The Mind Wobbles

So many things to absorb, think about, deal with and put up with - it simply makes the mind wobble...

Saturday, November 29, 2008

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.

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Anonymous Robin said...

Yum! I've never come across this in any of my readings about Cuban food. It sounds wonderful! I can't imagine the fancy store-bought version even coming close to comparing to the white bread, homemade version. It sounds like bliss!


11:44 AM  
Blogger Hilda said...

Robin, you should make it for Clara Jane's next class party - it's easy and it'll be a hit!

Recipe for about 2 cups worth of paste

1 cup ground ham (we used left over honeybaked ham)
8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup chopped pimentos
1 tsp sugar


4:18 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

There's the love you feel when you have a beloved comfort food and then there's the love you feel when you have a beloved comfort food made by someone who adores you above all else.

I'm sure you had the latter. :)

6:17 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

That comment was from Dixie - I forgot which email account I had signed on!

6:18 PM  
Blogger Jasmin Mora said...

We used your recipe today!... I'm cuban aswell and my Tia and I couldn't find our recipe tonight. You saved our bocaditos! Thanks! :]

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Milagros DiPatrizio said...

Hilda, your recipe is exquisite! Exactly what I wanted.I prepared mine to bring some happiness to my sister-in-law who is going through a difficult time. These delicious "Cuban Bocaditos" put a smile on her face and I thank you for that. I'm Cuban and I know what good "Cuban Bocaditos" should taste like. My youngest daughter is turning 3 next month and I can't wait to have home made "Cuban Bocaditos" at her b-day party.

Thanks for sharing & God bless you!

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilda,thank~ you...just got a flashback of Cuban bocaditos as a child in Cuba & Miami:0)

8:10 PM  
Blogger Cari said...

Hilda (my Mami's name was Hilda!), I needed some comfort food tonight and this did it!!! Gracias!!

9:09 PM  
Blogger qbnimport said...

Born in Cuba, came to US at age 4, grew up in Cuban neighborhood in LA. Went back to Cuba in 2013 as a researcher, and in April 2015 with my 80-yo mother and younger sister. The way I grew up, the people, food, parties, music were all the same as in Cuba, authentic as you can get. Bocaditos were always on white bread with no crust. Many different recipes online, but I still can't get the taste I grew up with. Will try your recipe. Thank you! Maria Victoria

11:16 PM  

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