“The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure no slight pleasure.” – Michel Eyquem De Montaigne b.1533Food, oh my goodness. Charleston is food heaven, fresh and local, and this really is a huge subject, but every week or so, I simply must touch on food as the Lowcountry does it, all wrapped up in history and ambiance. Like the blend of cultures that was Charleston from the beginning, it is a creole of a place, with a rich, European feeling. The green covered Charleston “Receipts’ is a the classic cookbook that began to catalog the traditional recipes, and was printed as a fundraiser, by a group of women, in 1950, to help raise money for children who couldn’t read. Today it is the oldest Junior League cookbook still in print and is a delight, with recipes for she-crab soup, benne seed crackers, and a Huguenot torte. Cousin, Pinkney Mikell, whose family has deep lowcountry roots on Edisto, writes a wonderful, original food series at Foodsville. He is a colorful writer, who has a well seasoned take on the old and the new.
Two of my favorites today, close to the French Quarter, include the little French place, opened by two artists, and named Gaulart & Maliclet, or Fast and French, at 98 Broad Street, nicknamed, in ‘American’. It is Frenchy and casual and walkable from the French Quarter, and obviously well loved by the locals. And McCrady’s at 2 Unity Alley, (walk in from the romantic alley!) is a restaurant that has soothed the thirsty, hungry pilgrim since 1778 when Edward McCrady opened the first tavern there. Today, Chef Sean Brock blends the old and the new, and is so committed to local food that he is raising his own pigs on nearby Wadamalaw Island. It is the best blend of the ‘creole’ that is Charleston, and a sensual experience on every front. Bon appetit!