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The Sneaky Kitchen is a lot like your grandmother's house: full of recipe cards, Tupperware, and old stories. Its founder, Bess Metcalf, has lived in Miami for over forty years, likes to cook, apparently sells Tupperware, Fuller brushes, and Avon products, and has a lot of stories to tell about Allapattah, many of them linked to recipes.

Mostly she makes Miami sound like an enchanted forest full of wondrous animals:

"Dairies, groves and truck farms abounded until the early twenties when the land boom started crowding out agriculture. Most of the major nurseries were still based in Allapattah in the sixties, although many did much of their growing down south closer to Homestead, having profitably sold their land. There was at that time a lot of vacant land, overgrown with huge old live oak trees dripping with ghostly Spanish moss, the ground a tangle of palmetto scrub and weeds, fluttery with native butterflies. Snakes, big-eared wood rats, squirrels, gopher turtles, opossums and frogs abounded, along with an amazing variety of birds. Parrots, parakeets, small monkeys, huge iguanas and other big lizards and pie-plate size poisonous Surinam toads, all escapees from the many exotic animal import companies in the area, were a source of amusement and amazement."

It's worth taking the nostalgic tour around the site, if only to find a recipe for some latkes or quimbombo con carne (okra with beef.)-Emily Witt

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Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.