Getting to Know Low Country Cuisine

Hoppin’ John, Cooter Soup and Frogmore Stew – if these things are on your menu, you are most likely in the Carolina Low Country. The Low Country is located from the Pawleys Island, South Carolina at the north end to Savanah, Georgia on the southern and not going inland more than 50 miles. This area of the United States, although small geographically, has influenced cuisine from coast to coast.

The most famous contribution to the national cuisine from this region is Frogmore Stew, better known as a Low Country Boil. Frogmore Stew is given its name from a tiny town on the coastal island of St. Helena. The flavorful one-pot dish, formally created in the 1950’s; it has a local history going back nearly 200 years. A Low Country Boil will always have shrimp, corn on the cob, smoked sausage and new potatoes steamed in a savory broth seasoned with bay leaves, cloves, garlic and black peppercorns. Traditionally this dish is served outdoors on newspaper-covered picnic tables, accompanied by frosty mugs of ice-cold beer.

Other dishes that have spawned from or have been perfected in this region include: shrimp and grits, she-crab soup, Charleston red rice, hoppin’ John and cooter soup (a special turtle soup). Plenty of okra, rice and seafood influence the meals prepared in the region. These ingredients, mixed with the English, southern, Caribbean and Gullah cultures results in a complex mix of African and European flavors. Often, this region has parallels drawn to New Orleans and Creole cuisine because of the heavy African and Caribbean influences on the cooking styles.

So, if you want to add a bit of coastal fun to your menu, look into Low Country cuisine and enjoy!