Review: The Disputed Roots of the Cuban Sandwich

“the Cuban-American haven of Miami is unwilling to concede the fight, claiming that Tampa’s Cuban sandwich is not authentic. The Miami preparation of the sandwich is more traditional, while Tampa’s includes salami—an Italian meat. This is explained by the droves of Italians who moved to Cuban-dominated communities in Central Florida after the lynchings of Italian-Americans in New Orleans throughout the 1890s.
The evolution of the Cuban sandwich exemplifies how Florida’s historical embrace of immigrants has created new delicacies we can all enjoy together.”

The case for reimagining the nuclear family

“I’m talking about letting your kids spend more time with their grandparents. Let your kids spend more time with other loving adults in your community. They might be your neighbors, they might be your college friends. They might be your colleagues at work. In a lot of religious traditions, there are these things called godparents; the idea is that a couple has a parental backup plan in case you and your partner dies. But it’s really a case where religious traditions are trying to instantiate a relationship with other adults in their children’s lives, so that they’re surrounded by a loving community of adults.”

“if you think about the evolutionary anthropology of the family, we’ve always been these cooperative breeders. Older siblings have always played a role in raising young children because unlike other non-human primates, we have our children very close together and they’re so dependent on us and we’ve always relied on broader networks.
I don’t say in the book that you should go join a commune and give up your parental rights or something like that. But I do point out that there are some states in the US which now allow for what’s called de facto parenting. So if you’re a divorced couple, and let’s say there’s a stepparent, a stepmother, or a stepfather who’s providing parental care, in many states that person cannot become a legal guardian unless the biological parent gives up their parental rights. So some states are saying, why shouldn’t children have three parents? Why not four parents in LGBTQ+ communities where you might have a surrogate mother and an egg donor and maybe two sperm donors? Or in the case of mitochondrial replacement therapy, which is where you have an egg from one woman, and then the mitochondria of that egg is from a second woman, and then you have a sperm donor. You literally have a child that is biologically related to three adults, three parents.

But our society doesn’t really know what to do with a non-bi-parental model of care. And so there are legal interventions we could make. There are social interventions that we could make. We could really take godparenting seriously and think hard about identifying other adults that can be a presence in our children’s lives as they grow up. I don’t think anybody would say that that’s a bad thing.

It is not psychologically healthy for us to be so isolated and to have all of our love and care from just two people, and I think this became really apparent to people during the pandemic. And now that we are coming out of that, I want people to think, “Hey, maybe those pandemic pods were a great idea! Maybe we should keep them around in some form as a supplement to our parenting efforts.””

“the whole point of this book is to ask what we can do in the absence of state intervention. I’m not talking about socialism here. I’m saying that if we’re not talking about top-down transformations from the state, what are the sorts of things people can do in their own lives within their own communities?”