As travel writers, food lovers and editors of a Charleston-based lifestyle magazine that regularly features outstanding restaurants, we’re delighted when the national press zeroes in on chefs and farmers in the South who are leaders in the the farm-to-table movement.
In an article in last week’s New York Times, Southern Farmers Vanquish the Clichés, writer Julia Moskin celebrates the revival of an “authentic” Southern cuisine. She describes how chefs and farmers in Charleston and across the South have come together to serve up long-forgotten flavors and ingredients from our agrarian past. These passionate individuals have proven that today’s renaissance of dishes from the Old South, often presented with new flourishes, is far more interesting than the fried chicken and soggy green beans we’ve come to associate with Southern cooking.
Moskin’s article stirred memories of foods we hadn’t tasted in years: beaten biscuits, pounded by our parents to the perfect denseness; Brunswick stew (the proper kind, with a rabbit as the star); and crab apple jelly, made from crab apples from our own backyard.
Hopefully, the buzz about the new “old” Southern cuisine will inspire you to sample the dishes of the South’s talented chefs. Consider checking out, for example, Husk and Circa 1886, two Charleston restaurants whose chefs who are at the forefront of this trend. (There are others, too, of course.) If you do, please share (in the comment box below) your culinary discoveries as well as recipes from your own family.