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LIFESTYLE of the COASTAL SOUTH

FALL 2017

Susan Mason

Legendary Caterer of Savannah

Beaufort’s Oyster Mountain

Vanished Forever

The

Slurp ’Em Down in July Oysters Now Year-Round

Oyster Issue


AN ICONIC CHARLESTON GALLERY FOR OVER 30 YEARS

Photo by Jennie Fili An Old Country Garden, Oil on Canvas by John C. Doyle

125 CHURCH ST - CHARLESTON, SC 29401 - 843.577.7344 - WWW.JOHNCDOYLE.COM


FEATURES Fall 2017 • Volume 1 • Issue 3

48

On a Silver Platter Entertaining with caterer extraordinaire, Susan Mason

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The World Is His Oyster— Year-Round Eat oysters in August? Of course!

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Beaufort’s Mountain Vanished Forever Entirely made of oyster shells, bleached white, waiting to be planted

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An Oyster Bar Revival Where to find them when visiting the Holy City

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

Photo by Kendrick Mayes Cover photo of Vince Chaplain by Andrew Branning

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DEPARTMENTS

14

40

8 Editor’s Letter

9 Contributors

Marsh Island Park in Fall by Junko Ono Rothwell

88

11 Correspondence

Photo by Kendrick Mayes

Off the Docks

Life in the Lowcountry

Seasonal Eats

Columns

14 Whiteboot Heroes The Carolina Oyster Bateau

28 Gatherings An Autumn Inspired Southern Table

60 Farmstand Fresh Turnip Greens Country Market, Darien, Georgia

86 Ebb Tide Down South Connected by Oysters by Tom Poland

62 Roadside Retreats Bowens Island Restaurant

88 Lowcountry Sporting Life On the Hunt in South Carolina’s ACE Basin by Nina Burke

18 Vanishing Fleet Oyster Factory Boat by Doug Grier 20 Local Oystermen of the Lowcountry 23 Dock Dogs Always Ready for Adventure 24 Seasonal Harvest Smashing Pumpkin Centerpiece

34 Porch Life Back Porch Autumn Oyster Roast 36 Art in the South Love Story for the Oyster

64 Cookbook Review Johnathon Scott Barrett’s Cook & Tell: Recipes and Stories from Southern Kitchens

40 Artist Spotlight Junko Ono Rothwell

66 Restaurant Review Martha Lou’s Kitchen

92 Literary Corner Nicole Seitz’s The Cage-Maker by Jonathan Haupt 94 Cook and Tell My First Love and Oyster Stew by Johnathon Barrett

26 Conservation Maritime Shell Forest

42 Let’s Set the Table Festive Ideas for Entertaining 48 Celebrations On a Silver Platter

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56 Photo Essay McIntosh County Shouters— An American Treasure

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92

Illustration by Nicole Seitz SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Editor-In-Chief PAT BRANNING

Editor TOM POLAND • Art Director TANYA MALIK Chief Copy Editor TANYA MALIK • Creative Production Coordinator & Style Director BETH BLALOCK Contributing Wine Editor MIKE COOKE • Sales & Marketing THE SHRIMP, COLLARDS & GRITS TEAM Contributing Editors JOHNATHON BARRETT, DOMINIQUE BOURASSA, NINA BURKE, JONATHAN HAUPT, KRISTEN MATTSON, NANCY RICKER RHETT, ELENA RICHARDS, ELLEN MALPHUS, ANGELA STUMP Contributing Photographers ASHLEY BLALOCK, ANDREW BRANNING, BRIAN BROWN, SANDY DIMKE, CRAMER GALLIMORE, OLIVIA RAY JAMES, KENDRICK MAYES Publisher & CEO ANDREW BRANNING Published by SCG LIFESTYLE LLC • www.scglifestyle.com For SUBSCRIPTIONS: Call 843.505.5158 or visit www.scglifestyle.com. For ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Call 843.505.5158 or email advertising@scglifestyle.com facebook.com/scglifestyle

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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EDITOR’S LETTER

The Oyster Issue

T

he Southern kitchen is

time home to a thriving, world-famous oyster

sizzlin’, grits are simmerin’,

lined South Carolina’s coast from Daufuskie

a place where…bacon’s

industry. Prior to World War II, oyster factories

collards are stewin’, fried

Island all the way up to Litchfield and Little

chicken is poppin’, all while

River. Now it is a culture facing extinction.

pecan pie is coolin’. But then there are oysters.

We tip our hat to Frank Roberts,

Thoughts of oysters will bring even the loftiest

a pioneer in Lowcountry oyster mariculture,

coastal regions of our great Southland, once

of change with his oyster farm and year-round

gourmands to their knees. All along the

working in the ACE Basin to turn the tides

temperatures drop, men venture forth into our

oysters, supplying oyster seed to other farmers

creeks and rivers in search of these sweet and

in the state and supplying his brand of oysters

briny delicacies.

In this issue, we’ve set out to tell the

stories of the vital, but too-often invisible, people who labor each

to restaurants from Charleston to Hilton Head and Savannah.

Experience gracious hospitality, fine food and elegance

day on our oyster banks in and around the waters surrounding

that is never stuffy with Savannah’s legendary caterer

Savannah’s Moon River and beyond. These are people living out their

and reaches across the nation’s upper crust. In private homes,

McClellanville, Green Pond, Murrell’s Inlet, the Chechessee,

lives under the radar, largely unseen, with few accolades. You may not recognize the

extraordinaire, Susan Mason, whose reputation spans the South on yachts, in gardens or at chic events, serving imaginative and elegant dishes in up-scale settings is what Susan does best.

Designer Beth Blalock once again amazes us with her fall

men and women in our stories,

décor, innovative ideas and her fresh take on autumn parties. This

paintings, you will feel their

issue, The Oyster Issue.

but, through photographs and passion. We pay homage to

and so much more await you within the pages of this, our third

We recognize our masterful chefs whose mission lies beyond

those of yesteryear who braved

churning out stellar food. Knowing who they are and their

temperatures, winds and rain in

and culture and heightens that already powerful emotional

the elements of bone-chilling

hand-wrought wooden bateaux, along with our present-day

whiteboot heroes, believing

dedication to sourcing local food strengthens us as a community connection to our unique Southern cuisine. Prepare to be inspired and grateful.

the heart and soul of this great

region lies in the everyday lives of ordinary people.

South Carolina was at one

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Editor-in-Chief

Patricia Branning

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CONTRIBUTORS Angela Stump: “I

presents educational programs to the public

Ellen Malphrus is

oysters and writing for

science research projects, and acts as the staff

USCB professor who

really enjoyed researching this issue. Writing things down always brings

memories. I was reminded of my treasured childhood

vacationing in Calabash, eating fried oysters and walking the docks.�

Kristen Mattson is an environmental educator for the

LowCountry Institute of the Spring Island Trust, where she co-teaches the

LowCountry Master Naturalist program,

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and local students/teachers, coordinates citizen fundraising coordinator. Kristen loves oysters because they are a keystone species in the salt

marsh, providing many benefits to the habitat.

She also thinks that the Port Royal Sound oysters are the best tasting oysters ANYWHERE.

Elena Richards is a writer, stylist and foodie from Augusta, Georgia, and a graduate of

Armstrong University in Savannah. She has

a Southern writer and lives and writes beside the May River in her native Carolina. She

considers Pat Conroy,

who wrote the foreword for

her novel, Untying the Moon,

responsible for encouraging her to write and finish this novel.

written recipes and other features for several

Mike Cooke is a Brain Wellness and Memory

Savannah magazine. With roots in the southern

with Memory Matters on Hilton Head Island.

publications including Paprika Southern and

U.S., as well as southern Spain, she grew up with

the kitchen as the center of the home, and loves to share her passion for good food, good drink and good company.

Care volunteer, as well as a board member

Originally from Britain, he and his wife, Barbara, have lived on the Island for the past 12 years

and enjoy their grandkids, boating, golf, music and writing.

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CONTRIBUTORS Tom Poland: “During my filmmaking days, a red-orange-billed

photographs. When I’m not on the road with my camera, I enjoy hiking and kayaking.”

oystercatcher in pluff mud against green

Food writer

like no other bird.

Johnathon

spartina dazzled me

and author

Here’s to oysters and oystercatchers: the red-

Barrett is a

life more beautiful.”

Georgian who

orange bill and white boots types. Both render

seventh-generation has a deep

appreciation for

Brian Brown is a widely published

the history and culture of the South. A nonprofit

Jonathan Haupt is the founding Executive

from Fitzgerald, Georgia, now based in

cook and host in culinary-rich Savannah, where

the former Director of the University of South

documentary photographer and historian the Lowcountry. His work can be seen at

vanishingcoastalgeorgia.com. “As someone whose family has been involved in farming

for over a century, I feel a sense of loss in the rural landscape. I try to capture that in my

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

executive and CPA, Johnathon is also a talented he enjoys good bourbon and fine food—and,

when he gets the chance, fishing. He is the author of Rise and Shine! and the upcoming Cook & Tell:

Recipes and Stories from Southern Kitchens (Mercer University Press, Sept 2017).

Director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center and Carolina Press. He serves on the boards of the South Carolina Academy of Authors and the

Deckle Edge Literary Festival. He and his wife,

Lorene, and their quartet of rescued pets live near Beaufort, South Carolina.

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CORRESPONDENCE To say I loved by first copy of Shrimp, Collards & Grits magazine is an understatement! It is a beautifully put-together magazine. Love, love, love it!!! Pamela L. Copeland Atlanta, Georgia

Summer 2017

Everyone at the gallery is thrilled and cannot wait to see the next issue! Sandra Roper Lowcountry Artists Gallery Charleston, South Carolina

My summer issue arrived today. I thought the first issue was a knockout, but this one is overthe-top! Too many great things, including the stories, but also the table settings and recipes. Hope you can keep up the pace. Cheers to you, Nina. Nina Burke Green Pond, South Carolina

I have moved and my hometown magazine is a must-have. I cannot express for the life of me the enjoyment and entertainment your publication gives me. Every photograph and article, wonderful. My best wishes to y’all! Nancy Sheets Kenansville, Florida

An outstanding tribute to one of the most culturally rich and authentic regions of the country. Bob Fisher Atlanta, Georgia

Just read mine last night. Gorgeous photos and wonderful features. Loved the different tablescapes. Donna Ghinelli McKeown Saint Helena, South Carolina

Reading it cover to cover! Beautiful! Susan Simpson Clark Beaufort, South Carolina I want it in all my hotels! Buck Limehouse Limehouse Properties Charleston, South Carolina

I loved it! Kathryn Rigsby Norcross, Georgia This is one great magazine. Try it, you will enjoy it. Pat Wilund Bluffton, South Carolina

How to reach us: Email: editorial@scglifestyle.com. Emails should include full contact information. We reserve the right to edit letters for clarity and brevity. Subscriptions: Call 843.505.5158 or visit www.scglifestyle.com SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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Museum Quality Southern Lifestyle Cookbooks

Pour yourself a tall glass of sweet tea, pull up a front porch rocker, and prepare to fall head over heels in love with the coastal South. With her distinctive voice and presence, Pat captures the power of place; the character and enchantment of our beloved Lowountry. Powerful stories, delicious recipes and stunning art and photography will keep you coming back for more.

www.scglifestyle.com 16

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Off the Docks

Photo by Andrew Branning

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Purity of Purpose The Carolina Oyster Bateau Story and Photography by Ellen Malphrus

Oyster Season, oil on linen, by Mark Kelvin Horton 18

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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OFF THE DOCKS WHITEBOOT HEROES

T

his is a love story. Part of one,

These pure-in-

in rivers around Bluffton and Beaufort, Edisto

currents that ready Carolina

their-purpose

That must have been something.

roasted, steamed or stewed, fried

wooden vessels,

anyway. It has to do with cooling

oysters for consumption—raw or

and Charleston, McClellanville and Georgetown.

Boom Times and Beyond

or frittered, or po’boy-oh-boyed. Well, that’s part

perfect in form and

In the heyday of Carolina oystering, from the late

head out with the ebbing river and chug back to the

function, were the

and shucking houses prepared Lowcountry oysters

mounded glory of their labor. But mostly it’s about

rough hewn, wide

of the story. It also has to do with the men who landing when the tide has flooded, laden with the

the boats they worked from in the golden years of oystering—the Carolina bateaux.

planked, shallow

These pure-in-their-purpose wooden vessels,

draft beauties of the

hewn, wide planked, shallow draft beauties of the

Carolina waterways.

perfect in form and function, were the rough Carolina waterways. They averaged 16-20 feet in

length and were able-bodied and steady, like the

Later still, the bateaux themselves were

1800s to post World War II, bustling canneries for shipment around the world. During the height of the Roaring Twenties, the South Carolina oyster boom peaked with 11 operating canneries and 31

shucking houses employing 3,500 predominantly

Gullah people. Imagine the Great Gatsby parties where champagne was sipped or prohibition booze

was nipped, and toasts were made to succulent oysters that only a couple of days before were quietly nestled in creeks from the May River to

men who handled them, built to withstand being

outfitted with outboards. Since the early 90s,

after day after day.

beauties. But consider the choreography of those

proprietors of the last remaining full production

each with its string of bateaux slowly trailing

Carolina—the Bluffton Oyster Factory—which

run aground on rough shelled oyster banks day

When commercial oystering was in its

prime, these bateaux hauled many a boom ton, 40-80 bushels at a time. If home port was close

enough, the harvesters rowed out and back to

shore. Otherwise, they were towed by sailboats

fiberglass skiffs have replaced these wooden decades when fleets of crisp, white-sailed sloops,

along behind, could be seen for much of the year

Bohicket, Bulls Bay to Murrells Inlet.

These days, Tina and Larry Toomer are

oyster shucking facility in the state of South sits modestly atop a spit of land formed by oyster Oyster Bucket II by Michael J. Harrell

that released and retrieved them one by one at

oyster beds along the way. Later, of course, came

motorized boats that pulled the bateaux to their work, often 10 to 15 in a line.

Frank Kidd

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OFF THE DOCKS WHITEBOOT HEROES

After 75 years of operation, T.M. Bailey Seafood closed its doors in 1995, but the shucking house stands on the bank of the Okatie River as a testament to the bygone era of wooden bateaux.

he built three dozen or so, and

half century of 16-hour workdays at the oyster

upon once more to construct

planks two feet wide for bateau construction. Pine

now his skills have been called Thaddeus Bailey, one of the last remaining bateau builders and owner of T.M. Bailey Oyster company

shells mounded ton after ton for more than a

a smaller 12-foot model “for

show” at the Mitchellville Preservation Project Freedom

Park on Hilton Head Island. The great news is that

house. In the early years, local sawmills provided

boat bottoms handled shovels better but had to be replaced every two to three years, so eventually Bailey switched to plywood, too.

With poker faces, both Bailey and Kidd

his son, Frank, Jr., is helping him. There is hope.

claim there are no secrets to the bateau’s design, no

For most present-day harvesters, another

boats too—maybe not oyster bateaux, but he’s

tells of swabbing each new boat with spent motor

full is a ritual of the blood that goes back three or

owner of T. M. Bailey Oyster Company, returned

century. The Toomers are now down to six or eight shuckers and about that many harvesters.

season of going out in empty vessels and coming in

four generations. They are tough—the Kidds and

Thaddeus Bailey’s son, Michael, can build

watched his father. Again, there’s hope. Bailey,

Pinckneys, Frasiers and Mitchells, Youngs and

The right tide often

tide often has nothing to do with conveniences

has nothing to do

like wind and rain and damp-to-your-bones cold.

with conveniences like

Polites, Mervins and Greens and Browns. The right like “normal working hours” or inconveniences Tough, yes. And dedicated. And few.

Bailey and Kidd Fewer still are those who can build wooden oyster bateaux, but 91-year-old Thaddeus Bailey and

76-year-old Frank Kidd are two of them. As a child, Kidd watched his Gullah grandfather construct oyster boats, but not carefully, so when

days. Any less space and the bateau would bulge;

any more and it wouldn’t hold water. Tricks of the trade, if you ask me.

Dream Come True been the Platonic manifestation of “boat” to me. I

wind and rain and dampto-your-bones-cold.

years. They needed 16 boats at a time, so they built

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

between each plank and left it to swell for two

or inconveniences like

He used pine bottoms in his first boats, but later

20

Bailey tells how he made an eight-penny nail space

These bateaux, perfectly-suited-for-their-job work

from service in World War II, took over the business

switched to more durable plywood. In bygone days,

oil to seal the wood and keep out seaworms. And

“normal working hours”

he was a grown man and needed one, he set to studying the old bateaux and replicating them.

mystery to its construction. Slowly, though, Kidd

his father had begun in 1920, and ran it for 50

them. Whatever needed doing was done in Bailey’s

horses, so elegant in their simplicity, have always watched them venture forth and back, fewer and

fewer until, here in Bluffton, anyway, most of the last of them were hauled up the bluff for good. In

the early 90s, when work began on the oyster factory parking area, the abandoned ones were there for the

taking. Nancy Golson had the good sense to pluck one and plop it down at her store, Eggs ’N’ Tricities. Then one magical day I was signing copies of

my recently released novel, Untying the Moon, at SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


the new Eggs location and asked Nancy (who no

Oyster Boats in Summer

longer had much room for it) what she’d take for

the bateau. To my utter delight she said, “Honey,

if you can haul it off, you can have it.” Well, honey,

Were never meant to be.

you can bet that my husband, Andy Fishkind,

Upside down in knee-high

“bless my bateau,” he and Tripp Manuel and Hank

grass, Waiting for the gray season of Salt grit and croaker sacks. For strong black men in hip boots Dipping oars through the crack-of-dawn fog, Soft in the sweet Gullah rhythms of their morning.

set straight to the task and, before you could say

Carroll hoisted that baby with Hank’s four-wheel

drive construction lift and escorted her through the heart of Bluffton and home to Heyward Cove.

I love that boat. I love every patch and every

fleck of peeled-off paint, but mostly I love her proud presence sitting here by the edge of the

river because to me she represents the substance, the stout-hearted story, of every bateau and every harvester and every shucker that has worked long

and well to provide succulent Carolina oysters to so many for so long.

It’s part of the salt blood that flows through

me. My own oyster credentials can’t match those

of a Toomer or a Hudson, but they come from both sides of the family and go back quite a

No color but flannel shirts.

ways. Thaddeus Bailey is my daddy’s first cousin

Clusters chinked across

(presently the Port Royal Sound Foundation

the deck. Solid.

and Clark Lowther of Lemon Island Marina Maritime Center) is my mom’s first cousin. A double whammy.

A Toast My fantasy—for what is love without fantasy—is to fix up the old bateau and take her out with

one of the old-timers on a crisp October morning when the sky is so blue it will break your heart,

work the creeks and pile her high with clusters, then row home as the day gets short. I want

to see the fire sparking on the bank where my family and friends warm themselves and then take turns hauling loads of oysters to the ember-

bright wood fire and spread them, bucket by

bucket, onto a sheet of tin, cover them with damp croker sacks, douse them with sea water, listen to the sizzle and breathe in that smell that

turns gently from pluff mud to warm sea water to oysters plumped and ready.

Just when they begin to pop, we’ll shovel

them onto oyster tables and wire spools, and stand there in the deepening dark with lanterns aglow and the stars coming on as the temperature dips

and our breath mingles with the roasting smoke.

We’ll savor every single sweet morsel of briny delight, as others have done for thousands of years,

dating back to Amerindians of old. And we will raise a glass—to the bateaux, the oystermen, the oyster women, the river. All praise them that bring us this beautiful bounty of the sea.

May River Oyster Shuckers by Sandra Roper

But not in August When caked mud sifts away Fine powder for dirt daubers Nesting in the hull shade— Wooden tombstones waiting to be turned, Dragged back down the bank, And launched, And lapped at.

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OFF THE DOCKS VANISHING FLEET

In the South, treasures are just a simple turn down a dirt road.

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Oyster Factory Boat by Doug Grier

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OFF THE DOCKS LOCAL

Oystermen of the Lowcountry The wilderness areas of our coastal terrain are spiritual sanctuaries and places of unparalleled beauty that evoke a sense of awe and reverence for our natural world.

A Photo Essay

Photography by Andrew Branning Captions by Pat Branning

Leaning down, Vince Chaplain fills his bags with oysters hidden away in backwater creeks that most people will never see. The result, visually, is an evocative amalgamation of landscape and seascape. The gold marsh grass, the shards of orange-red light that illuminate the edges of the of the oyster shells, and the blue-green of the flowing water leave an indelible impression. 24

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The late Vince Chaplain, a Gullah oysterman born and raised on Saint Helena Island, South Carolina. Vince was part of a group of vanishing oystermen. His was a rugged and often treacherous life, but there were moments when the marshlands and winding creeks would rise up and steal his soul—Vince was happiest when out on the muddy flats.

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OFF THE DOCKS LOCAL

Only a few rugged souls make their living gathering oysters in the salt marshes and rivers along our shores. Heading out on bone-chilling mornings before dawn in crude wooden boats, the oystermen climb out onto the oyster beds and, working quickly, hammer away at the clumps of oysters buried in the mud flats.

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OFF THE DOCKS DOCK DOGS

Dock Dogs

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Always Ready for Adventure

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OFF THE DOCKS SEASONAL HARVEST

Smashing Pumpkin Centerpiece Give Your Tablescape the Fall Makeover It Deserves

W

elcome guests to your autumn table with an amazing display

that functions as a long-lasting

arrangement with an inviting fresh fragrance. Use the display

as a lovely dining table centerpiece or to dress up other entertaining areas.

Pumpkins as a Vase Why not skip the spiderwebs and jack-o’-lanterns this

year and take a more natural approach with your pumpkin

decorating? Simply carve a hole in a pumpkin and fill it up with your favorite blooms.

Prep your pumpkin by cutting the top off and

hollowing it out. Soak oasis (florist foam) in water and cut to fit the hollow space. Keep the oasis well watered. Once

carved, pumpkins will last a week. Divide the flowers by color, grouping like flowers and colors together for greater

impact. You may soften the look by placing leaves and amaranth over the lip of the pumpkin.

Mix things up, too, by considering a white pumpkin—sometimes called

a fairytale pumpkin—this year. Flowers in yellows, peaches and shades of

orange, accented with sprigs of berries, complement the white pumpkin shell

beautifully. Extend the freshness by coating the cut edges with petroleum jelly. Pumpkins don’t need to be 20-pounders to qualify as vases. The small,

grapefruit-sized pumpkins and even the tiny gourds can hold dry grasses,

Top: A tablescape beautifully capturing the theme of a bountiful harvest. Above left: Man’s best friend works hard to deliver salt and pepper. Above right: Pumpkins (and, therefore, pumpkin centerpieces) can be found in a variety of colors and sizes. Right: A well-dressed, silver fox announces the place setting for SCG’s publisher.

votive candles and taller candles. 28

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Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS &GRITS Table design by Beth Blalock

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OFF THE DOCKS CONSERVATION

Maritime Shell Forest A Rare Habitat Unique to the Lowcountry by Kristen Mattson

O

ysters are critical to the salt

for many endemic plants—

structure that marine organisms

area. Most of the soil

marsh habitat. They provide

gravitate to, help prevent soil erosion,

and

substantially

increase water quality, as an individual oyster can filter up to 48 gallons of water per day. But oysters

don’t just play a role in the water—they play a unique role on the land as well. Thousands of years

ago, Native Americans consumed oysters and

discarded the shells in various types of deposits

which have created special habitats that support flora found nowhere else.

The soil is the key to the maritime shell forest,

a critically rare habitat type that acts as a refuge

Mottled trillium (Trillium maculatum) is a low-growing perennial that has all of its parts present in groups of three. The bloom is dark crimson, pungent-smelling and is beetlepollinated. Interesting note: The seeds are dispersed by ants—attached to the seed is a fatty organ that ants particularly like to eat.

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

plants restricted to a certain

throughout the southeastern coastal plain is acidic in nature, but, in these select locations,

calcium

from

Native Americans consumed oysters and discarded the shells in various types of deposits which have created special habitats that support flora found nowhere else.

the Native American shell

globally or regionally rare, so to find a patch of forest where these wildflowers abound is a real treat. You

can

spot

a

maritime shell forest rather easily during the winter.

The foliage will suddenly

deposits leaches out into the soil, raising the pH. The

transition from dense, shady and evergreen to

calciphytes. Due to the rarity of this habitat type,

trees having shed their leaves. The plants around

species of plants that favor this type of soil are called

many unique species can be found in these maritime

shell forests. It just so happens that many of these species are spring-flowering ephemerals—plants that

only flower briefly. They are also often considered

Atamasco lily (Zephyranthes atamasco) is also known as the Easter lily. These beautiful white blooms with shiny, evergreen foliage are favored by butterflies.

bright, open and sunny due to deciduous canopy

you will also serve as clues. When you find a group

of calciphytes, a deciduous canopy and oyster shells

near the soil surface, you know you have found a maritime shell forest.

Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis) is rare in this region. It is abundant in the mountains and piedmont but found only in maritime shell forests along the coast. The name bloodroot comes from the bright red sap that oozes from the cut root of the plant, used by Native Americans for dyes.

Red bud (Cercis canadensis) is a small tree in the pea family that produces gorgeous and abundant pink blooms before its leaves unfurl in the spring. When found in the wild, it’s a sure bet you’re in a high-calcium site.

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Life in the Lowcountry SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

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LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY GATHERINGS

An Autumn Inspired Southern Table Inspiration from the Rich Hues and Varied Textures of Nature by Pat Branning

A

s crisp autumn evenings fall across the South, we welcome a quieter season punctuated by cooler breezes and signs of

summer’s fading as leaves turn from green to crimson gold, brilliant reds, russets

and yellows. Autumn invigorates. Snuggly sweaters become the order of the day as all of nature prepares for hibernation.

Summer cottages along our sea islands are battened down, gardens and grapevines are harvested as we hurry around getting our fall bulbs planted. It’s such a glorious time of year, I

find myself wishing that autumn could be three Octobers long. Sunlight hours are now waning, beach time is reduced as

nights become cooler and blacker. Our Southern heritage is one of hospitality

pleasurable pastime, as well as an artistically fulfilling outlet. Many dishes are

cuisine and good times with

hurried weeknight meals. I love taking foods all the way from the market to

and love of sharing endearing family and friends. Farmstands

overflow with newly harvested heirloom

carrots,

collards,

turnips, beets and all varieties of cool-weather lettuces and herbs

palettes and resources found in the great outdoors, this article showcases many

of our favorite entertaining and decorating ideas to get your creativity flowing.

It’s such a glorious time of year, I find myself wishing that autumn

aplenty and bushel baskets filled

could be three Octobers long.

with an abundance of gourds and

Indian corn. It’s hard to pay enough homage to such a harvest cornucopia. Get into the spirit of the season, pull out all the stops and plan a gathering!

Recipes presented in these pages are for those who look at cooking as a SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

the chopping block, to the oven and onto the table. Influenced by the vibrant

cascading over baskets. An outing

to the country yields pumpkins

32

better suited to entertaining and special occasions than to the constraints of

Look to the bounty of the harvest season to dress the table in autumn

splendor. Pumpkins in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors leave no doubt that fall is here.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.” —Emily Brontë

THE MENU Autumn Bliss Cocktail Figs Stuffed with Goat Cheese Parmesan Cheese Rounds BLT Dip in Mini Tomatoes Orzo Salad with Roasted Shrimp Southern Soul Smoked Oyster Spread Apple-Cinnamon Whole Wheat Muffins

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, 33 COLLARDS &GRITS Table design by Beth Blalock


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY GATHERINGS

AUTUMN BLISS COCKTAIL Serves 10

A

4 large limes 8 Âź-inch thick slices fresh ginger, peeled 2 tablespoons sugar 1 cup mint leaves, plus mint sprigs for garnish

cocktail combining the crisp autumn flavor of

apple and the satisfying tingle of ginger along

with ever-favorites rum and mint. This can be made 6 hours ahead. It may start to get bitter, however, if made too far ahead.

1 cup fresh lime juice 1 cup apple juice 1Âź cups dark rum 4 cups ginger ale Lots of ice 1 Granny Smith apple

34

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

Peel the limes in strips with a vegetable peeler and save the peels; then juice the limes.

With mortar and pestle or in a small bowl

with a muddler or the back of a wooden spoon, crush together the lime peel, ginger, sugar and

cup of mint leaves. Transfer this mixture to a large pitcher, and add the lime juice, apple juice, and rum. Cover and refrigerate.

When ready to serve, stir in the ginger ale

and several handfuls of ice. Fill glasses with ice and strain or pour cocktail into glasses or copper mugs.

Garnish with a thin slice of apple and a mint sprig. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


FIGS STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE BITES WITH HONEY-BALSAMIC REDUCTION Serves 6 to 8

12 Black Mission figs, halved vertically 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar 3 tablespoons honey 2-3 ounces fresh goat cheese Sea salt to taste Preheat oven to 400ºF.

While the oven preheats, melt butter in a

small saucepan along with the balsamic vinegar, honey, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then

reduce to a simmer and cook about 5 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Place figs, cut side up, in a baking dish the

size of a pie pan. Top each fig half with ½ to 1

teaspoon goat cheese. Drizzle balsamic vinegar syrup over the figs.

Roast in the oven until very soft, 10 to 15

minutes. Arrange on a platter and sprinkle with sea salt.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

35


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY GATHERINGS

PARMESAN CHEESE ROUNDS

Inspired by Susan Mason, who tells us this is her most requested hors d’oeuvre Makes 48 rounds

BLT DIP IN MINI TOMATOES Yields 16–20 tomato appetizers

T

hese may be small but their bacon and tomato flavor is full-sized.

16–20 small cherry tomatoes 1 pound sliced bacon, cooked and crumbled ½ cup mayonnaise 1/3 cup chopped green onions 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped Cut a thin slice off each tomato top. Scoop out and discard pulp. Invert tomatoes on a paper towel to drain.

In a small bowl, combine the remaining

1 cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese 1 loaf thin white sandwich bread 10 to 12 small white onions, very thinly sliced Yellow mustard Optional: garnish with a sprinkle of finely chopped Italian parsley Preheat oven broiler to 425ºF.

ingredients. Spoon into tomatoes. Refrigerate for several hours.

ORZO SALAD WITH ROASTED SHRIMP For salad: ¾ pound orzo pasta Juice of 3 lemons Freshly ground black pepper 2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled 1 cup scallions, white and green parts, chopped fine 1 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped fine 1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced ½ cup red onion, diced small ¾ pound feta cheese

For dressing: 1/3 cup teriyaki sauce 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar ½ teaspoon garlic powder ½ teaspoon onion powder ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon sugar ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Using a whisk, mix together the mayonnaise

Preheat oven to 400ºF.

With a 21/8-inch cookie cutter, cut 2 rounds

salt and a little oil and bring the water to a boil.

and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl.

out of each slice of bread. Arrange the rounds on a baking sheet and place 5 inches from the heat

source. Toast the bread rounds on one side until they are golden brown, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Remove the bread from the oven and turn

the rounds over to the untoasted sides. Spread

each with a thin layer of mustard. Put 1 onion

Fill a large pot with water, add 1 tablespoon

Add the orzo and simmer for about 10 minutes,

stirring occasionally, until cooked al dente. Drain and pour into a large bowl. Whisk the dressing

ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour lemon juice and dressing over the hot pasta and stir well.

Place shrimp on a baking sheet and drizzle

slice on top and cover with about 1 teaspoon of

with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

across the onion and the bread.

Roast 5 to 6 minutes until shrimp are cooked but

the mayonnaise mixture, spreading the mixture Broil for about 1 minute until golden. Never

take your eyes off these as the time varies with different ovens. Work in batches of 24 rounds.

Serve one batch hot while the other is cooking. 36

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

Toss to combine and spread out in a single layer.

not overcooked. Add shrimp to the orzo and the rest of the ingredients. Toss well. Add feta and

toss gently. Refrigerate at least one hour to allow flavors to blend.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


APPLE-CINNAMON WHOLE WHEAT MUFFINS

SOUTHERN SOUL SMOKED OYSTER SPREAD

Courtesy of Southern Soul Barbeque, a popular joint on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Yields 2 to 3 cups

Yields 12 muffins ½ cup raisins

A

2 cups white whole wheat flour

fter an hour in the smoker, the oysters take

1 cup brown sugar

on a rich, mahogany hue and a campfire

2 teaspoons baking soda

flavor. Serve with a stack of saltine crackers. 1 pint fresh oysters in their liquor (may

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon Orzo Salad with Roasted Shrimp

½ teaspoon ground ginger ½ teaspoon salt

substitute 2 tins of smoked oysters) 16 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups grated and peeled carrots

1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise

1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and grated

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup shredded coconut, sweetened or

1 tablespoon prepared horseradish

unsweetened

1 tablespoon Old Bay Seasoning 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

½ cup walnuts, chopped

1 teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce

1/3 cup sunflower seeds or wheat germ, optional

1 small shallot, grated 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped

3 large eggs

2 tablespoons scallions, chopped

2/3 cup vegetable oil 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To smoke oysters: Soak wood chips in a covered

1/3 cup orange juice

amount of charcoal in one corner of your grill

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

wood chips to coals and let burn until no flames

it with paper liners and spray the insides of the

bowl of water for 30 minutes. Light a small

Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line

and burn until embers are glowing. Add drained remain. For a gas grill, wrap drained chips in

Southern Soul Smoked Oyster Spread

liners.

In a small bowl, cover raisins with hot water

foil, poke holes in top of foil packet, and place

directly on the bars over a burner. Turn on the

and set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together

temperature.

carrots, apple, coconut, nuts and sunflower seeds

flour, sugar, baking soda, spices and salt. Stir in

burner and heat until smoke appears, then adjust

or wheat germ.

Meanwhile, pour oysters and their liquid

In a separate bowl, beat together eggs,

into a medium cast iron skillet. Set the skillet

on the opposite side of the grill away from hot

oil, vanilla and orange juice. Add to the flour

temperature should be about 200ºF.

raisins and stir them in.

mixture, and stir until moistened. Drain the

coals. Close lid and cook for 60 minutes. Grill

Divide the batter among the wells of the

Combine remaining ingredients with a

spoon. Stir strained oysters (reserve juice) into

prepared muffin tin. Fill almost to the top.

oyster liquor for extra smoky flavor. Salt and

domed and a cake tester inserted in the center

top to finish.

before turning them out.

Bake 25 to 28 minutes, until they are nicely

cream cheese mixture. Incorporate reserved

comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool

pepper to taste, and sprinkle a bit of Old Bay on

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Apple-Cinnamon Whole Wheat Muffins

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

37


Back Porch Autumn Oyster Roast Forget the Firepit and Bring on the Big Green Egg by Beth Blalock and Pat Branning

F

rom Lowcountry boils and oyster roasts to down-home backyard barbecues, folks along the coast have many reasons to dine en plein air.

The oyster roast is one of the best reasons to take the party

outdoors and into the environment. But how can you make your

backyard roast the most enviable invite in town? Keep it simple. Here’s exactly

what you need to get the party started. Head for your porch with plenty of iced down cold beer in a bucket, a couple of bushels of local oysters, a few

condiments, some saltine crackers, and let the party begin. After all, our

Southern porches are steeped in charm and offer unrivaled hospitality, just like the people who graciously open their homes for parties year-round, devil their eggs and raise their glasses high in the name of fellowship.

Serve your oysters hot off the grill and dip ’em in melted butter or cocktail

sauce—fantastic. But if you get the urge to change it up a bit, this recipe from Hilton Head designer Beth Blalock is crazy delicious. 38

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY PORCH LIFE

BLACK AND BLUE OYSTERS Makes 24 oysters

H

ere’s a slightly different take on oysters, inspired by Matthew Roher, Executive Chef of Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island.

PHILLIP’S OYSTERS ON THE BIG GREEN EGG Makes 6 oysters

2 dozen shucked fresh oysters 1 ounce all-purpose flour 1 teaspoon blackening seasoning 3 ounces heavy cream 1 tablespoon butter 4 ounces small chunks of country ham scraps, chopped small

B

eth says to grill the oysters on the half shell just until they start to open. Then douse with a little melted butter combined with a touch of garlic,

lemon, parsley and paprika. 2 cloves garlic, minced

Juice of one lemon wedge 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped fine ¼ teaspoon paprika 2 tablespoons butter 6 oysters In a saucepan, warm ingredients until melted and pour over oysters just before serving. Delicious!

Note: Do not ice your oysters! Oysters are alive and will die with ice on

them. Store for a short time in a cool, dry place. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

3 ounces blue cheese 1 tablespoon balsamic syrup (see note below) Thin-cut scallions for garnish Arrange reserved oyster shells on plates. Combine flour and blackening

seasoning. Drain oysters and lightly dredge in flour mixture and place on a plate. Heat a skillet on medium heat for a full 3 to 4 minutes. Drop butter into the hot skillet, then, working quickly, sear oysters to develop a quick crust, about 10 seconds. Place seared oysters into their shells.

Add ham to the pan and toss quickly. When slightly crispy, remove ham

and sprinkle on oysters. Add heavy cream to the skillet and reduce to a thick

bubble. Drizzle over oysters and garnish with blue cheese, balsamic syrup and scallions just before serving.

Balsamic syrup: Place 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 1 tablespoon sugar in a

small saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until reduced to 2 tablespoons, about 10 minutes.

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

39


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY ART IN THE SOUTH

Love Story for the Oyster Art Imitates (Brackish) Life

by Angela Stump, Director of the John C. Doyle Gallery

A

nyone moving to the dreamy

Lowcountry will quickly learn the significance of the oyster “r”

months (e.g., only the reckless would eat a wild-harvested

oyster in a month without an “r” in its name—

namely May, June, July and August), and that the fall season is essentially

When I look back now decades later, I understand on a much broader level

anticipated and always convivial partly for this reason! I was astronomically

the importance of these delicious bivalves in our culture. Oysters have not only

hang my hat. My shanty cabin was rustic at best, but it sat on a huge lot with

but their part as an innovative food dates back to Roman times. Even earlier in

lucky to find a rental on Hobcaw Creek as the first place in the Lowcountry to

water access at high tide to the creek that ebbed and flowed into the Wando River. The property was a brackish wonderland visited regularly by countless wildlife, and it serendipitously came with an oyster pit. This included a large

stone shucking table—and well, I happened to move to town in September.

Luck be a lady that loves oysters! I embraced those cool creek nights with friends over rising oyster steam, spicy horseradish and homemade cocktail sauce. My lessons in briny saltine gatherings began immediately. 40

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

given sustenance to people in our locale as early as the time of Native Americans, Japan. Most people don’t know how vital they are in keeping our ecosystem in check, especially through preventing erosion and creating habitats for a myriad

of other species. It’s no wonder these tenacious creatures have been coveted as

a subject by artists since the early Renaissance. They enhance our culture by motivating annual festivals that bring communities together and challenge chefs

to come up with inventive creations. They have also heartily stood the test of time by continuing to inspire still life artwork all over the world.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


The fall season marks a busy and exciting time in the art community. The

swash line, which is created

Above: Still Life with Oysters by Russell Gordon, oil

“off.” Since there are now about as many galleries in downtown Charleston as

water washes out after wave

Opposite Ready to Roast by Spruill Hayes, oil Joined at the Hip by Sara Jane Doberstein, oil

cooling weather inspires a feeling of renewal both in locals and visitors from there are pounds in a bushel of oysters (45-60 lbs!), art lovers have their work cut

out. City wide art walks and special gallery shows are teeming with collectors, and the quality and diversity of art in the area is staggering. But the local art scene isn’t limited to just downtown Charleston. When the Charleston Gallery

Association formed in late 2015, the smart decision was made to include galleries on the surrounding islands as well.

Sandpiper Gallery, located on Sullivan’s Island just a couple of bridges away

after a turbulent layer of breaks. No matter how often I see those gorgeous clusters

of shells, shimmering wet in the sunlight, I still marvel at the beauty that nature

is capable of creating,” says Doberstein. This is abundantly clear in her sublime oil Joined at the Hip that takes the viewer right down to the oyster shell in the sand as if in a dream.

Artist Russell Gordon eloquently says, “As a fine art genre, still life has

from downtown, is a great example. Artist Sara Jane Doberstein is appropriately

a long and grand tradition. Rendering common table items such as flowers,

abundance and variety of shells that wash up on our shores is remarkable. “As

silvery light of the Netherlands, the artist of the Dutch Golden Era created

represented there, as it is a beach gallery. Her expertise in rendering the natural the prevailing winds sweep along the coast, they shape the shoreline with the movement of the waves. Clusters of seashells are deposited along the beach in the SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

fruits and vegetables, books and papers, and often fish and oysters in the soft masterpieces. Those works were enormously influential on me as a student.” The influence of the Old Masters definitely shines through in Gordon’s work, as Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

41


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY ART IN THE SOUTH

seen in his timeless and exquisite oils Southern Supper and Still Life with Oysters. He somehow transcends the realism genre with a soft-

edged luminosity that his modern viewpoint brings to the subject. “Opening the oyster reveals even more beauty in modulations of its

cerulean and purple, shiny paperwhite and viridian interior. At once brilliantly iridescent and determinedly pale, both an impenetrable stronghold and a fragile ecological bellwether, the oyster is replete in symbolism for viewers in our time, as well as of ages ago,” says

Gordon. In his lively oil Hail Chaos, he has combined contemporary dancing symbolism with rich colorful realism to masterful results.

Gordon is one of over 20 fine artists represented by the Wells

Gallery, the premier art gallery at The Sanctuary Resort on Kiawah Island. He is in exceptional company with artists such as Stephen Scott Young, Karen Larson Turner and Jonathan Green. Another

Wells Gallery artist to look out for is Spruill Hayes, a Wilmington,

North Carolina, native that moved to Charleston in 2008. Her

coastal upbringing, rich use of color and love of oils to achieve a high

level of detail make a lasting impression on the viewers of her work. When I first saw her jovial painting Ready to Roast, I immediately smiled and remembered all those Hobcaw Creek oyster roasts years

ago. I love when paintings make you smile. Once I started looking

at more of her work, it happened again. Oysters All ‘Round, a festive 42

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


Left: Oysters All ‘Round by Spruill Hayes, oil Opposite Southern Supper by Russell Gordon, oil Hail Chaos by Russell Gordon, oil

and colorful plate of oysters on ice, reminded me of countless times around a table of friends being served the same shiny and savory dish, and again I smiled.

Wells Gallery owner, Hume Killian, shares the same

sentiment. “Oysters are often a thing to be shared with friends

during intimate gatherings or openly with complete strangers at big parties. All in all, when I see a painting of an oyster, a

plate of them or a gathering of people enjoying them, I feel we are looking at or being shown a relationship uniquely our own, yet shared with many at the same time,” says Killian.

This special symbiotic reaction to art imitating and enriching

our lives is universal. We naturally recognize parts of ourselves in art, music and, most especially, the food that ultimately gathers us together.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

43


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY ARTIST SPOTLIGHT

Junko Ono Rothwell Local Scenes with a Strong Japanese Aesthetic by Dominique Bourassa, Social Media Coordinator for the Wells Gallery, and Art History student attending Concordia University in Montreal, Canada

J

unko Ono Rothwell is a Japanese-

American artist who, after having received an art degree from Okayama University in

Japan, moved to the United States where

she attended art classes at Cornell University.

She now resides in Atlanta, Georgia, and has said that ever since moving to the United States and beginning painting here, she has noticed her

“strong Japanese aesthetic.” Rothwell draws her

inspiration from the South’s marshes and beautiful

scenery as well as from childhood memories of growing up on the Inland Sea. This allows her to pay “homage to her roots in Asia, even while she continues to paint in the idiom of the West.”1

When admiring a painting such as Kiawah

Marsh, one is instantly taken by its exquisite details

Top: Bowens Island Marsh in October. Bottom: Charleston Rooftop West. All paintings by Junko Ono Rothwell.

and bright color palette, which contrasts with the darker colors that Rothwell was accustomed to

using when living in Japan. Most impressive of all is Rothwell’s ability to capture changing light

and color, which is best explained by the fact that

part of nature. This is what I try to express on

Island’s countless marsh landscapes. It is for her

Rothwell uses color to bring out the mood,

Kiawah. No matter how many times the artist has

my canvas.” 3

she is an artist who regularly paints ‘en plein air.’

movement, and energy of her works. “I do not

being able to “learn and understand more” 2 the

entire paper to create the feeling of movement.

For Rothwell, being an open-air painter means subject at hand and, indeed, she has stated that

“when I stand in a field, I can watch the water rise at high tide, smell the ocean, hear the birds and

taste the salt air. When I paint on location I see and feel everything vividly, as if I have become 44

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

block each color, but try to flow colors over the

Color brings each painting to life.” 4 It is in this

creative state of mind and with this color interplay

marsh scenes that Rothwell is best known on

painted marshes, she always remains “impressed at

how the sun lights up the marsh and changes its colors and moods at different seasons of the year.” 5 Kiawah residents and visitors feel the same way.

The timelessness of Junko Ono’s work is due

that Junko Ono Rothwell creates paintings for

to her drive to continuously improve and refine her

include images of Charleston as well as Kiawah

ever look the same to her a second time. Through

the Wells Gallery on Kiawah Island. These works

technique and, as such, no marsh or landscape will

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


Clockwise from top left: Shrimp Boats; Gulls on Afternoon Beach; Kiawah Marsh; and Red Shovel. All paintings by Junko Ono Rothwell.

her various travels, such as when she visits her family in Japan for one month every year, the artist always makes time to study, sketch and, perhaps,

paint the new landscape she is surrounded by, which provides her with new and fresh approaches.

When asked what she would be if she wasn’t

an artist, Junko Ono Rothwell replies, “I can only say that I’m interested in anthropology and history.

But even if I had some other job, I would have become an artist eventually. I’m happiest when SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

I’m completely focused in the moment, when I’m

respect that Junko Ono holds for her craft; she is

1

3

painting.” This insight reflects the passion and 6

Junko Ono Rothwell. 2004. “A Lesson From The East: Unite Asian traditions with Western materials and techniques to create evocative still lifes in pastel.” Accessed May 16, 2017. Available at: http://junkoonorothwell.com/ArtistsMagazine.pdf . 2

The Fire House Gallery. 2007. An Environmental Eye—Junko Ono Rothwell Captures Georgia’s Precious Wetlands, 3. Accessed May 16, 2017. Available at: http://junkoonorothwell.com/ DowntownerArticle.pdf.

an artist at heart and will forever remain so. Ibid.

4

“Junko Ono Rothwell—Wells Gallery.” wellsgallery.com. Accessed May 16, 2017. Available at: http://www.wellsgallery.com/ searchresults.php?artistId=8660&artistname=+. 5

Ibid.

6

Rothwell, “A Lesson From The East: Unite Asian traditions with Western materials and techniques to create evocative still lifes in pastel.” Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

45


Festive Ideas for Entertaining THE MENU Appetizers Ultimate Bloody Mary Henry’s Cheese Spread with Crackers

Main Course Oysters Rockefeller Savannah Pumpkin Soup Crown Pork Roast with Apple Stuffing Apple Tart with Salted Caramel

46

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY LET’S SET THE TABLE

The Magic Is in the Details Tablescape by Beth Blalock Table photography by Ashley Blalock

A

utumn in the South is a magical interlude, when our landscape changes from

verdant greens to vibrant yellows, reds and oranges. Our marsh grass takes on a golden glow as the sweltering summer sun cools down and winter is yet to

unveil its chilly grasp—a beautiful time of year to gather around with friends and dine in the garden.

A Simple Menu for the Reluctant Entertainer Keep it simple, but create a little magic with just a spoonful of imagination, a dash of time and a few dollops of courage.

Our garden table is set with gold chargers and

lovely Italian hand-painted glass plates topped with vintage, gold-trimmed oyster plates, perfect for serving Oysters Rockefeller. Oyster shells, hand-painted gold,

serve as individual salt and pepper dishes provided at each place setting. Bamboo servingware, leopard candlesticks, antique green glasses with hand-painted

Champagne flutes and a tropical arrangement in a vintage green vase sit on top of a gorgeous mandala tapestry tablecloth.

The Beauty of Vintage Oyster Plates For those of you who love vintage china and dinnerware, these oyster plates are treasures from the past worth holding on to. I adore old oyster plates with all their different sizes,

shapes and patterns. They’ve been around for a long, long

time, dating back to the Victorian Era, when serving oysters on the half shell first became a delicacy.

Because oyster shells are heavy and could easily

scratch delicate china, the oyster plates were used to serve the oysters without the shell while maintaining the stylish half shell appearance. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

47


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY LET’S SET THE TABLE

ULTIMATE BLOODY MARY Makes 1 cocktail

W

hen the temperatures drop, there’s nothing more festive than greeting

guests with a signature drink. The most important part of a Bloody Mary is

the tomato juice. Use the highest quality you can find, preferably not from concentrate. ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 ounces vodka

¼ teaspoon soy sauce

4 ounces tomato juice

½ teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

¼ lemon, cut into a small wedge

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 crab claw, 1 basil sprig and one slice bacon, cooked crispy for garnish

¼ teaspoon hot sauce ½ teaspoon horseradish

Fill glass with ice. Add Worcestershire, soy, black pepper, cayenne, hot sauce and horseradish to the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Fill shaker with ice and add vodka, tomato juice and juice of a

lemon wedge. Shake vigorously, taste for seasoning and adjust as necessary. Strain into ice-filled glass. Garnish with crab claw, a sprig of basil and one slice of bacon, cooked crispy.

HENRY’S CHEESE SPREAD

Inspired by Henry’s on Market Street, Charleston

SAVANNAH PUMPKIN SOUP Serves 8

10 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

5 cups pumpkin purée

2 ounces lager or ale

1 quart vegetable stock

Juice of 1 lemon

1/3 cup maple syrup

2 tablespoons Worchestershire sauce

½ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon horseradish, drained

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

2 teaspoons Tabasco sauce

Kosher salt to taste

1½ teaspoons dry mustard

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

1 garlic clove, minced

Sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds for garnish

Remove lid and scoop

out seeds and fibers.

Sprinkle inside of each with

sugar and salt. Place squash and lids on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 30 minutes

depending on size. Do not overcook your bowls or they will become soggy.

Turban squash for use as bowls Combine all

ingredients in

In a stockpot, heat the pumpkin purée with the

food processor

the mixture to a blender or food processor and

the bowl of a

and pulse until the mixture

is smooth and spreadable.

Transfer to a

decorative bowl and serve with your favorite crackers, carrot sticks or celery. 48

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

stock and maple syrup until simmering. Transfer purée until nice and smooth. Add cream, nutmeg and seasoning and blend again. Reheat if needed and serve in hollowed-out pumpkins or turban squash. Sprinkle sunflower seeds for garnish.

To create bowl: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Use

a paring knife to cut a large circle around the

turban squash and cut through the turban top. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER Makes 24 oysters

C

reated in 1899 at the famous Antoine’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Oysters Rockefeller gained its name comparing the richness of the dish to the

richest man of the time, John D. Rockefeller. The original

recipe remains a secret, but this version is about as rich as it gets. It requires a few steps, but it’s well worth the extra effort.

24 fresh oysters, shucked and placed back in the shell 4 tablespoons butter 2 teaspoons fresh garlic, minced ¼ cup panko bread crumbs 1/3 cup scallions, finely minced 3 tablespoons Parmesan, grated 2 cups fresh baby spinach, packed ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped 1 tablespoon celery, minced 3 tablespoons white wine or Pernod Salt and pepper to taste 3 pounds rock salt 3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled ¼ cup dry white wine 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon fresh shallots 2 teaspoons Tabasco 4 tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cubed Preheat oven to 450ºF. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Set aside. Transfer half

the garlic butter to a bowl and toss with panko,

For the beurre

scallions and Parmesan. Set aside.

blanc, combine wine,

spinach, parsley and celery in remaining garlic

and Tabasco in a saucepan

Return pan to medium heat and cook

butter. Deglaze pan with Pernod or white wine and cook until all liquid evaporates, 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Set aside.

Spread rock salt evenly onto a baking sheet.

Nestle oysters into salt and top each oyster with ½

teaspoon spinach mixture, then with bread crumb mixture and cooked and crumbled bacon. Roast

oysters until they begin to curl and bread crumbs are golden, about 10 minutes. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

lemon juice, shallots

over high heat. Cook until liquid is reduced by half,

5 minutes. Off heat, whisk in butter, 1 tablespoon

at a time, until melted and

incorporated before adding the

next. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon beurre blanc over oysters

while still warm, then serve right away. Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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CROWN PORK ROAST WITH APPLE STUFFING Serves 12 to 14 10 pounds pork rib roast (about 12 to 14 ribs), Frenched 1 bunch thyme, leaves only 1 small bunch fresh sage, leaves only 2 cloves garlic, minced Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

For stuffing: 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 3 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 4 leaves fresh sage 4 sprigs fresh thyme 2 large onions, diced small kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 granny smith apples, cored and cut into small wedges 1½ cups pecans, chopped 2 large eggs, lightly beaten ¾ cup heavy cream 1½ cups chicken stock 5 cups sourdough bread, crusts removed and torn into small pieces ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

the bones with a boning knife. Make a small

chopped parsley. Use a wooden spoon to mix the

easily wrap the roast into a circle. Rub the pork all

and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

cut into the meat in between each rib so you can

over with the herb mixture. With the ribs on the

dressing until well combined. Season with salt

Mound stuffing in cavity. Wrap tips of rib

outside, wrap the roast into a circle so the ends

bones with foil to prevent burning. Roast pork

are doing this by yourself, use a skewer to help

with foil after 30 minutes, until an instant-read

meet and secure with kitchen twine. Note: If you hold the roast’s shape while you wrap the twine.

Place in a roasting pan. Add any scraps into

the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle roast inside and out with salt and pepper. Set aside to bring the

in middle of oven, covering stuffing loosely

thermometer registers 155ºF when inserted 2 inches into center of meat. (do not allow it to touch the bone), 2¼ to 2¾ hours total.

Transfer roast to a carving board and let

Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling over stuffing

pork to room temperature prior to cooking.

stand, loosely covered with foil, 15 to 20 minutes.

For pan sauce:

skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, garlic,

slightly pink.

11/2 cups water ¼ cup red-currant or apple jelly Preheat oven to 375ºF. Set rack on the bottom third of the oven to give it plenty of room.

In a small bowl, or with a mortar and pestle,

combine thyme, sage, garlic and salt and pepper, to taste. Mash together, breaking up herbs and garlic. Add oil and combine using the pestle.

To French, clean the meat off the ends of

50

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

Stuffing: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Heat large

sage and thyme until the herbs crackle. Remove

Temperature will rise to 160ºF and meat will be Pan Sauce: Skim fat from pan dripping.

garlic, sage and thyme and discard. Add onions to

Straddle pan across 2 burners and add water, then

caramelized, about 15 to 20 minutes. Season with

and scraping up brown bits. Pour through a fine

pan and cook slowly over medium-low heat until salt and pepper. Transfer onions to a bowl. Add

apple wedges and pecans to the skillet and gently sauté. Lightly toast the pecans and soften the apples, about 5 minutes.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk

together the egg, cream and chicken stock. Add bread, caramelized onions, apple mixture and

deglaze pan by boiling over high heat, stirring sieve into a saucepan and discard solids.

Add the red-currant or apple jelly and

simmer. Whisk and skim off any fat that rises,

until jelly is melted, about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into a gravy boat and serve with the roast. Remove foil from roast and carve into chops by cutting between ribs.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


APPLE TART WITH SALTED CARAMEL Serves 12 14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight 3 to 4 medium apples 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into small bits ¼ cup granulated sugar 2 tablespoons unsalted butter ¼ teaspoon flaky sea salt 2 tablespoons heavy cream Heat oven to 400ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. A smaller SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

pan will make a

Bake for 30

you might need

edges are brown.

thicker tart and

minutes until

fewer apples.

Apples should feel

Lightly flour

your counter and

soft to the touch. Make glaze

lay out your pastry. Flour the top and gently roll it

in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

there. Roll it out to the size you need for your pan.

until liquefied and a nice copper color. Remove

until it fits inside your baking sheet, and transfer it Peel apples and cut them in half top-to-

bottom. Remove cores and stems with a paring knife. Slice apple halves crosswise as thinly

as you can with a knife or mandolin. Leave a

½-inch border and fan the apples around the tart, slightly overlapping each slice. Each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4 inch

Melt ¼ cup sugar and stir for about 3 minutes from heat and add sea salt and butter and stir

until incorporated. Add heavy cream and return to the stove. Cook while stirring until you have a caramel syrup, about another 2 minutes. Set aside. Rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

Brush the entire tart, even the pastry.

of the previous apple will be visible. Sprinkle

Return to the oven for 5 minutes until the glaze

sugar, then dot with two tablespoons butter.

scoop of French vanilla ice cream. Yum!

apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of

is bubbly. Cool and cut into slices. Serve with a

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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On a

Silver Platter

Raise a Glass to Susan Mason, the Grand Dame of Savannah Hospitality by Pat Branning Photography by Ashley Blalock Recipes courtesy of Meta Adler and Susan Mason 52

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY CELEBRATIONS

W

e Southerners simply delight at the

We arrived at her home at noon and were greeted by

opportunity to throw a party, and

Susan at the front door and handed a glass of wine. Susan’s new

celebration. A celebration of any sort

luncheon menu.

we love to treat any occasion as a lights a fire under us and sends us

partner, Meta Adler, was in the kitchen preparing our wonderful

I noticed a brightly colored round table set in the front room

scurrying about the house fluffing the pillows and bringing out

with lovely flowers and vintage china and glassware. “I learned a

tomato sandwiches and cheese straws to feed the multitudes.

York Times food editor] Craig Claiborne,” she said. “Always put

grandmothers “silvuh.” Then we feel compelled to make enough “Delicious and gorgeous are the two

words I hope people use to describe every

valuable lesson about entertaining from [cookbook author and New people at round tables because a round table

party I cater,” says Susan Mason. While

THE MENU

for our new magazine, she invited me and

Ferrari-Carano Chardonnay

Susan and I were discussing doing a feature

a couple of our team members over to her home for lunch in historic Savannah.

Avocado Senegalese Soup Piedmont Peppers and Grape Tomatoes

generates wonderful conversations.”

Opposite: Susan Mason and her partner, Meta Adler, in their kitchen. Below: The table is set and ready for a three-course lunch. Recipes follow.

Susan’s Shrimp Salad Carolina Trifle

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LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY CELEBRATIONS

AVOCADO SENEGALESE SOUP Serves 8 to 10

M

eta serves this refreshing soup in a

beautiful terrine placed in the center of the

dinner table. She serves her guests, then passes the

coconut and avocado in bowls for guests to garnish their soup themselves.

minutes. Add the diced apple and 4 cups of the chicken stock. Increase the heat to high and

bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to

a simmer and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, until the apples are tender. Remove the mixture

4 large red bell peppers 3 pints grape tomatoes 4 cloves garlic, minced ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

from the heat.

Salt, to taste

length-wise. Remove the pit, then take a paring

8-10 basil leaves, cut into thin strips

Take one of the avocados and cut it in half

knife and cut the flesh in a criss-cross fashion to create cubes, being careful just to cut to the skin and not through it. Use a spoon and scoop out the avocado cubes.

In a food processor,

add ½ an avocado and ½

8 anchovies

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Cut the bell peppers in half length-wise

and remove the seeds. In a bowl, add the grape tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and salt. Toss the ingredients to combine.

Place the pepper, cut side up, on a sheet

of the stock mixture and

pan. Press 2 whole anchovies into the bottom of

until the mixture is very

the peppers, and stuff them into the middle of the

process in a food processor smooth.Repeat with

the remaining soup and

avocado. Pour the mixture

each pepper. Next, divide the tomatoes among

pepper. Drizzle the remaining olive oil and garlic over the peppers.

Bake the peppers for one hour. When

into a bowl and add the

they are done, remove them from the oven

and heavy cream. Stir until

immediately or allow them to cool and serve at

remaining chicken broth

well combined. Season with salt. Allow the soup to cool

and sprinkle the basil over the peppers. Serve room temperature.

to room temperature, and

4 tablespoons butter 2 white onions, chopped (about 4 cups)

then place in the refrigerator and chill.

Garnish the soup with the toasted coconut

and the remaining avocado, cut into thin slices.

2 stalks celery, minced (about 1 cup) 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon curry powder 1 green apple, peeled and diced (about 3 ½ cups) 8 cups chicken stock, divided 3 avocados 2 cups heavy cream 1½ teaspoons salt 1 cup toasted coconut In a large pot, melt the butter over medium

heat. Add the onions and celery and sauté until

they become translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the flour and curry powder, and stir constantly until blended and the flour is cooked, about 3 54

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

PIEDMONT PEPPERS AND GRAPE TOMATOES Serves 8

T

his recipe comes from Meta’s

friend Gaye. She met

her one day in the produce

SUSAN’S SHRIMP SALAD Recipe courtesy of Susan Mason Serves 4

2 pounds medium shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails removed 1 stalk celery, finely chopped 3 hard cooked eggs, peeled and grated ½ teaspoon white pepper ½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

section of Fresh Market,

To cook the shrimp, bring a pot of salted water

to lunch the next day, at which she served these

turn pink, about 3 minutes. Drain. Combine

where she introduced herself and invited Meta

peppers. Always make sure to serve these peppers with a crusty baguette to soak up all the lovely infused olive oil.

to a boil. Drop the shrimp in and cook until they shrimp, celery and eggs in a bowl. Add the pepper and mayonnaise to the shrimp salad and toss. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Top: Susan Mason’s Piedmont Peppers and Shrimp Salad. Left: Susan with a tray of hors d’oeuvres. Below: A portrait of Susan in the living room of her downtown Savannah home.

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LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY CELEBRATIONS

CAROLINA TRIFLE Serves 8 to 10

E

very host and hostess in the South has to have a trifle recipe in his or her

repertoire. It is a beautiful statement dessert that can be put together quickly.

The trick is to never feel like you are cheating if you use a store-bought pound cake. For the custard:

1 pint heavy whipping cream

2/3 cup sugar

Powdered sugar, to taste

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1 large Sara Lee pound cake

¼ teaspoon salt

2 pints strawberries

2 cups whole milk

Dry sherry

4 egg yolks

Fresh mint

2 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 teaspoon almond extract In a small saucepan, combine sugar, cornstarch, salt

and milk. Heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture becomes thick and bubbly, about

7 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 minutes.

Separate the eggs and place the yolks in a small

bowl. Slowly pour ½ of the milk mixture into the eggs

while whisking constantly. Once the mixture is tempered, add the remaining milk and return the mixture to the

saucepan. Heat for 2 minutes over low heat, until the mixture

is very thick. Remove from heat, and stir in the butter, vanilla

extract, and almond extract. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, and then chill in the refrigerator.

Place chilled whipping cream into a bowl, and beat

with a hand-held mixer, until the cream just begins to

form peaks. Add the powdered sugar and beat until the cream forms stiff peaks. Refrigerate whipped cream until it is time to assemble the trifle.

To assemble the trifle, cut the pound cake

into ¼- to ½-inch slices. Wash the strawberries, cut off the tops and cut into thin slices. In a

trifle bowl, place one layer of pound cake on the bottom and sprinkle with sherry. Top

the pound cake with a layer of strawberries,

then a layer of custard, followed by a layer of

whipped cream. Repeat. Finish the trifle with a topping of whipped cream and garnish with fresh mint. 56

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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Susan Mason’s Tips on Entertaining with Style Silver Collections Silver on the Southern table has long been the

ultimate component needed to add graciousness. It is unequalled. It became a Southern icon early

on and continues to this day—there is simply

nothing like old silver to add instant refinement to any gathering. “I love looking through my

clients’ collections of silver,” says Susan. “Many

have beautiful pieces that they have inherited or collected over the years. Opening the closet is so

exciting and I can pick out the perfect pieces to use for their party.”

“My favorite party to cater is the cocktail

party because I can show off my food so easily on other people’s beautiful silver and china.”

Ambience Beauty is about honoring your guests by creating an environment filled with magical touches.

plenty of candles—candles of different shapes and

candlelight, flickering votives and flameless pillars

flowers, such as sprays of cymbidium orchids.

flicker of a flame can enhance the mood of a space

sizes everywhere. “I often decorate my trays with “While there are many things that can go

Silver trays can be arranged with elements

wrong when you entertain, there is one thing you

leaves, cabbages, fruits of the season, flowers and

it however you can—mood lighting in the form of

from the outside, such as bright, shiny green

can always control and that is the ambience. Create

is so important. It’s remarkable how one teeny, tiny so dramatically.”

Susan says, ”My clients have great confidence

in me and my staff and know that I’ll have flowers on the tables, candles lit and music playing.”

“People love my cabbages. I find one really good head of cabbage, then I start pulling leaves from maybe thirty others. We pin all those extra leaves to the cabbage and spray the whole thing with nonstick spray and polish it. It looks gorgeous! Then I put the cabbage masterpiece on a meat tray.”

“I decorate cheese trays by scattering tons of raspberries over the whole platter or tucking Champagne grapes in between the cheeses. I wouldn’t think of doing a party without my famous tomato sandwiches. I put rows of the little round sandwiches on platters with a snippet of parsley in the middle of each one to decorate it, then I scatter little grape tomatoes all over the platter.”

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57


LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY CELEBRATIONS

SUSAN’S FRIED OYSTERS WITH TARRAGON TARTAR Serves 10 to 12

“I

serve these oysters on silver teaspoons. I put a dollop of tarragon tartar sauce in each spoon and lay an oyster on top. I place a silver bowl in the center of

the tray for the discarded spoons and pass around the tray for rave reviews.” 1 cup good mayonnaise

2 tablespoons capers

3 shallots, chopped

1 pint shucked oysters

1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar

1 to 11/2 cups McCormick Golden

2 tablespoons fresh tarragon, chopped

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

Dipt All Purpose Breading Mix Vegetable oil for frying

For the tartar sauce, mix the mayonnaise, shallots, tarragon vinegar, tarragon and capers together in a bowl and set aside.

Heat 4 cups oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Throw in a

drop of water. When it sizzles, the oil is ready.

Pick through oysters to remove any shells. Pour the coating mixture

into a shallow bowl. Be sure to dry oysters with paper towels. Dredge oysters in the coating. Fry on medium-high, turning once, until they curl and are

golden brown, about 5 minutes total. Drain on paper towels. Serve while hot. Serve each oyster on top of a dollop of tartar sauce in a silver teaspoon.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


SUSAN AND META’S SALMON MOUSSE

SUSAN’S SAVANNAH CRAB CAKES

Makes 2 1-quart fish molds

Serves 10

“M

eta and I have been busy developing recipes for a new cookbook. We

don’t know for sure if this will be in there but we believe it is the most

delicious Salmon Mousse ever! Try it and see for yourself.”—Susan Mason 2 packs gelatin

1 cup heavy cream

½ cup cold water

1 cup mayonnaise

1 cup boiling water

¾ teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons dill, finely chopped

3 tablespoons lemon juice

½ cup onion, grated

4 16-ounce cans red salmon

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 16-ounce cans pink salmon

“M

y crab cakes are the most popular thing I do. It is my signature dish. I feel like I could have a party and serve only crab cakes and tomato

sandwiches and everybody would be happy. The reason my crab cakes are so

good is they have no filler—they are simply the best jumbo lump crabmeat with mayonnaise, eggs and some seasonings. They are made by Annette Jackson and for years people have been asking for her recipe. ‘I can’t tell you that. You want me to lose my job,’ says Annette. But she finally gave in and has allowed us to share.”—Susan Mason

½ cup Hellmann’s mayonnaise

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

1 dash Worcestershire sauce

2 green scallions, white and tender

2 large egg yolks

with green parts finely chopped In a glass bowl,

soak the gelatin

2 pounds jumbo lump crabmeat

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

6 cups fresh bread crumbs

2 teaspoons Old Bay Seasoning

Vegetable oil for frying

in the cold

water. Bring

1 cup of water to a boil, and

then add to the gelatin. Stir

until the gelatin dissolves, then add the apple cider vinegar and lemon

juice. Place

the mixture

in the refrigerator to cool and thicken. The mixture should be thick but still pourable and not completely set.

Pick through the salmon and remove all the bones. This should yield

4-5 cups salmon meat. In a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the cream on high until stiff peaks are formed, about 7 minutes. Combine the salmon meat with the mayonnaise, salt, dill, onion and Worcestershire sauce. Mix

well and then gently fold in the whipped cream. Add the cooled gelatin to the salmon and mix until thoroughly combined.

Spray 2 1-quart fish molds with non-stick spray. Pour in the salmon

mousse, splitting the mixture equally between the two molds. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to serve, unmold the mousse onto a silver platter garnished

with lemon slices and watercress. Use pimento-stuffed olive slices to make eyes, and thinly sliced cucumbers as scales. Serve with wafer crackers. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

Mix together the mayonnaise, bell pepper, green onion, mustard, Old Bay

Seasoning, cayenne, Worcestershire sauce and egg yolks. Gently stir in the

crabmeat. Put bread crumbs on a cookie sheet. Mold the crab cake with one hand and pat the cake with bread crumb using the other hand. Form 10

crab cakes and fry in the oil, turning three or four times until crispy on the outside, about 5 minutes each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve hot.

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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LIFE IN THE LOWCOUNTRY PHOTO ESSAY

McIntosh County Shouters— An American Treasure Keeping a GullahGeechee Heritage Alive

Narrative is an important part of each performance, setting the historical context.

by Pat Branning Photography by Brian Brown

T

ucked away in a field in rural Georgia, surrounded by live oak trees just off Highway 99, sits the Mount Calvary Baptist Church, organized in 1890 and home of the McIntosh County

Shouters, the oldest living African-American “ring

shouters” surviving in North America. The church is a humble, one-story, cinder block building painted white with stained glass windows and an indigo-colored roof

set in the community of Bolden, Georgia, just about 25

The chains are removed during the Emancipation reenactment.

miles north of St. Simons Island.

A Joyful, Joyful Feeling Alan Lomax, the 20th century’s greatest collector of American folk

“The only people can shout is right here. Calvary was the stopping place

music recordings, once said, “The Georgia Sea Islands are the home of the

of the shout because we kept the tradition going. We never let it go by,” says

along the coast since they were first brought here as slaves. The Gullah and

Slave Songs of the Georgia Sea Islands, by Lydia Parrish, features some of

American song.” Music has been central to the lives of African-Americans

McIntosh County Shouter Catherine Campbell.

Geechee—whose descendants populate the coast today—came from different

the earliest shout songs from the Georgia coast. These early songs, along with

in the ring shout. This is a hypnotic, counterclockwise shuffle accompanied by

Rosenbaum, an eminent folklorist and professor emeritus at the University

nations with different languages, but they shared a common musical heritage

call and response singing, the percussion coming only from clapping hands and sticks beating drum-like rhythms on a wooden floor. But, notably, during their performances, the Limehouse McIntosh County Shouters do not cross their feet. Painting is of Ms. Frankie That would be considered dancing and that is forbidden. 60

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

stories and folklore from Africa, exist among the sea islands to this day. Art

of Georgia, spent years gathering material for his 1988 book, Shout Because You’re Free: The African Ring Shout Tradition in Coastal Georgia, and a related

documentary for public television titled Down Yonder With the McIntosh County Shouters.

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


The movement of the shouters is methodical, taking care to shuffle and not dance.

A rare moment of repose.

Several members of the shouters take part in narrative.

the Emancipation, slave owners often left supervision

to black overseers due to the difficult climate, with the result that there were fewer whites in proportion to Traditional dress is an important element of each performance.

One of the oldest Bolden community members, Benjamin Skipper, born

in 1924, told Rosenbaum he remembered ring shouts being performed after

midnight every year on “Watch Night,” which commemorates gatherings of

African-Americans on New Year’s Eve in 1862, who came together to await

blacks farther inland; and, post-Emancipation, many

blacks gained possession of parcels of land—and,

although life remained a struggle, they could work

their own farms and live in relatively cohesive communities.” From those

centuries of tradition, the McIntosh County Shouters have kept their unique music alive.

The present generation of McIntosh County Shouters has become an

President Abraham Lincoln’s January 1, 1863, signing of the Emancipation

American treasure. In 2006, Smithsonian Folkways reissued Slave Shouts

Rosenbaum describes why this culture and tradition has remained intact

Governor’s Award for the Arts & Humanities. They’ve performed at the John

Proclamation.

all these years.

“There are many reasons why: the areas were closer to the points of slaves’

declaration; tribal language groups who retained African skills such as rice cultivation were not broken up as much on the coast during slavery times; before SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

From the Coast of Georgia. The same year, the Shouters received the Georgia F. Kennedy Center and the Library of Congress, and were named Master

Artists by the National Endowment for the Arts for keeping a Gullah-

Geechee heritage alive. If you ever get the chance, try to catch a performance by this group that is both entertaining and uplifting in their message.

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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AD Sea Eagle

www.seaeaglemarket.com

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SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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Seasonal Eats SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

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SEASONAL EATS FARMSTAND FRESH

Turnip Greens Country Market, Darien, Georgia A Treasure of the Coast

by Pat Branning | Photography by Brian Brown

S

ometimes the best life experiences happen while sitting

watermelon rind pickles and

on a nail keg or in a straight back chair in a little

pickled okra to blueberry syrup

country store, swapping personal recollections and

and cheese straws, non-perishable

stories with friends and neighbors. It’s a part of

items line the shelves.

Americana. The tapestry of our small towns along

“I can’t tell you how many times

the coast is woven not only from the richness of the earth and

natural beauty of the sea, but from the souls of people who run stores

that harken back to long ago. Each and all of these stores are among the

we hear from a customer that this store

reminds them of the little corner store they walked

to when they were children,” says Cathy Pendley, who owns

treasures of the coast.

and operates Turnip Greens with her husband, Danny.

you’ll find part of our heritage that no pen or camera will ever capture. You’ll

of the store as farmers harvest their crops and bring them to town. Canewater

happen to be near Darien, Georgia, stop in at Turnip Greens, 109 North

that sell their produce to Turnip Greens.

If you get off the interstate and travel the countryside on backroads,

get nowhere in a hurry, but you’ll get a glimpse of times gone by. And if you

Walton Street, in historic downtown Darien. It’s a specialty food market styled like an old-time country store featuring seasonal Georgia produce, straight

from South Georgia farms, and made-in-Georgia food items and gifts. From 64

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

This fall, Indian corn, squashes and pumpkins overflow the center aisles

Farm, Pittman Family Farms and Georgia Olive Farms are just a few of those

“People come into the store all the time looking for turnip greens,” Cathy

says with a smile. “We just wanted folks to hear the name and know it stands for a Southern country market.”

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Above: Turnip Greens at 109 North Walton Street. Left: The produce is sourced from local farms. Below: Cathy Pendley owns and operates the store with her husband, Danny.

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SEASONAL EATS ROADSIDE RETREATS

Roll right up to the front of the shack and park under an

ancient live oak. Although Charleston is only 20 minutes north,

Bowens Island A Briny, South Carolina Seafood Shack Photography by Cramer Gallimore

A

this place is remote and scarcely looks like a place to eat. The restaurant itself is coastal shack construction, two levels with

outside stairs and decks that look slapped together from wellweathered, faded wood. While the main building is to the left,

walk across the oyster shell parking lot to a screened-in dining deck extending out to the Folly River. There you’re likely to meet

the owner, the Bowens’ grandson, Robert Barber. “Ours

are local oysters,” he’ll tell you. “Most come to us from within 500 yards to a mile from here.”

Most days, a couple of men go out in small flat-

t Bowens Island Restaurant, a defiantly

bottomed boats to pick oysters. They get down in the pluff

and many worlds—from downtown

break up the clusters. They leave the smaller ones behind

gritty, riverside joint eight miles— Charleston in Folly Beach, jagged

clusters of oysters are steamed in a

kitchen that might remind you of a hobo’s canteen, and

served in metal buckets encrusted with pluff mud. Stop beside the fire pit to pick up a few. Pry ’em open with a worn knife and a rag, then wash ’em down with beer.

To get here, head south out of Charleston and take

a left onto Folly Road going toward the beach. A sign for

Bowens Seafood, just a little beyond a sign that welcomes

mud to gather them off the banks, using a hammer to to give the newly born oysters a hard surface to cling to. The oyster starts its life as a squiggly, squirmy character. It

takes almost two years until it gets decent-sized. Barber’s

oysters are the same species that grow in the Gulf and elsewhere up and down the East Coast, but exactly where

they grow and the constitution of their beds determine their cluster form and their flavor.

Be sure to grab a beer and hang out by the fire pit,

where oysters on a grate steam each night under burlap

motorists to the “Edge of America,” will take you onto a narrow, rutted dirt

sacks. The cooking process takes only a few minutes and infuses the meat of

but rather the end of a desolate peninsula surrounded by the creeks and coastal

knifes are provided for prying the shells open and cutting the meat loose. Paper

road across a large expanse of marshland. Bowens Island is not an island at all,

marshes of the Lowcountry. Roll the windows down and catch the warm, salty breezes, and turn all thoughts immediately to succulent oysters.

66

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

the oyster with its own juices, concentrating the flavor. Washcloths and dull

cups full of a thin, red cocktail sauce made tangy and hot with horseradish and Texas Pete further enhance the flavor. The cocktail sauce recipe comes from

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Barber’s grandmother, May Bowen, who, with her husband, Jimmy, started

the restaurant at their fish camp in 1946. The place soon became a favorite spot for those looking for fresh-off-the-boat oysters and shrimp. Before the

humble, cinder block fish camp burned down in 2006, the main restaurant was covered in decades’ worth of graffiti scrawled by loyal customers. In July 2010, it reopened in a large, screened-in room on 18-foot stilts with one of the best marsh views around.

Known for its no-frills service, creekside sunset views and its oyster

room, where steaming oysters are shoveled directly from the fire pit onto rough

wooden tables, the restaurant won the prestigious James Beard Foundation

Award in 2006. It was named one of eight “American Classic Restaurants” that boast timeless appeal and quality food that reflects the history and character of

its community. Owner Robert Barber accepted the award in New York City, wearing a tuxedo and white shrimping boots.

May this special place live on forever, bringing joy to oyster lovers

everywhere who are lucky enough to stumble upon this slice of seafood heaven.

Top left: Creekside dining at Bowens Island Restaurant. Top right: Oyster shells waiting to be reseeded. Above: Both regulars and first-timers belly up to the bar. Opposite: Bowens Island is known for the grafitti in its dining room.

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SEASONAL EATS COOKBOOK REVIEW

The Heart of the South Johnathon Scott Barrett ‘s Cook & Tell: Recipes and Stories from Southern Kitchens

by Elena Richards

J

ohnathon Scott Barrett is a seventh-

I was introduced to the book by a friend,

generation Georgian and author with

Cook & Tell is as

Amy Paige Condon, most recently the editor of

hosts and the traditions that make them

much a literary

editor, and an excellent home chef. When I got to

a deep appreciation of fine food, great

memorable. His second cookbook, Cook &

Savannah magazine, a wonderful writer, cookbook

celebration as

her chapter and saw the recipe, Amy’s Chicken

published by Mercer University Press, is a

culinary: a collection

planning to make that queen of comfort foods for

reminiscing. Through the anecdotes and cherished

of the foodways

Tell: Recipes and Stories from Southern Kitchens, warm and entertaining journal of recipes and

Pot Pie, I chuckled with delight. I had been

my husband before leaving town on a work trip, and already had the ingredients on hand. Hungry

memories of friends, colleagues and seasoned

of the South told

to try it out, we got in the kitchen together and

the South: its kitchens and tables, its potlucks

in the kind of

broth roux forms the base for white-wine poached

chefs, Barrett takes you to visit the real heart of

and parties, its backyard gardens, fruit trees and fishing ponds.

Organized into chapters by story, with one to

several dishes in each, Cook & Tell features accurate

and approachable recipes for both the novice and the practiced cook. But don’t skim it for just the food. Cook & Tell is as much a literary celebration

personable and relaxed style you’ll want to savor.

as culinary: a collection of the foodways of the

the author’s soft Georgia accent, and you feel the

style you’ll want to savor. You can almost hear

each chapter’s friendly introduction.

South told in the kind of personable and relaxed

68

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

respect and affection he has for the contributors in

followed her steps. A flavorful milk and chickenchunks of meat and a soft-cooked mirepoix. The

sauce turned out beautifully. As I licked the back of the spoon I could only think: YUM!

Another recipe I had the pleasure of testing

made for a new experience altogether: a Tennessee Jam Cake, an alluring, dark-colored, spiced

confection loaded with raisins and pecans and covered in a caramel-like glaze. But while I give myself credit as a skilled savory cook, I’ll admit I’m not the best baker. So I called my sister, who SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


is, and, with a little sweet

“I do hope that,

his favorite TV foodie, so

one morning and I got to

when you finish

these two methods on my

ask questions, get tips and,

reading this

date. We whipped it up

Hungry to try it out, we got in the kitchen together and followed her steps. A flavorful milk and chickenbroth roux forms the base for white-wine

but Alton is hands-down

talk, set a bake-a-cake

sous-chef, watch her work,

cookbook, you’ll

a stunning purple while a

feel like you’ve

unexpected richness. We

met a bevy of

hint of cocoa powder lends

good cooks and

backyard yield and big

wonderful souls.”

juicy

blackberries,

the spoon I could only think: YUM!

whole

way through. I’ve never

seen a written recipe for

Brunswick Stew before

now—it was the stuff of Brunswick. When Barrett

mentions fresh Apalachicola oysters, which were

alongside cocktails and Champagne, and formed

thought, mmmm, I know how good those are. Or

book. That night we shared the cake with family our own memories around a new favorite.

Throughout the book, Cook & Tell brims with

our mamas, our taste for good bourbon—that give

there are many acclaimed writers in this anthology,

some of the best stories are from Barrett’s friends, acquaintances

and

neighbors.

Like

buddy

Alphus’ tale of purple broccoli—I won’t ruin the punchline—and a whole cake devoured in

the front seat of a Camaro. Meanwhile “Lost in

Translation,” Sandra Gutierrez’s account of a hilarious faux pas at a potluck dinner, and Barrett’s “The Etiquette and Intricacies of When to Eat a Fried Pie at a Wake,” are laugh-out-loud funny.

You’ll also find little tips and secrets—like

kneading pimento cheese by hand to form the

perfect paste consistency or what to do with those

served at my cousin’s wedding in Tallahassee, I my favorite, Hummingbird Cake, which was my wedding cake, made by my husband’s aunt, who has made wedding cakes for more than twenty

sisters and cousins. I was the first to request this Southern classic, a chance at tradition and, I hoped, trend-setting for the younger cousins.

There’s a recipe for pickled okra, destined for the kind of Bloody Marys which are a Sunday

tradition, and Greek green beans in tomato sauce that remind me of my Spanish mother’s cooking

and could just as easily have been a Southern dish. But while everyone thinks their mother or grandmother was “absolutely the best cook on the

planet,” references to the common experiences of Southerners make us feel at home, or, for the

outsider, beckons them in like a cheerful host at the door.

“I do hope that, when you finish reading this

“inedible” hard Southern pears—which give an

cookbook, you’ll feel like you’ve met a bevy of

way our families make them. Barrett’s chapter

Barrett writes. Cook & Tell does just that. It feels

authentic glimpse into the foods we love and the “Mama Loved Alton Brown” features her version of his shepherd’s pie, and reminded me of my

dad’s signature dish. He always made legendary

chef Paul Prudhomme’s Cajun Shepherd’s Pie,

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making

served it with a buttery whiskey sauce from the

of meat and a soft-

I licked the back of

the

lore, and Dad was born in

us stories worth telling and retelling. And while

out beautifully. As

myself

connections

a

Georgia-grown staple, and

poached chunks

The sauce turned

found

topped it with crumbled

the pleasantries of Southern life—our manners,

cooked mirepoix.

for the best produce, I

new friends, all

pecans saved from my

From picking figs

in the summer heat to

going down to the market

made ours with Mom’s

incredible triple-berry jam,

menu soon. Maybe I’ll make a date with him, too.

of course, lick the beater. The jam turns the batter

I can foresee a mashup of

new friends, all good cooks and wonderful souls,” like a sitting around a table of characters, each

impressive in their own right, sharing memories, recipes and wisdom that will become a treasured part of your kitchen.

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

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SEASONAL EATS RESTAURANT REVIEW

Martha Lou’s Kitchen The Amazing Story of an American Cuisine, Created One Plate at a Time

E

veryone knows that Martha Lou’s serves fried chicken hot and crispy, straight from the

cast iron pan. In fact, they’ve been serving delicious, homemade soul food to Charleston

locals and tourists alike for more than 30 years. Roll-your-eyes-it’s-so-good fried chicken

and pork chops, lima beans, collards and chittlins delight patrons who come for some real down-home comfort food. If you want a fancy ambience with a fancy price tag, you’ll

need to go somewhere else. But if you want some of the best cooking in the South, come on in!

Don’t let the little bright pink building located at 1068 Morrison Drive fool you. It’s been praised

by the New York Times, The Travel Channel and even Martha Stewart as one of Charleston’s finest restaurants. This past spring, Martha Lou’s opened at a second location at 2000-Q McMillan Avenue in North Charleston.

In her 32 years in business on Morrison Drive, Martha Lou Gadsden has always made the restaurant

a family affair. At any given time, upwards of half a dozen of her eight children and grandchildren have

been involved in running Martha Lou’s Kitchen. Now 87, Gadsden, along with her family, is making sure her legacy will carry on for many years to come. The second location

pays homage to Gadsden and will

continue with a menu bearing all the chef ’s hallmarks, including

fried chicken, cornbread and lima

MARTHA LOU’S FRIED CHICKEN Serves 8

W

hile we were there, Martha Lou shared her

famous recipe with us for fried chicken with

a thin, crispy coating and tender, juicy meat. Peanut oil, for frying 4 cups flour

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 2 cups whole milk 2 eggs 2 (3-4 pounds) whole chickens, cut into quarters

beans. The only difference will be

Pour oil into an 8-quart Dutch oven to a depth of

that cater to vegetarians. “It’s all in

deep-fry thermometer reads 325ºF. Place flour in

the addition of some healthier items

her honor,” says her granddaughter Melanie Alston. “We’re dedicating a wall to Martha Lou covered with all her accolades.”

From fried pork chops to bread

pudding, Martha Lou rolls out a daily compendium of African-American

Lowcountry classics to a throng of breakfast and lunch devotees. Get there early and bring cash. 70

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3 inches, and heat over medium-high heat until a a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set

aside. Season chicken all over with salt and pepper. Whisk milk and eggs in a large bowl, and,

working in batches, dip chicken quarters in milk

mixture, then dredge in flour, shaking off excess. Place in oil and fry, turning occasionally, until

chicken is cooked through and dark brown, 15

minutes for white meat, 20 minutes for dark meat. Drain on paper towels and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

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Martha Lou’s by Sandra Roper

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The World Is His Oyster— Year-Round Oyster Farmer Frank Roberts Produces Prizeworthy Oysters from the Pristine Waters of the ACE Basin

by Pat Branning Photography by Andrew Branning

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O

ysters are my all-time favorite seafood, and often my favorite food, period. I can be sitting in an oyster bar, miles from the ocean, and when I eat one I can almost feel sand between my toes and smell salt in the air. So when Frank Roberts told me the South Carolina coast is fast becoming the Napa Valley of oysters, he caught my attention. Oysters are the sea’s version of fine wine; their taste varies with the water they grow in. Just like the chardonnays of California, each oyster is expressive of the locale where it is raised. Currently, there is an oyster renaissance underway in the creeks and rivers of the southeastern United States, from Virginia all the way down to Florida’s Apalachicola Bay. Left: Developing Roberts’ signature Single Lady Oysters—large individual oysters as opposed to clusters or doubles—took years of research to perfect. Single Ladies are 3- to 4-inch, single-shell oysters raised for their wide, ideal fan shape and proportions. Roberts’ oysters are uniform in size and shape with a deep cup, perfect for serving on the half shell.

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Frank Roberts proudly showing off a bin with thousands of baby oysters in creek water.

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The Seabrook mariculture operation equipment.

This region is adopting the aquaculture that

restored a decimated oyster industry in the north, a

Remember the “r”

production year-round.

rule when it comes

practice that has led to a huge boost in local oyster

Remember the “r” rule when it comes to months

when you can eat oysters? Put that rule on ice and read on. The change from cool-weather-only harvesting

to year-round harvesting of local oysters involves farm-harvested selects, part of a growing mariculture

industry in South Carolina. Over the past few years,

oystermen like Roberts along the Gulf and the

to months when you can eat oysters?

to the Lowcountry and saw a paradise. He looked out over the tidal rivers and salt marshes and saw

unlimited potential. But when he first laid eyes on

the Coosaw, he couldn’t believe it. “It was absolutely perfect,” he says, “the best oyster habitat you could

have. At that time, no one was growing single oysters,

so that opportunity was wide open.” Not long after

Put that rule on

moving to the Lowcountry permanently in the early

ice and read on.

oyster farm, Lady’s Island Oysters, Inc, at 35 Hutson

Atlantic have begun raising “off-bottom” oysters in

2000s, he realized his dream of creating his own Road, located just off Highway 21 in Seabrook.

Roberts is a man with a passion who is inspiring

suspended cages to produce uniformly plump selects.

a new generation of farmers to compete with the very best of the East and West

in the hot summer months. The key is doing it right. That’s why in roadside

with a beer. On our trip out to see the oyster cages, Roberts keeps a firm hand

With farm-harvested oysters, there’s no need to shut down harvesting

seafood joints along the coast, saltines and cocktail sauce can be served alongside oysters on the half shell year-round. Even in July? Why not? Just tip

your head back and savor a taste of the sea served in perfectly shucked oysters.

Carolina Mariculture Frank Roberts, a pioneer in Lowcountry oyster mariculture, is a man who came 74

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Coasts. His oysters are perfect for slurping right out of the shell and chasing on the outboard motor of his weathered 20-foot boat, wearing a camouflaged cap low over his eyes, as he talks and pilots the craft over the calm waters of the Coosaw.

“Southern states such as Georgia and the Carolinas have, until now, been

known for wild oyster reefs that cluster in moonscapes. They are the result of “spat”—the free-swimming oyster larvae that settle on other oysters and grow

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Left and right: Baby oysters numbering in the thousands. Below: The finished product, Frank Roberts’ year-round oysters, harvested after just one year.

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upon them. The clusters need to be hammered and pried apart in order to be served as succulent singles.

Roberts attributes the

oysters are exposed to the scorching sun during

outstanding flavor of

That’s a lot of work. And, in warm months, Southern

all their energy into growing. As a result, they reach

plump maturity after about a year as opposed to a wild oyster’s three years.

Oysters being cultivated live in protective

the hours when the tide is out and they become

his oysters to the pure

cages or floats that rest in the water rather than the

oysters are subtidal, constantly submerged in water.

Atlantic salt waters

this method allows farmers to keep the oysters clean

incubators of bacteria.” In other parts of the country, South Carolina and Georgia oysters—exposed to air when the tide goes out—are intertidal.

“Mariculture takes our intertidal oysters and

makes them subtidal and safe, never exposed to air

and sun. They are kept submerged so that they are always open and pumping,” adds Roberts.

flowing directly into the Saint Helena Sound estuary.

Triploids for Summer Harvest Aquaculture has created triploids—the only oysters South Carolina farmers

grow in the summer. “They must be triploids for summer harvest,” says Roberts. They are grown in hatcheries just like the one Roberts created in

Seabrook. Triploids are widely used today because they have three sex

chromosomes instead of two, which renders them sterile, allowing them to put

muddy bottom. Called “farming off the bottom,”

and safe, and to shake them in their cages to prevent them from clumping together.

“We get calls from all over the country,” says

Roberts, “but Charleston takes about 98 percent of them, with the rest going to restaurants in Beaufort and Hilton Head.”

For the ultimate in oyster fine dining, experience

Frank’s oysters at The Ordinary in Charleston, the casually elegant seafood

restaurant famed chef Mike Lata opened inside an old King Street bank. Lata

cooks some of the best seafood in town—rich and delicious because he sources it local, often caught and served the same day. The cream of the crop—local

oysters rich with the ocean’s brine—are the prize, emerging from the kitchen

daily. Last year Lata bought 40,000 Phat Lady oysters from Roberts—a wild Frank Roberts’ oyster boat with an empty oyster cage sitting at the end of the dock

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variety raised specifically for Lata. Their popularity stems from their extremely

salty taste, taking on the brine of the Lady’s Island estuary—essentially undiluted seawater. “Our oysters have that really nice brine,” says Frank. “It’s a

sweet-tasting oyster with a really clean finish. No lingering mineral or metallic aftertaste—some of the most supreme oysters ever tasted.”

Champion of the Lowcountry Oyster Farm Oystering has been a way of life for Frank Roberts for generations. His ancestors began harvesting oysters in the wild in the Chesapeake Bay back in the 1700s. He followed in their footsteps and grew up harvesting oysters in the waters of the Chesapeake and Long Island Sound. That all changed

when he came to Parris Island as a Marine Corps recruit back in 1981 and was introduced to the Lowcountry and its pristine estuaries filled with oysters. His military career took him overseas for several years. In October 1983,

he left his Marine barracks near the Beirut airport on a covert mission as a sniper. “Just after I left, a truck filled with explosives drove into the barracks,

killing 241 Marines in my unit.” In 1985, he left the Marine Corps for good and became a police officer in New Haven, Connecticut, working the night shift and taking on a job with the FBI’s violent crimes task force, targeting

narcotics traffickers. To escape the pressures of the job, Frank visited oyster hatcheries during the daytime and began to learn the science of mariculture— specifically oyster farming. He set his sights on getting back to Beaufort.

What Determines an Oyster’s Taste? Roberts attributes the outstanding flavor of his oysters to the pure Atlantic salt

waters flowing directly into the Saint Helena Sound estuary. An oyster’s taste is dependent on its “merroir.” A take on “terroir”—a term describing the natural environment in which a wine is produced—an oyster’s “merroir” determines its flavor characteristics due to the subtleties of the water environment in which

it grows. Because oysters grow by filtering nutrients from the algae that flows through their gills, the type of algae, the level of salinity, and the mineralogy of the water all contribute to the flavor.

“Our Single Lady oysters go from the larva stage in the nursery to the raw bar

and beer in just a year. In the wild, oysters take three years to complete the same growth process and they experience a much higher mortality rate,” says Roberts.

What’s his secret to raising high-quality oysters with a much better

survival rate than oysters in the wild? He attributes his success to the Lowcountry estuary environment, to his years of research and learning what

works and what doesn’t, and to carefully controlling the process. “It’s both an art and a science. Our oysters spawn a lot and they grow fast in the protected,

food-rich environment we provide.” And Frank has his own special recipe of filtered seawater and microalgae to nourish the microscopic oyster larvae. “It’s like having a secret recipe for barbecue seasoning—but it’s a recipe of concentrated phytoplankton that we feed our oyster larvae.”

The Southeast has been the sleeping giant of the oyster world, but now,

with folks like Roberts, the giant isn’t sleeping anymore. With the warm South’s longer season and faster growth, Southern oystermen can undercut

northern producers on price, and they are poised to become a staple at oyster bars across North America. SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

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BEAUFORT’S MOUNTAIN VANISHED FOREVER

Gone with the Tides of Time and Change By Nancy Ricker Rhett in conversation with Pat Branning Photography and illustration by Nancy Ricker Rhett

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I

magine a place with no gasoline engines, no traffic troubles. Where a fellow could ride his horse from Bluffton to Buckingham Landing to catch a bateau to Hilton Head Island without seeing another person along the way. Without jet skis and high-powered motor boats, he could travel

silently through rivers, tidal creeks and sounds, relying on the tide and the wind to help power his oars or sails. He might even hear the mullet jumping and the “whoosh” of a dolphin passing by.

Somewhere in the late 70s and early 80s, the barges and bateaux were beached, the shucking houses and canneries closed, with only a few photographs remaining as a reminder of a vital element in the cultural history of the South.

In 1900, all of Beaufort County had a population of only 35,000. With

important passenger and cargo steamers tied up to the dock at the end of

became skilled storytellers. Crabs were so plentiful, they said, even a child

Then along came the developers and beachfront resorts, and, with them,

no theaters or other forms of entertainment, the men and women of this era

Calhoun Street.

could walk along the creek’s edge on a summer afternoon with one stout stick

dollars whipping through the area and altering much of the natural landscape.

around a second stick, and bring Mama enough crabs for Sunday supper. They

back to a slower and quieter era through the memories of men and women who

and throw dozens of them onto the bank, hook them with their back fins

told other stories of how Hilton Head Island became famous for butter beans,

how Daufuskie built its reputation on its liquor stills and how the oystershell streets of Bluffton filled up with people several times a week when the

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Everything is, as the Gullah say, “all change up.” And yet it is possible to go

lived here and watched the change. Nancy Ricker Rhett has lived in Beaufort for most of her life and has seen the changes firsthand.

“Once upon a time there was a mountain along the river on Lady’s

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Photo by Sandy Dimke 80

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Island, a big white mountain you could see from

the Beaufort Bridge. It would come and go as the

seasons cycled, rising and falling as if with the tide. It was entirely made of oyster shells, bleached white, waiting to be planted. This was the site of

Beaufort’s oyster factory, built in 1904 by Gilbert Maggioni and part of an extensive series of his

family’s canning operations that ranged from Yonges Island south of Charleston down the

coast to Savannah. The employees were Gullah, the local indigenous people, descendants of

freed slaves who remained on nearby islands,” says Nancy.

Maggioni had established his

“Once upon a time there was

first cannery on Daufuskie Island in

a mountain along the river

canneries were among the 16 oyster

1893 before opening others. These factories

on Lady’s Island, a big white mountain you could see from the Beaufort Bridge. It would come

in

operation

in

South

Carolina between 1893 and 1905.

At the close of the century,

many Gullah farmed their own small

plots, producing vegetables for local

and go as the seasons cycled,

markets and supplementing their diet

rising and falling as if with the

During fall and winter, Gullah men

tide. It was entirely made of oyster shells, bleached white, waiting to be planted.”

and income by oystering and fishing.

went out in flat-bottomed boats called bateaux

(pronounced

“battoes,”),

made of pine or cypress planking, or in larger sloops or engine-powered

scows, from which they used shorthandled “grabs” to harvest oysters from the riverbanks. In deep water,

they used long-handled tongs. One man could gather 60 to 100 bushels

during a low tide. They then transported them to

nearby landings, loaded them onto pickup trucks, and drove them to the factory to be steamed and

shucked and canned. Sea Island women, and often the children, worked long hours in shucking

houses. “For protection, the oysters were covered with wet croker sacks while being transported.

Backbreaking, hard work but an honest wage after all,” remembers Nancy.

In the cold of winter, a smudge pot might be

used, a metal drum snuggled on a pad of sand in the bottom of the boat to prevent a fire. Clever, necessary, but a hazard nonetheless. The fire’s SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

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warming glow would illuminate faces, often

including a wife who’d tend to the stoking as well as the grabbing.

“Back at the factory, the boiler would be

lit before daybreak, ready to operate the works.

Oysters, offloaded from the trucks, would be put on lumbering conveyor belts traveling through

the plant to begin the process. Back in those days, the oysters were opened by running them through

steam chests. The canning was a complicated system of conveyor belts, huge steam vats, cooking

and washing equipment, and rotating drums

that knocked the steamed shells open. The meat was separated from the shells and went on to be inspected by Gullah women on each side of

another set of conveyor belts, and then on to be

canned and shipped out nationally. The shells

themselves traveled in a different direction. And it

was these shells that formed the mountain I grew up seeing,” says Nancy.

Each year, the mountain was loaded back

onto barges by dragline, and hauled by tugboats

and barges back to the shoreline where they had been found. Here they were planted to provide a

substrate for oyster larvae to settle. Parched white shells were blown overboard by huge water jets, scattering them into the creeks. They would grow the spats that eventually became new oysters and the cycle would repeat.

This entire operation became a dinosaur. A

slow decline began as less rugged jobs could be found elsewhere and foreign competition hurt the market. The plant was torn down, the docks pulled up and the dry dock and railway were dismantled.

The end had come. Property was just too valuable to sit empty, so along came the developers. Today,

there is not a trace of the hectic activities that once defined a colorful, honored and grand industry.

Yet, if you listen carefully, it’s still possible to

hear the squawk of blue herons overhead and the

rattle of the wind in palmettos, and, from certain

vantage points, watch the tide come and go twice a day.

Today, Beaufort’s bounty remains in our

creeks and rivers, but the big white mountain is just a memory— vanished with the tides of time and change. 82

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An Oyster Bar Revival Where to Shuck One or Eat Steamed, Stuffed or Baked

Photo courtesy of 167 Raw 84

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D

uring the autumn months, Southerners move the party

shell at the restaurant. These are prepared with hot sauce, crème fraîche and

of the show. With the first chill of early fall, in backyards

tower, a triple layer of chilled oysters along with greens, local shrimp and

from the porch to the fire pit, with oysters being the star

from McClellanville, South Carolina, down through Jekyll Island to Jacksonville, oysters get smoked in their shells

over smoldering oak and hickory wood, resulting in an incredible taste.

But if you’re looking for variety in

flavor without the work, stop in at one of

baked saltines. And for additional fine dining, may we suggest their oyster condiments.

Just a few blocks away in the heart of downtown Charleston is the Amen

As soon as you arrive

Charleston’s many oyster bars. Charleston,

in Charleston, you know

oyster. As early as 1680, the tip of the

you are in a special place

South Carolina, has deep ties to the Eastern

peninsula—home to Charleston’s historic downtown area—was called Oyster Point because of the white bank of oyster shells.

As soon as you arrive in Charleston,

with its own unique style of southern coastal charm.

Street Fish & Raw Bar, at 205 East Bay Street.

If you’re in the heart of downtown Charleston and you hear an “amen” as you pass by the

corner of East Bay and Cumberland, it’s likely

to be a happy diner praising the blessings of the

sea at this oyster bar and seafood restaurant. Local lore says Amen Street was so named because “amens” could be heard coming from neighboring churches. Step inside and revel

in the variety and preparation choices offered

Oyster bar dining comes

here, with over 24 types of oysters on hand.

own unique style of southern coastal charm.

with breathtaking ocean

oysters baked and stuffed with spinach, fried

ocean views, local live music, shady courtyard

views, local live music,

you know you are in a special place with its Oyster bar dining comes with breathtaking

For something different, you may wish to try on a kale salad with an ice cold beer.

Coast Bar and Grill, at 39 John Street D,

seating and salty autumn breezes.

shady courtyard seating

is tucked in a former warehouse with plenty

Where to Shuck One

and salty autumn breezes.

with top-notch service and an ideal seafood

The Ordinary, at 544 King Street, is famous for its Smoked Oysters—praised repeatedly in the national press. Chef Mike Lata found

success with this dish when he started using

his premium oysters that he serves on the half

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of outdoor seating. It’s another oyster hotspot and oyster choice any day of the week. Coast

features 40-foot ceilings, rustic tin roofs

and art from around the world, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of an eclectic beach bar. On the menu are Oysters Rockefeller, on

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

85


the half shell, raw, and steamed with cocktail or mignonette sauce. For those

in. Here, the seafood is the epitome of casual indulgence, and there are plenty

with bacon and blue cheese French fries.

changes as frequently as the tides, including a daily selection of oysters from

who prefer them fried, Coast offers Creole fried oysters or plain fried oysters And further north sits Leon’s Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop, at 698 King

Street, an oyster establishment known just as well for its fried chicken. Settle

into a cozy indoor table or slide up to the long bar and dig into a plate of oysters

fresh from the sea. You’ll find a long communal table filled with platters of

of diners waiting to indulge. It features a chalkboard menu of offerings that local waters and beyond. The crew at 167 Raw is also known for their delicious

lobster roll. This restaurant, a snug storefront tucked in along Bay Street, is a spin-off of the Nantucket original, but feels right at home in Charleston.

Hank’s Seafood Restaurant is on quiet Hayne Street near the Charleston

raw, grilled and fried oysters. But you can’t throw an oyster shell in this place

City Market. Oysters appear on the menu raw on the half shell, as Oysters

chic by host extraordinaire Brooks Reitz. We’re also loving his new bar and

stew. Hank’s oysters also star in a Seafood Tower and Seafood Castle, both

without hitting a platter of fried chicken. It’s an old auto body shop turned chophouse, Little Jack’s Tavern.

A Chalkboard Menu of Offerings Oyster bars such as 167 Raw, on East Bay Street in Charleston, are becoming

increasingly popular. Scoring a seat at this tiny, ever-bustling, subway-tiled bar

can be daunting. Oftentimes, patrons will be lined up out front waiting to get

Casino with smoked bacon, fried with green tomato sweet corn, or as oyster elegantly displayed.

Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, at 186 Concord Street, is the place

for gorgeous water views. There’s something about eating seafood next to the water that gets our appetites going. Here you can sit on a wide open deck with

killer views of the marsh and harbor, and dine on an awesome selection of fried, grilled and raw seafood.

Wine and Oysters by Mike Cooke

O

ur choice is the Domaine Fournier Sancerre Les Belles Vignes 2015,

from the Loire region in France. The

Sauvignon Blanc grape produces distinctly aromatic wines. Its original home is in the Loire Valley, and in

and around the towns of

Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-

Loire, where one finds the most renowned examples of the famous grape. The vineyard is

near the small village of Verdigny, not far from

the village of Sancerre. Known for its light

gooseberry aroma, the Domaine Fournier

Sancerre provides for a crisp, dry finish. Photo courtesy of Blossom

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Photo by Olivia Ray James; courtesy of The Ordinary

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Blossom You may want to venture over to Blossom, located in historic

downtown Charleston at 171 East Bay Street, where Executive

Chef, Adam Close, is at the helm. Since 2006, he has nurtured Blossom into a real showstopper of a seafood restaurant. He shares with us facts and recipes from a few of his favorites,

including his method of preparing those irresistible darlings

Oyster Name

Si n gle La d y

Harvest Location

Lady’s Island, South Carolina

d, medium-sized fragile shells, Appearance Slightly elongate meat is slim, very clean er to eat raw, but not so much Tasting Notes A very good oyst for cooking as they tend to shrink to a very . small size. High salinity with a sweet finish

from Frank Roberts’ oyster farm just down the road.

These recipes can be used with any type of oyster. This is

how Chef Adam prepares his different varieties.

Oyster Name

Is le Da up hi n e

Harvest Location

Alabama Gulf Coast

Appearance

Medium, sturdy shells, ver

Tasting Notes Me diu

y meaty, ver y clean

m salinity, meaty oyster with a sturdy shell, mildly sweet, mediu m flavor. Good for cooking due to the large size of the meat.

Oyster Name

Se wa n se co tt

Harvest Location

Virginia

very frag Appearance Medium,

ile shells, very clean, fairly

meaty

par Tasting Notes Briny, not full flavored

ticularly sweet, more umami,

Photo courtesy of Blossom

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FRESH SHUCKED LADY’S ISLAND OYSTERS WITH CUCUMBERCHAMPAGNE MIGNONETTE

WOOD OVEN ROASTED OYSTERS WITH BACON, SAUTÉED KALE, LEEKS, PARMESAN AND LEMON-GARLIC BUTTER

SEWANSECOTT OYSTERS ON THE HALF SHELL WITH PICKLED LEEKS AND HOMEMADE COCKTAIL SAUCE 12 Sewansecott oysters

12 Single Lady oysters 12 Isle Dauphine oysters For Cucumber-Champagne Mignonette:

4 ounces bacon, small diced

For Pickled Leeks:

1 cup champagne vinegar

6 ounces butter

1 cup champagne vinegar

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1 leek, cleaned and julienned

1 julienned leek

1 teaspoon prepared horseradish

2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 bunch kale, stemmed and julienned

1 teaspoon mustard seed

2 tablespoons English cucumber,

4 sprigs finely minced thyme

1 teaspoon coriander seed

4 sprigs finely minced parsley

1 teaspoon fennel seed

1 shallot, peeled and small diced

1 lemon, juiced and zested

1 teaspoon ground pink peppercorns

Pinch of salt and black pepper

4 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 bay leaf

1 pound course Morton’s ice cream salt

1/2 quart water

peeled and small diced

Combine ingredients for mignonette and

refrigerate at least one hour before serving. Best if made one day ahead.

Shuck oysters by removing their top shells.

Discard top and separate oysters from bottom

shells. Serve with a teaspoon or so of mignonette on top of each oyster or on the side for dipping.

Shuck oysters by removing the top shells; discard tops and loosen oysters from bottom shells. In a medium-sized sauce pot over medium heat,

add bacon and render until browned. Drain off

about half of the rendered bacon grease and add

For Cocktail Sauce: 1 cup ketchup 1 tablespoon horseradish 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

butter, julienned leek and garlic. Sauté until garlic

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Add kale and cook until wilted. Add herbs,

3 drops Tabasco

is aromatic and leeks are slightly cooked down.

lemon juice and lemon zest; combine well. Spread

1/2 juiced lemon

mixture in an even layer on a cookie sheet and let

Bring vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan.

congeal slightly.

remaining ingredients for Pickled Leeks. Simmer

cool to room temperature. The butter will Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cover a

medium-sized cookie sheet with rock salt to

create a layer about one inch thick. This will help to keep the oysters upright while cooking and

Reduce heat to simmer and add the leeks and the

on low heat for 5 minutes. Place on a sheet tray to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving.

Combine Cocktail Sauce ingredients and

prevent spilling of the brine or filling. Spread

refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.

and place on the rock salt on the cookie sheet.

discard tops and separate oysters from bottom

Cook for about 6 minutes or until Parmesan is

of each oyster and top each one with a dollop of

kale and leek mixture onto each individual oyster Top with Parmesan and place in the oven. browned slightly.

Shuck oysters by removing the top shells;

shells. Place about a teaspoon of the leeks on top cocktail sauce.

Photo by Andrew Branning

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COLUMNS EBB TIDE DOWN SOUTH

Connected by Oysters

Two Georgia Artists—a Photographer and a Writer By Tom Poland, Southern writer

M

ists veil a dock house. Its

“On the Wings of the Incoming Tide” (Shrimp,

for Leigh’s Oystering: A Way of Life, just as he

a comb with teeth broken

Pat Conroy and nod to James Dickey’s “Starry

Natural Heritage, a book by Robert Clark, Steve

weathered pilings look like out. On a spit of land sat an old oyster house. Gone.

Nothing left. Unassuming workboats sit empty. An abandoned bateau sits in a fringe of marsh. Oystering.

Dragging a chain across the bottom until it

jerks hard.

Tongs and rakes.

Bateaux with rough irregular shells piled up

high. Like a heap of gray rocks. Oystermen in

three bateaux materialize from fog at dawn. In buffed gold mists, four men—two sitting, two

Collards & Grits, Summer 2017), her paean to Place Between the Antlers: Why I Live in South

Carolina,” which I have among my letters. First

beneath moonlight between islands and the

foreword for my book on oystering?” Back then

Lowcountry and its food. “The food is wonderful

and unique: she-crab soup, red rice, shrimp or

oyster pilau, Hoppin’ John, chicken bog. While I am there I am living proof-positive of John Peale Bishop’s dictum that the true test of a civilization is an indigenous cookery.”

“Oysters” painted by hand on its window. Closed

swimming in moonlight belonged together, both marinated in brine as it were.

————

Some of you know I am a graduate of the

steamed, fried, smoked, canned, in tins with peel-

there also. Leigh is the man who took the photo of

lemon, horseradish, and vodka. In gunnysacks. Mounded over hot tin, steaming. Pushed into

smokers. Shells opening just so of their own accord. Shiny knives flashing in Lowcountry light. Gray oyster banks destined to become snow-white

While I was there, a man named Jack Leigh was

Dickey had a keen interest in photography

About Leigh’s oystermen wrote Dickey, “the last

and poetic tribute. “They are not fishermen; they never feel the run of any line. The electric

vibration of an unknown body, or the mingling of

the seine, but instead lean down—walk and lean

down—like parts of walls, over the soft paving

of mud, as their families and blood have caused them to do….”

Two Georgians connected by oysters. Both

other, it’s mysterious and foreboding, but forget

wake of something called progress. For those who

that. Leigh was an acclaimed photographer long before Bird Girl came along.

Leigh and I may have taken courses together

their own, surfaced when I read Ellen Malphrus’s

the road. James Dickey would write the foreword

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

period of collaboration.

artists, both gone now, just as much of oystering

in the Garden of Good and Evil. A cover like no

at the Grady School of Journalism, but we never

90

the poet responded. The two Georgians began a

“Bird Girl,” the cover of John Berendt’s Midnight

stones crushed beneath tires.

These images, emerging from a mist all

among us. Leigh wrote Dickey and in two days

of these, surely.” His words were both a prophecy

University of Georgia. I studied journalism there.

back lids, grilled. In a shot glass with cocktail sauce,

by email, except for the more refined who walk

he had written it for a fellow Georgian. Images

now for good.

Steamy smoke fragrant as sea salt. Raw,

we lived in the era of the letter, banished today

and with great pleasure he looked at Leigh’s work.

of half shells as white as pearls and a white buck

A white concrete-block seafood shop with

him to thinking. “Might James Dickey write the

I knew he had written about oysters, that

moored, they work. A steel rod breaks a clump of goes down.

Like Ellen and me, Jack Leigh read Dickey’s

“Starry Place Between the Antlers.” That set

essay describes, in part, an albino deer swimming

noble bivalve mollusk. That delicacy. And I knew

oysters loose. A pocketknife comes out. An oyster

Bennett, and me.

published in Esquire magazine in 1981, Dickey’s

standing—ignore each other, intent on work, steel

rods in their hands. Engines tilted up, the boats

would write the foreword for South Carolina: The

met. We would share, however, a connection down

seems determined to leave us as it wallows in the cherish oysters and their willingness to sacrifice

themselves for our pleasure, it’s time to send up a prayer, a time to recall the plea from Dickey’s last

line in “For the Last Wolverine.” “Lord, let me die, but not die out.” Amen.

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Above: Roastin’ Oysters. Below: Oyster Roast. Both paintings by Ray Ellis.

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COLUMNS LOWCOUNTRY SPORTING LIFE

On the Hunt in South Carolina’s ACE Basin Landowners Honor the Centuries-old History and Traditions of English Foxhunting

by Nina Burke, Founding Master of the Lowcountry Hunt, in conversation with Pat Branning Photography by Kendrick Mayes 92

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D

ue east from Highway 21,

across vast marshes, through palmetto-studded hammocks

and

live

oak

dark-water

cypress swamps, the landscape

breaks into open vistas and well-tended fields in the

heart of the ACE Basin’s plantation country. This is the land of forgotten places, of country churches,

roadside shacks, cinder block fish houses, but also so much more.

It’s home to antebellum plantations, polo

matches, foxhunting and some of the most breathtakingly beautiful vistas in all of coastal

Being outside with the

horses, the dogs and all of

nature is part of the thrill. It’s not so much about the kill as it is the experience, the camaraderie among hunters and tradition.

Opposite: The Huntsman leads hunters and hounds alike. Top: A lone rider enjoying the vistas at Airy Hall Plantation. Below: A horse eagerly awaits the morning’s hunt.

on a chilly winter morning—waking up early, seeing all the hounds, the red jackets,” says Eliza Limehouse. “I love that it’s a family sport, something we all can do together. We actually have

three generations on the hunt at one time. I’ve been doing this and loving it since I was eight years old.”

On this particular morning, a thin veil of

early morning mist rises from dew-sparked fields as a parade of horse trailers rumbles down the lane

South Carolina. The Lowcountry Hunt was

into Airy Hall Plantation. The Lowcountry Hunt

tradition kept alive today through the generosity

groomed horses with braided manes carry polished

Mark Shambley serve as Joint Masters and are

jackets and velvet-covered helmets to gather for the

and Holly Evans. Participants wear colors of

are passed among the riders in fortification for the

crops: indigo and Carolina Gold rice.

onto the “tally-ho wagon” for non-riders who will

founded in 2006 by Nina Burke—a centuries-old

is meeting for a traditional fox hunt. Carefully

of Ms. Burke and other landowners. Melinda and

saddles; riders of all ages don scarlet or black formal

joined by two new Joint Masters, Kim Ackerman

meet. Stirrup cups of brandy or port on silver trays

indigo and gold in honor of two vital historical

day’s sport. Picnic baskets and coolers are loaded

“There’s nothing like the thrill of a foxhunt

follow the hunt in trucks or SUVs. The Master of

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COLUMNS LOWCOUNTRY SPORTING LIFE

Foxhounds welcomes the “field” and introduces

Chip Limehouse, whose family has owned Airy

staff of “whippers-in,” who help to keep track of

“Being outside with the horses, the dogs

Through a grove of live oaks, the professional

from the Masters, the Huntsman sounds his

guests; all are assembled for the meet.

Hall for over 40 years.

and all of nature is part of the thrill. It’s not so

Huntsman brings out a pack of Lowcountry

camaraderie among hunters and tradition,” says

are always counted by twos. He is assisted by his

much about the kill as it is the experience, the

foxhounds, 15 couple this morning. Foxhounds

the hounds as they search for quarry. At a signal

gleaming brass horn and the hounds are off to

find a fox or possibly a bobcat, or—more probably nowadays—a coyote to chase. The Masters lead

the field of riders, divided by experience and ability, and the hunt begins. It is a pageant of sorts,

honoring the centuries-old history and traditions of English foxhunting.

The hounds, all with tracking collars so that

none get lost, hunt out “coverts” in the woods, fields and swamps where likely game might be hiding. The field follows suit through moss-draped oaks, over ditches and along old rice field dikes. When

hounds find a scent they “give cry,” their voices making heart-stopping music in the crisp morning

air. Riders take a deep breath, lean forward on their horses and the chase is on. A good “run” can last from 15 to 45 minutes, until the quarry either

outruns—or literally out-foxes—the hounds and

they are called off for a “check.” Riders then gather around the tally-ho wagon to rest their horses

and share a drink of water or champagne, along 94

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COLUMNS LOWCOUNTRY SPORTING LIFE Top left: Foxhounds numbering 15 couple. Bottom left: Riders enjoy camaraderie and tradition as much as the hunt. Right: A traditional after-hunt “breakfast.”

with bites of deviled eggs or smoked salmon. The hunt will continue through the morning as long as weather and scenting conditions permit, or until the Masters and Huntsman call it a day.

After horses and hounds are safely put away,

the Masters, Huntsman, staff and field gather for a traditional after-hunt meal called “breakfast,” no matter what time of day it actually occurs.

Tables are brought out in the field or woods

for a tailgate-style picnic, or set up at the plantation

house for a more formal, sometimes catered, buffet. Following an afternoon hunt, there may be an oyster roast or a Lowcountry pig roast lasting well

past sunset. Stories of the day’s sport are swapped

and toasts are offered to the Huntsman and hounds. The line of trailers finally heads for home, their tired occupants already dreaming of the next meet, anticipating what excitement it might bring.

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COLUMNS LITERARY CORNER

Grim Family Secrets Inspire The Cage-Maker A New Historical Novel from Author and Artist Nicole Seitz Interview by Jonathan Haupt

S

outh Carolina Lowcountry writer

and artist Nicole Seitz is the author

of six previous novels. Nicole’s fiction

has been honored by Library Journal, Romantic

Times,

the

Southern

Independent Booksellers Alliance, the Christian Booksellers Association, the Pulpwood Queens Book Club and Books-a-Million. Her seventh

novel, The Cage-Maker, a masterful Southern gothic tale which she also illustrated, is forthcoming this August from Pat Conroy’s Story River Books

imprint. Nicole shared with us some insights into her writing life and the mysterious family history that became the impetus for The Cage-Maker.

Jonathan Haupt: The idea for The Cage-

Maker began while you were researching your own

family history. Tell us what you discovered and how it inspired aspects of your novel.

Nicole Seitz: I first discovered that my

paternal great-grandmother from New Orleans

shared my birthday, which led me to look deeper 96

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

“I decided the most

enjoyable part for me was the act of discovery, of

being a sleuth in this great

mystery. I want my readers to experience that same sense of wonder as they

dig deeper and deeper into

the letters, files and photos presented in this novel and ultimately come to their own conclusions.”

SCGLIFESTYLE.COM


into her life and that side of my family. When I

Cage-Maker for my readers, I wanted them to

died a year after eloping with him, I was intrigued.

someone’s files and finding not only the written

found that her brother married a young heiress who

have the same feeling—that they are peering into

How did she die? And why was her father coming

word but glimpses from yesteryear. Bringing the

after her money? Researching Louisiana Supreme

world so vivid in my head to life visually as well as

Court cases led me to learn that her younger sister

in a literary sense was a satisfying experience, and

also eloped at age 14, and a year later she was dead,

I’m grateful to have had the opportunity.

too. Once more, the father came after the money. I

JH: What do you hope your readers take

began to care about these young girls and to feel the

away from your new novel?

I was hooked. This is a story I wanted to write for

mysteries that lie within each of our families.

JH: Your historical novel brings together

examining my own family’s dark places and

pull to unearth these family secrets. At some point,

NS: This story focuses on the deep, dark

several years before I actually committed to it.

Just as I have done in the writing of this book—

elements of a detective story, a ghost story and a

choosing either to hold on to or let go of this

multi-generational family drama, wrapped in a

inheritance—I hope my readers are inspired to ask

framework of modernity as the past resonates in

questions about their pasts and search out their

the present day. What have been your challenges

ancestral secrets. We are often bound to repeat

and rewards in navigating across genres?

NS: Often, the stories I need to tell don’t fit

history unless we make a decision to know it, to

easily inside a single genre. This makes them more

complete articles as they appeared more than 100

written family dramas and historical mysteries, as

I’ve found it—though I cannot get to the bottom

challenging to write, but more fun as well. I’ve well as a ghost story or two. I think it’s important for a writer to remain true to the story she is writing

and not the genre necessarily. I simply wrote a dark story of the South—of which there are many!

JH: The Cage-Maker is written as an epistolary

novel—unfolding through the discovery of found

letters, journals and articles. What does this bring to the story and how it’s read?

NS: One of the hardest parts about writing

this novel was figuring out how to write it. In the end, I decided the most enjoyable part for me was the act of discovery, of being a sleuth in this great

mystery. I want my readers to experience that same

years ago. What’s important to me is the truth as

of any historical mystery. There are always stones

left unturned. This is where imagination comes in.

Some historical characters I begin to care about as I write them. Others I begin to pray for. The

old adage that truth is stranger than

fiction is accurate, and when I find

historical details too wild to have ever been created in my mind, I try to keep them intact.

JH: For The Cage-Maker, you’ve

narrative. How does your work as a

sense of responsibility do you feel to the past when

of sketches which illustrate the visual artist complement your work as a literary artist?

NS: I’ve always been enamored

incorporating it into your fiction?

with the illustrative mysteries of

characters as much as possible, though I don’t

add a sense of historical truth and

NS: I want to write authentic historical

have any issue with using truth as a launching pad for tall tales. In many instances, I have included SCGLIFESTYLE.COM

A sketch from an interior page of The Cage-Maker. Illustration by Nicole Seitz.

to the stories as I know them. The

and ultimately come to their own conclusions.

events in your novel have a basis in reality. What

www.nicoleseitz.com.

through, but I feel a responsibility

painted the cover and drawn a number

JH: Many of the characters, settings and

To learn more about author and artist Nicole

Seitz and her new novel The Cage-Maker, visit

work I do is fiction, through and

sense of wonder as they dig deeper and deeper into the letters, files and photos presented in this novel

study it, and ultimately, to choose a new path.

Sherlock Holmes. These illustrations concreteness

to

Arthur

Conan

Doyle’s work. When crafting The Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

97


COLUMNS COOK AND TELL

My First Love and Oyster Stew Sweet Memories of a Boy, His Dog and Oyster Stew by Johnathon Barrett

H

ands down, the briny taste of

a dozen or so plump, gray-feathered doves that my

stew and a platter of freshly made hoecakes. My

delicacies. I’ve sampled these

the other was a ball of black and white fur with

market in the tiny town of Ochlocknee, Georgia,

an oyster is one of my favorite jewels of the sea sitting along the cold, frigid waters of the

mom would later cook in a cast iron skillet. Inside a pink tongue, its paws hanging outside the flaps.

“Look what I found for you, Buddy,” he said

Damariscotta River in Maine and while in the

as he came through the back porch screen door.

living in the Lowcountry—where oyster roasts

and placed him at my feet. I was thrilled to the

opulent dining palaces of Old New Orleans. And

are a form of social and cultural artwork—I’ve

He carefully lifted the pup out of the camouflage

mom’s parents had, at one time, owned a seafood

just north of the Florida border. She inherited

from them a love of things from the sea, and, whenever available, some salt-water dish was on the Barrett table.

She took a small slice of her flour hoecake,

point of being speechless.

which is a skillet-fried version of a biscuit, and

behind to pave a road from my home in Savannah

explain that he was down by the old Bailey place

up some of the stew from the stove and poured the

But when oysters are mentioned, it is neither

side of the dirt road. He could tell, even from the

eaten so many, there should be enough shells left up to Charleston.

memories of far-away trips nor entertaining hours spent at landmark, seasonal gatherings that come

to mind. Rather, visions from decades ago arise: a skinny, tow-headed boy, and his first love—a stray

Mama had joined us, and I heard Daddy

on his way home and spotted the little dog on the

crumbled it into an old crockery dish. She then ladled warm milk, butter and oyster juice on top.

Hobo—a name we later bestowed on her

truck, that it was shivering. What other choice did

because of her wandering alone in the country—

Buddy needed a dog.

helping. And as the years progressed, whenever we

he have but to stop and pick it up? And, after all, By then, the dog was cuddled up on my lap as I

ate every last bit and was gifted with another small had oyster stew at home, it was a tradition to put

puppy named Hobo.

sat on the floor of the porch. One of her eyes—one

to turn five years old. With frosts on the ground

infection. But other than that ailment, and being

college. She was with us for almost 17 years, and

shape as she ducked her head and snuggled closer.

with such a loving disposition. Or, for that matter,

The time was early fall 1968, and I was about

each morning, it was unseasonably cold for that part of October. My father had been on a hunting trip in rural middle Georgia on one of those chilly days,

that she would soon lose—was closed shut with an a bit tired and underfed, she seemed to be in good

While Daddy left for the store to buy some

and as his truck pulled into the drive as he returned

dog food, Mama decided that the pup needed

In his arms were two hunting bags. One held

night, and on the family menu were a pot of oyster

home, I rushed to meet him at the back door.

98

SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

to eat sooner rather than later. It was a Sunday

out a bowl for our smallest family member.

The two of us were inseparable until I left for

never have I encountered a sweeter dog, or one

one who so enjoyed a bowl of oyster stew. It seems her first meal with us was always her favorite.

How I loved that dog, and I cherish those

sweet memories of her, and of oyster stew.

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JOYCE’S OYSTER STEW Serves 6

juice. Stir to mix, continuing on medium heat.

this heavy, seasoned pan the color of obsidian has

well, and allow the liquid and vegetables to come

on my head. And I fortunately still have a full mop.

Add in the milk and cream. Stir or whisk to mix just under a slight simmer. Reduce the heat to

varieties you find at some ‘Southern’ restaurants.

liquid will thicken. Stir often.

of homemade biscuits. They are delicious at

Taste the stew at this point to see how much

salt it will need. Because different oysters and

their juices are at times brinier than others, you

may not need ¼ teaspoon of salt, or you may need

M

her stew you will really taste the brine of

the oysters and the sweetness of the butter, milk

and cream. Some folks start their stew with a white roux, but Mama did not use one and neither do I— the liquid then becomes so thick it takes away from the delicate texture of the oysters.

We enjoy this dish often during the holidays,

served with a glass of a dry champagne. It is

excellent as a light supper after midnight mass, or

as a starter course for a New Year’s Eve celebration. But it is also perfect for any cold winter’s night. 1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, divided ¼ cup very finely diced celery ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon (5 tablespoons) finely chopped green onion, white parts only 1 quart oysters, drained, with the liquid reserved 1 quart whole milk

more. Adjust to your taste. Add the black or white pepper, and the Texas Pete. Stir.

Finally, add in the oysters, and stir to mix.

The oysters will cook quickly—the smaller

2 cups self-rising flour, sifted with a pinch of salt

2/3 cup whole milk buttermilk

take up to about 3 or 4 minutes. The oysters are

Additional butter for topping

done when their outside edges begin to curl. Important note here: Do not let the delicate

oysters overcook. Once overdone, they lose their wonderful, soft consistency. Remember, the

oysters will continue to cook even as you ladle them into your bowls.

Serve immediately. Garnish each bowl with

a sprinkle of paprika and freshly minced parsley.

Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl with the

butter and shortening. With your hands, or a fork, mix the ingredients together until thoroughly incorporated. The mixture should now be in clumps the size of pea gravel.

Drizzle the buttermilk into the bowl and

with a large fork stir together until just mixed.

With a spatula, scrape out the dough onto

NINNIE’S FLOUR HOECAKES

a well-floured flat surface. Knead two or three

Makes 8 to 12 hoecakes

the dough out to about ½-inch thickness and cut

times, and then form into a ball.

To make the hoecakes, you can either roll

with a biscuit cutter, or, as Ninnie and Mama

would do, pinch off a scant ¼ cup of the dough

and flatten it in the palm of your hand to the size of a small disc. Set these aside.

Heat your seasoned griddle, pan, or skillet

(or nonstick item) over medium heat. When

good and hot, set the hoecakes on top. Don’t

allow them to touch. Cook on each side 3 to 4

In a large pot, melt 4 tablespoons (half the stick)

minutes until a dark golden brown, turning once.

of butter over medium heat. Add the celery and

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Well, the list could just go on and on!

from New England or Washington State will

Paprika and chopped parsley for garnish

pour in 1 ½ cups to 2 cups of the reserved oyster

oyster stew or fried fish. And with country ham.

3 tablespoons Crisco or shortening

½ teaspoon Texas Pete hot sauce

the celery is soft. Add the remaining butter and

jelly. And they are a perfect accompaniment for

in 1 to 2 minutes, while the larger ones you find

¼ teaspoon white or black pepper

onions and cook another 2 minutes or so, until

breakfast with a dollop of honey, cane syrup or

2 tablespoons butter, sliced into ½” pieces

¼ teaspoon kosher or sea salt (or to taste)

careful not to let the butter brown. Stir in the

Our family’s recipe is basically a stove-top version

varieties, like the Bluffton oyster, will be done

2 cups heavy cream

cook for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Be

These hoecakes are not the sweet, fried

medium low. Allow the stew to cook for about 12-15 minutes—the tastes will marry and the

ama was not one to complicate dishes; in

served more biscuits and hoecakes than I have hairs

M

y mother’s hoecakes were replicas of what

her mother, Ninnie, made, and were done

in the same cast iron griddle that now has a place of

honor in my own kitchen. More than 100 years old,

Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to cook these in two batches.

Remove them from the pan to a platter, and

place a teaspoon or so of butter on top of each hoecake. Serve immediately.

Fall 2017 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS

99


Photo by Andrew Branning 100 SHRIMP, COLLARDS&GRITS Fall 2017

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Shrimp, Collards & Grits Magazine Volume 1 Issue 3 (The Oyster Issue)  

Lifestyle of the Lowcountry (Southeastern United States) Featuring Recipes, Stories & Art.