The Tar Heel State
The Palmetto State
One of the original thirteen English Colonies, North and South Carolina were once referred to as solely the Province of Carolina until their formal separation in 1729. King Charles II granted a charter to start a new colony establishing the North Carolina borders in 1663. He named it Carolina in honor of his father, Charles I. In 1710, political disagreements started the divide that would eventually give us North and South Carolina. North Carolina itself was split between the east which supported the British Crown and the west which supported American Independence. Lord Charles Cornwallis’ defeat at the Battle of Yorktown guaranteed American Independence and North Carolina became the twelfth state to ratify the new American Constitution in 1789. Apropos of nothing really, except a perfect tidbit for blog chatter...Virginia Dare was the first English child to be born on US soil in 1587 and Dare County was named for her and home to Kitty Hawk, the sight of the first sustained, powered flight conducted by The Brothers Wright, Orville and Wilbur in 1903.
When translated from Latin, Carolina means Charles Land. South Carolina prospered from fertile lowcountry farmland and its proximity to harbors (Charles Town later to become Charleston was one of them) which North Carolina lacked. Southerners allowed religious tolerance and encouraged immigration (yes, it can happen) from the Huguenot and Sephardic communities of London. Settlement spread, business thrived and rice cultivation grew on a large scale thanks to the talents of African slaves. Oopsy. That whole slavery thing is a bit of a pock mark on South Carolina’s history, so much so that they voted to secede the nascent Union to still allow it. Ultimately they had their wrists slapped and they were returned back into the fold.
Lowcountry cooking owes its diversity to geography, economics and demographics. Seafood from the coast, rice from the marshland, a concentration of wealth dating back to early settlement plus a vibrant Caribbean and African contribution since slavery have combined to create a cuisine similar to that of New Orleans. To this Yankee palate, it’s a bit more restrained and genteel. Perhaps that’s owed to the aristocratic DNA of South Carolina. Unlike New Orleans, they temper the heat in the atmosphere by taking it out of your mouth for some relief. Like New Orleans, they’ll wash it all down with something a little sweeter, a little tropical.
As for food and drink, the Yankee sensibility believes North Carolina is a bit of an introduction into Low Country grub more firmly rooted in South Carolina. There are influences from Appalachia, never really a hot bed of anything other than incest and moonshine. And maybe squirrel and possum stew. While we can offer up one of the previously mentioned four, we assure you it ain’t nothin to do with family nor vermin.
Cheerwine – The original soda was created in Salisbury, but this is a grown-up version
Low Country Lemonade
Do the Charleston
Raspberry Beer (yup, you read that right)
Carolina Middlins w/ Tomato Relish – think grits but rice not corn
Cold Curry Squash Soup
North Carolina Pig 2-ways
Ham Chutney Melt
“Cheaper by the Dozen” Spare Ribs East Wake Burger
Mash w/ Pimento Cheese
Fennel Citrus Salad
To knock off...
Strawberry Short Cake with Sweet Potato Biscuit