Around the Table – August 29, 2019

A TOUCH OF REGIONAL RECIPE HISTORY

There is a difference of opinion as to what exactly the Lowcountry encompasses. The term is most frequently used to describe the coastal area of South Carolina to the Savannah River at the Georgia state line. But there is one belief I think we can all agree on, the Lowcountry enjoys a very diverse and rich culinary history. From the commencement of time, the Lowcountry locals had to make do with what was around them, and with over hundreds of thousands acres of wetlands, marshes, and lakes, it’s easy to understand the Lowcountry philosophy, “If you got it, you cook it.” Still to this day, the philosophy remains true.

WE ARE STUCK IN THE MIDDLE
There was, and maybe still is, a strong sense of rivalry between the cities and people of Charleston and Savannah. They rivaled for hospitability, social graces, and which city was founded first. We, the true Lowcountry, can lay claim to them both, and enjoy the resources, the lifestyles and the histories of the Holy and Hostess cities. One of the most valuable assets of being ‘caught in the middle’ is that we get the opportunity to enjoy the cuisine both cities offer. The costal locations of both Charleston and Savannah provide a soul food inspiration, with foods as rich in history and they are in flavor, and although the Holy and Hostess City have grown and evolved in recent years, classic southern Lowcountry foods like shrimp and grits and she-crab soup remain staples of the food scene.

WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY

  • Seasonality: There’s a focus on good, locally used ingredients, and luckily for the Lowcountry that means using what we already have. For centuries local cooks have turned to the water for culinary inspiration. Crab, shrimp, fish, and oysters form the basis of any traditional menu. Rice, grits and the produce of the coastal plain also play an instrumental role in the Lowcountry cooking. Cooks and chefs here have always been focused on good quality, and seasonal ingredients.
  • Condiments: Because of the climate in the Lowcountry, canning evolved as a ways to preserve the bounty of produce. It’s still true to this day, most dining venues provide some type of condiment at every table.
  • Seafood Culture: It is strong and continues to flourish with the popularity of recreational offshore fishing. For convenience, and certainly for flavor, grilling seafood is the preferred cooking method for fish in the Lowcountry.
  • Comfort Food: Like most southern cuisine, Lowcountry food is comfort food, best eaten at home and centered around large, one-pot meals.

WHAT LOWCOUNTRY CUISINE MEANS AT COLLETON RIVER

Reflecting on the history and tradition of the Lowcountry allows our team to focus on:
 
  • Variety and quality of the season’s ingredients
  • Traditional cooking methods, keeps us true to our roots as cooks
  • The world’s best seafood and the abundance we enjoy
  • Unique products found right here in our backyard (or marsh)
  • Making your dining experience in the Lowcountry memorable and fun
Everyday I consider myself fortunate to be a lifetime student of the cooking and hospitality of the Lowcountry.
 
—Chef Robert

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