I am taking this moment to say Happy Thanksgiving and to talk about how living in Charleston has expanded my food palate more than I could have thought just moving a few states away. I grew up in the midwest and lived up north for awhile, but I had never heard of a fried turkey for Thanksgiving until I moved down to Charleston.
Finding the exact origin of the fried turkey has not been easy to find but I have discovered, not too surprisingly, that it originated in the South. Just can’t find out where exactly in the South. But Southern folks deciding on the tastiest way to cook the bird doesn’t surprise me. My personal preference is more tofurkey than turkey, but I appreciate the crowd around me who go back for seconds, thirds, and later fourths, of the fried turkey at Thanksgiving. I trust them that it is delicious and sometimes wonder what I am missing.
We frequently post things about our restaurants getting noticed in national magazines but it’s not just hype. The food in Charleston is amazing. Wonderous things abound in local restaurants and the home kitchens of many South Carolinians. The things you can do with a sweet potato- I had no idea- from lasagna to pie and don’t get me started on sweet potato fries that lucky for the rest of the country, seem to be gaining in popularity. I had beets for the first time last year and have become obsessed- pickled, roasted, shredded raw. Okra-fried, sauteed with onions and tomato , pickled. And you have never had mac and cheese until you’ve had it down south. A few weekends ago downtown Charleston hosted a “mac off” between several local restaurants. Grits- so buttery, salty and peppery, flakey biscuits, buttermilk pie… the list goes on.
So thank you Charleston for expanding my recipe collection, inspiring me to try new things, and for awing visiting friends and relatives -making them wish they lived here. I must also add I am thankful for the walking path offered by the new Ravenel Jr. Bridge and the other outdoor activities that keep me from gaining weight from the abundance of good food available to me every day.
What’s your favorite Southern food or delicacy you’ve discovered in Charleston?