"Pork of the Sea" and South Florida Dining of the Past

Tucked in the sixth floor of the Bienes Museum of the Modern Book at the Broward Main Library is a foodish exhibit of cookbooks, menus, artifacts, and recipes as part of the exhibit of "Bountiful Broward: Eating in South Florida, 1880s -1980s."

A week from today, on March 13 at 1 p.m., Broward County Historian Helen Landers gives a lunch talk, which includes a tasting from the Cuban-Spanish Don Arturo Restaurant.

Among the findings, you'll see when the manatee was "the pork of the sea," in this photo from 1897. The now-endangered species was a favorite food among Seminoles and settlers at the turn of the previous century.

There's also a shell that shows how to properly extract a conch, a ritual as embraced as today's etiquette for shucking oysters or shelling crab. First, make a hole in the spiral with a hammer and a chisel; this is where the conch is attached. Then cut with a sharp knife, detach the muscle, and pry the conch from the open end of the shell. If only there were enough around to do it ourselves.

Also tucked among the exhibit is a less-soulful version of the Lee Brothers' guide to good eats on a Southern road trip.

Duncan Hines' book allegedly points out what and how to eat on a road trip, though we don't know if it focuses on stops, foraging, or what to bring, since it's under glass. Written in 1915, the book came out the year the U.S. government promoted a transcontinental tour to California to "demonstrate in a striking and interesting way the improvement which the

last few years has brought about in American highways and American

motor cars."

The transcontinental southern highway, what's now Interstate 10, was conceived in 1915 from the Old Spanish Trail and finished in 1929.

In another section, I was enamored of the photos of and the menu from Brown's Good Food, a home-cooking restaurant that's a precursor to the diner. Established by Logan Brown at 205 Andrews Ave., by 1925, he had opened the coffee shop and was on his way to earning his hashtag, "Papa of the Pot Roast." The restaurant moved in 1940 and closed by 1960.

Fishing and agriculture are also dominant in the exhibit. By 1967, inimitable nature writer John McPhee had begun chronicling the transition of South Florida from agricultural to exurb. Even then, he wrote of being served reconstituted frozen concentrate at Florida rest stops.

New Times on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Facebook | Melissa on Facebook | Clean Plate Charlie on Twitter | Melissa McCart on Twitter | E-mail Melissa

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories