Growing up in the heart of the historic downtown, in a warbler-yellow house on Charleston's fabled "Rainbow Row," brothers Matt and Ted knew how to cast for shrimp before they were in middle school, and could catch and pick crabs soon after. Read more...
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Growing up in the heart of the historic downtown, in a warbler-yellow house on Charleston's fabled "Rainbow Row," brothers Matt and Ted knew how to cast for shrimp before they were in middle school, and could catch and pick crabs soon after. They learned to recognize the fruit trees that grew around town and knew to watch for the day in late March when the loquats on the tree on Chalmers Street ripened. Their new cookbook brings the vibrant food culture of this great Southern city to life, giving readers insider access to the best recipes and stories Charleston has to offer.
No cookbook on the region would be complete without the city's most iconic dishes done right, including She-Crab Soup, Hoppin' John, and Huguenot Torte, but the Lee brothers also aim to reacquaint home cooks with treasures lost to time, like chewy-crunchy, salty-sweet Groundnut Cakes and Syllabub with Rosemary Glazed Figs. In addition, they masterfully bring the flavors of today's Charleston to the fore, inviting readers to sip a bright Kumquat Gin Cocktail, nibble chilled Pickled Shrimp with Fennel, and dig into a plate of Smothered Pork Chops, perhaps with a side of Grilled Chainey Briar, foraged from sandy beach paths. The brothers left no stone unturned in their quest for Charleston's best, interviewing home cooks, chefs, farmers, fishermen, caterers, and funeral directors to create an accurate portrait of the city's food traditions. Their research led to gems such as Flounder in Parchment with Shaved Vegetables, an homage to the dish that became Edna Lewis's signature during her tenure at Middleton Place Restaurant, and Cheese Spread a la Henry's, a peppery dip from the beloved brasserie of the mid-twentieth century. Readers are introduced to the people, past and present, who have left their mark on the food culture of the Holy City and inspired the brothers to become the cookbook authors they are today.
Through 100 recipes, 75 full-color photographs, and numerous personal stories, "The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen "gives readers the most intimate portrayal yet of the cuisine of this exciting Southern city, one that will resonate with food lovers wherever they live. And for visitors to Charleston, indispensible walking and driving tours related to recipes in the book bring this food town to life like never before.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-12-17
- Reviewer: Staff
The Lee brothers, who write this book in the collective “we,” grew up in Charleston, S.C., and were educated in the Northeast. It is the latter influence that is more pronounced here with writing that is cerebral, free of any stereotypical down South mannerisms, clear and sharp, but missing the passion one would expect from a collection of Southern cooking anecdotes and Lowcountry favorite recipes. For example, their introduction to Hoppin’ John dwells on pea preference and instructs that “the combination of legume, rice, and animal fat is an ancient one.” The 100 offerings represent a mix of the classic and the newfangled. There’s peach leather, a Charleston chew dating back to the 19th century, which requires two days of sun-drying. And then there’s a totally nontraditional tomato and watermelon gazpacho with shrimp. This dichotomy is on display throughout seven chapters that cover drinks, snacks, soups, vegetables, fish, meat, and desserts. There are rewarding, complex entrées such as wild duck, opera style, a three-act process of parboiling, frying, and braising, and simpler, yet still satisfying, options such as fried chicken done with cornmeal and buttermilk. The brothers also provide two excellent addendums: a comprehensive bibliography of Charleston cookbooks dating back to 1756 and directions for a walking or driving tour featuring eateries from which many of their recipes were derived. (Feb.)
The delicious life of pie
Pies: Sweet and Savory—that’s as straightforward as a title can be, and author Caroline Bretherton, pie practitioner par excellence, offers equally straightforward instructions for a fabulous, international array of more than 230 pies and tarts. An illustrated recipe planner organizes the recipes by pie type—top-crust, double-crust, cobblers and crumbles (yes, there are super savory varieties like Beef and Red Wine Cobbler and Fish Crumble made with salmon and shrimp), individual pies and tarts, en croûtes and layered pies, quiches and more. And the recipes within each chapter are arranged by key ingredient. If you’re a little leery about making pie dough, head for “In Praise of Pie Dough” first, where you’ll be treated to detailed, step-by-step directions for every kind of dough, including quick puff pastry, cookie crust and crumble topping, and shown how to bake blind, line a tart pan and make great decorative edges and tops. From Almond and Peach Tart and Apple and Camembert Tartlets to Venison Wellingtons and Zucchini and Feta Pie, there’s a baked delight for every occasion—and that’s not pie in the sky!
MEALS ON WHEELS
Food trucks are “in” and fast becoming indispensable. The ubiquitous hot dog and pretzel vendors of the recent past have morphed into an American street food phenomenon that rivals the exotic sidewalk fare found in the far-flung corners of the globe. If you’re already an aficionado of this new movable feast, James Cunningham’s Eat St.: Recipes from the Tastiest, Messiest, and Most Irresistible Food Trucks, a tie-in to the Cooking Channel’s popular show “Eat St.,” is a great way to spend more time in this trendy urban foodscape. If you’re not surrounded by vividly painted trucks serving up Korean kolbi, Masala Fish Burgers, Maine Lobster Rolls, Mexican Rajas con Queso, Saigon Shrimp Ceviche, Shashlik with Tzatziki or a creamy, vitamin-packed Strawberry Coconut Smoothie, join the street food revolution by sampling some of the more than 125 recipes included here in the privacy of your own kitchen. That way you can slurp up a Nashville-invented Hot Southern Mess or a fusion-inspired Kimchee Quesadilla with impunity and utter delight.
TOP PICK IN COOKBOOKS
Charleston is a top dining destination, but to the Lee brothers, devotees and chroniclers of Charleston’s cuisine, it’s a “food town, pure and simple,” not a “foodie” town. And in their latest culinary collaboration, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen, they make that distinction clear. Charleston’s food culture has flourished and evolved for more than two centuries. Good food, even great food, isn’t “trendy” here, it’s an integral and celebrated part of Lowcountry life. The brothers L revel in their town’s food history and its vibrant contemporary food scene, and they celebrate it with a collection of 100 eminently doable recipes, inspired by local fishermen and farmers, by famed Charleston institutions past and present (check out the Cheese Spread from the hallowed Henry’s) and by dishes discovered in old cookbooks and memoirs. Fabulous photos, fascinating intros and header notes, and shared slices of history put Charleston’s culinary charms—from drinks to desserts—in loving context and make the Lee brothers’ homage the next best thing to being there.