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Cab Yard Kitchen
No Grandmothers
Kitchen Visionaries

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Francis Ford Coppola's Meatballs for 500

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The Cab Yard Kitchen

A lot of Kitchen Sisters stories are born in taxicabs. Hidden Kitchens was conceived in the back of a Yellow. Davia lives in San Francisco and hates to drive. She started noticing that every time she got into a Yellow cab, the driver was from Brazil, and not just from Brazil, but from the same town in Brazil: Goiâna. Inevitably, these cab-ride conversations turned to music and food. That’s when the story of Janete emerged, a woman from their same hometown, who comes every day after dark to the abandoned industrial street outside the cab company and sets up a makeshift, rolling night kitchen—hot salgadinhos, bollinhos, pão de quejo—she cooks the food of home. By dawn Janete and her blue tent are packed up and gone.

Certain stories have Kitchen Sisters written all over them. This sounded like one of them. One night around midnight, we decided to go in search of this secret cab-yard kitchen. A driver had given us a sketchy map and told us to park in the cab lot and walk to Janete’s outpost from there. “Just look like you know where you’re going,” he said, assuring us no one would notice we didn’t work for the company. It seemed pretty obvious to us—neither of us is from Goiâna, and no other cabbies in sight were wearing headphones and packing 10 pounds of recording equipment. We walked through the fleet of parked cabs, past the graveyard-shift mechanic working on a taxi up on the racks, past the checkout point, and out onto a street in the middle of nowhere.

There, under a streetlight and a small blue tarp, four drivers were laughing, huddled over big plates of food, eating in Portuguese. Brazilian music spilled out of a parked cab. Janete, shy and smiling, presided—a hidden kitchen vision.

Excerpt : No Grandmothers >

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