Having the opportunity to spend two weeks in South Carolina in May, 2016, after wintering in New Hampshire, I decided to do some research about food in the Palmetto State.
My first night home, Sally fixed a huge meal of roast beef, rice and gravy, green beans and salad. That was a good start—a classic.
The culinary centerpieces of my sojourn to the South were two weddings at which I officiated. One was on the coast, or as we say in South Carolina, at the beach: the Wild Dunes Resort on the Isle of Palms. The setting was magnificent, the food was elegant, the wedding successful. The second wedding was also typically Southern—barbeque (mustard based, vinegar based, catsup based, and hot), cole slaw, rice and hash, served in a cabin beside a lake in the woods near where I grew up, the Horse Creek Valley. Sweet tea. Perfection.
But, three meals a day must be eaten, so I did what I could to enjoy the weekdays as well as the weekends.
Of course, Jenna and Lake came by the house for breakfast one morning before school. I fixed bacon and banana/blueberry waffles, a simple breakfast, but a favorite. Speaking of breakfast, at the Charleston/Isle of Palms wedding, son-in-law Tom fixed) blueberry muffins. Tom has not fed a teenage boy (his nephew Lake) blueberry muffins in a while so he had to prepare a second batch so the adults would have something to eat.
Ted and Marcia Godfrey took me out to eat at Cola’s one night, one of Columbia’s restaurants for fine dining. I had the crispy flounder (scored and flash fried) with apricot shallot sauce and jasmine rice. Nice. Very nice. Very very nice. This is a Charleston specialty but I’m glad it made its way to Columbia.
Speaking of seafood, tonight, Sunday, I’m making shrimp and salmon and grits for my family. Since shrimp and grits are not particularly common in New England, it seemed the right thing to do before heading back (Monday morning) to the frozen Northland.
The best part of many of my meals has been the location—our back porch. Whether I’m eating French toast for breakfast or a pimento cheese sandwich for lunch, it’s hard to improve on the ambiance. Birds at the bird feeder. Flowers of a dozen colors. Butterflies. The cat at my feet. Squirrels chasing each other. Tea with mint from our garden while I sit and read. The weather was straight out of Southern mythology: perfect, mild, pleasant.
Based on two weeks of research, I’d like to recommend the victuals of South Carolina to all my friends. Five stars.