Pasta de Bocaditos (Cuban Ham Spread)
My wonderful hubby - an "americano" - learned how to make one of my favorite foods in the world - "Pasta de Bocaditos" or Cuban ham spread. It's not complicated: ground ham, cream cheese, mayonnaise and pimentos - but it is happiness on bread! Actually you can have it on regular bread, on special bocadito rolls, on crackers (saltines or Ritz), or straight out of the bowl with a spoon.
It is the quintessential Cuban kids' birthday party food. In my family at least you could determine the "Cuban refugee economic status" by the bocaditos served at the parties. In the early refugee years when there wasn't much money, Mami or Abuela made the bocaditos on white bread with the crusts cut off on the morning of the party and covered them with a moist paper towel so they wouldn't dry out. When there was a little more money they would still make the paste at home but buy the rolls - the moist paper towel still an integral part of the process. Later still as things got better, they'd buy the paste and rolls at the bakery where they bought the cake (the Cuban birthday cake - worthy of a whole other post!), but would assemble them at home - still covering them with a moist paper towel. And finally when there was more money the bocaditos came ready-made from the bakery covered in cellophane - the moist paper towel finally put to rest.
But you know what? This home-made "early Cuban refugee" version (sans moist paper towel) tasted a million times better than any bakery bought batch ever did. Maybe it was because it was the perfect comfort food after a week of not feeling well. Or maybe it was because my americano husband made it for me, just because he knew it would make me happy.