Ronald” included a hamburger, small fries and a small sundae. Naturally, word eventually got back to McDonald’s headquarters in Chicago they decided to adopt the practice as their own. They hired a white American man to develop the idea (and subsequently take credit for it) and voila! The Happy Meal was born.

It’s unfortunate that Fernández de Cofiño’s recognition has been lost to the American public, but it’s still inspiring to know that there were business-minded Latinx people in history whose achievements still impact our lives today. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’ve decided to celebrate the underrated Latina entrepreneur Yolanda Fernández de Cofiño for the marketing genius that she was. We’ve documented the evolution of Happy Meal toys from the idea’s inception and launch in the 1970s, to its continuing legacy today.

Take a look below for a nostalgic blast from the past!

1. 1979: The Very First Happy Meal

via Pinterest

Although the original concept of the Happy Meal was invented by Yolanda Fernández de Cofiño, the first official launch of the American Happy Meal happened in 1979. However, the gift wasn’t half as elaborate as it was now. According to records the toys were “a McDoodle stencil, a McWrist wallet, an ID bracelet, a puzzle lock, a spinning top or a McDonaldland character-shaped eraser”.

2. 1984: Ronald and The Gang

 thegoodtoyshop via Ebay

McDonalds Happy Meal toys evolved from spinning tops and erasers to more complex toys. Like, the above “Ronald and the Gang” wind-up cars that were defitenly a step-up from McDonald’s earlier toys. They weren’t as sophisticated as the toys would eventually get, though.

3. 1987: Mc-Transformers

Reddit User gnarrdan

The Transformers/McDonalds mashup was innovative in its day because it was blending the IP of two successful brands. Instead of McDonald’s using its Happy Meal to market other products, it was using its Happy Meal to market other products that were marketing McDonalds. It was a win-win situation.

4. 1988: McNuggets Buddies

EBAY USER MCJANTONE

In 1988, McDonalds hadn’t yet started to do marketing tie-ins with kids’ movies. Instead, they had prizes like “McNuggets Buddies”, which were chicken nuggets dressed in various outfits and costumes. This lasted until the mid-90s.

5. 1994: Sonic the Hedgehog

@NascaronReddit/Twitter

By the mid-90s, the powers-that-be recognized that there was a lucrative market to tap by using Happy Meals to advertise kid-oriented products directly to kids. It was around this time that the entertainment industry really began to see the potential for promoting movies and TV shows through fast-food chains. And if you look at the advertisement above, the Happy Meal only cost $1.99. Those were the days!

6. 1996: 101 Dalmatians

EBAY USER KINGDADDY50

Never the one to pass up an opportunity to advertise, Disney quickly hopped on board the McDonalds train as a means to promote their movies. One of the first Disney x Mcdonald’s ventures were the release of literally one-hundred-and-one collectible dalmatian figurines through their Happy Meals.

7. 1997: “Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection”

Youtube via FastFoodToyReviews

Off the success of their 101 Dalmatians toys, Disney and McDonalds continued their partnership by releasing tiny VHS boxes equipped with a a little toy character from the movie. People really began to see collecting fast food toys as a hobby around this time.

8. Mid-90s: “Teenie Babies”

EBAY User BDK84

Even McDonalds wasn’t immune to the Beanie Baby craze that swept the nation in the mid-90s. Convinced that they would one day be worth thousands, collectors flocked to the Golden Arches to get their hands on miniature versions of the popular plush toys. Unfortunately, most of the “Teenie Baby” toys aren’t worth anything these days.

9. 1997-Now: Barbies

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In 1997, McDonald’s started a lucrative partnership with the Barbie line of toys that would last until today. What young girl doesn’t have memories of getting this in their Happy Meal box (whether they liked it or not) while their brother got a Hot Wheels car? It’s safe to say the ’90s weren’t progressive, gender-wise.

10. 2004: Hello Kitty Keychains

Youtube via Lucky Penny Shop

Into the 2000s, McDonald’s took advantage of the Hello Kitty trend by offering plush Hello Kitty key chains in their Happy Meals.

11. 2015: Minion Fever

Ebay user BOB_THE_SPY

Do you remember the time when you couldn’t escape “Despicable Me” minion merchandising, no matter where you went? Well, that included McDonalds. Nowhere was safe.

This Glass Gem Corn Is Blowing Minds All Over Twitter Right Now And I Want Some ASAP

Culture

This Glass Gem Corn Is Blowing Minds All Over Twitter Right Now And I Want Some ASAP

While the Internet might call it “Ghey Corn,” this rainbow-colored corn variety is officially dubbed Glass Gem corn. Not only are there a rainbow of colorful kernels, but they’re also shiny, prompting the ‘Glass’ description. The person responsible for our new favorite, gay-friendly corn is a man by the name of Carl Barnes, who passed in 2016. Barnes enjoyed his life in Oklahoma and cultivated his own personal seed bank passed down from his Cherokee ancestors. Barnes chose to save and replant the seeds from the cobs with the most color, and eventually developed strains of vibrant corn.

One day, Barnes decided to move and asked his friend, Greg Schoen, to protect the seeds. Schoen grew a small handful of the seeds and was shocked when he peeled back the corn stalk to reveal rows and rows of shiny, rainbow-colored corn. Schoen was so excited, he posted the image to his Facebook, and it promptly went viral. Soon, the two cultivated enough seeds to sell online, and people around the country have grown gorgeous varieties.

Green thumbs around the world bought satchels of the precious seed and the following season, were “blown away.”

Credit: @watermicrobe / Twitter

While Schoen may have initiated the first viral sensation over Glass Gem corn in 2012, Ameet Pinto’s viral post has become Mother Nature’s best queer bait yet. With over 7k likes, “I STAN GAY CORN” is the most liked comment. Then, “Taste the rainbow.” 

Some people literally cannot believe this is corn, accusing Pinto of creating a jelly bean cob.

Credit: @mr_plantgeek / Twitter

“Those are just jellybeans ur not foolin me!!!!!” commented one unbeliever. Someone else seems to think that a profitable venture would be to sell the kernels as jelly beans as a scam. Still, others are bringing the negativity to this rainbow party, assuming that because the cob looks different from the mono-crop, that it must be a GMO frankencorn. “Glad to see people trying to live in Chernobyl,” tweets one disbelieving Shane. 

Glass Gem corn is not a GMO crop.

Credit: @Rainmaker1973 / Twitter

In fact, this variety likely healthier than the corn you might buy at a store, which may have been genetically modified rather than artificially selected. Barnes artificially selected the prettiest corn from his crop and decided to grow from those seeds the following year.

When folks hear the story of Carl Barnes, it just adds a whole new depth to the color.

Credit: @CwdickD / Twitter

“Fun fact about these is that they were discovered by a dude who was half-Cherokee and he started growing a sh**load of different corn types to reconnect with his heritage,” tweeted one person. As Barnes was artificially selecting which corn kernels he’d store as seeds for the next year, he grew closer with his Cherokee heritage.

For those of you expecting rainbow colored popcorn, don’t.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

All that’s left of the kernel when you pop the corn is usually that brown kernel skin that gets stuck in your teeth. In the case of Glass Gem corn, you can sort of make out the varying colors of popped kernels, but the popcorn itself is the same color as regular Joe Schmoe popcorn.

The Glass Gem corn isn’t that sweet.

Credit: @SlowFoodUSA / Twitter

According to Pinto, the corn isn’t sweet like yellow corn, so it doesn’t make for good fresh esquites or elotes. All popcorn comes from different varieties of corn that you have to dehydrate to turn into cornmeal or popcorn. “We’ll be eating some colorful popcorn this winter,” Ameet tweeted.

There’s even a Facebook group for Glass Gem growers to share their growing tips and cooking tips.

Credit: Glass Gem Corn / Facebook

In case you were wondering, the Facebook group “Glass Gem Corn” says you can prepare creamy Glass Gem polenta by following these instructions: “Pour into a shallow pan to cool. Cut into squares and lightly brown in a sauté pan.” We don’t know how you do it but keep on making gay polenta, please.

All in all, the Internet is pretty a-maize-d by the gay corn.

Credit: @DonConklin5 / Twitter

“Corn says lgbtq rights,” tweeted one stan. We’re with them. This is one of those moments that we’re allowed to be in wonder over how indigenous folks cultivate the land.

READ: Oaxaca Is Mexico’s Cultural Capital And Home To Its Largest Indigenous Communities, Here’s What You Need To Know