Recipes and Stories

30 August 2017: Old-Fashioned Squash Casserole

August 30, 2017

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Historical southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Yellow squash, Squash Casserole, Squash, Summer Squash

A Southern Classic: Old-Fashioned Squash Casserole
Before summer passes, some thoughts on an old seasonal classic.

One of the loveliest standard dishes for those great old Southern institutions—church covered-dish suppers, dinners-on-the-grounds, and buffet spreads for family reunions and funerals—is squash casserole. Variously known as a casserole, pudding, and soufflé (those last mainly when it has eggs in it), it’s popularity as a covered-dish offering probably owes a lot to the fact that it was cheap (the main ingredient came right out of the back garden), easy to make (especially on short notice), and delicious with just about anything. (more…)

28 August 2017: Sherry Cobbler

August 28, 2017

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Classic American Cooking, Historical American cooking, Sherry, Lemonade, Sherry Cobbler

An Old-Fashioned Sherry Cobbler. Photograph by John Carrington Photography, from The Savannah Cookbook (Gibbs-Smith, 2008).
Today, in part because of the horrendous weather that’s wreaking havoc elsewhere in the South, we’re having an unusual and welcome break from the long, unrelenting swelter that’s August in the lowcountry. With almost daily showers and high temperatures hovering at three digits, the outdoors has been a giant steam bath since July. Every year we complain that it seems worse than the last, but if we’re honest, we’ll admit it’s pretty normal for summer down here. Still, it often leads us to ponder how our ancestors got through it without air-conditioning.

The answers to that puzzle are: mountain cabins, beach cottages, and sherry cobbler. (more…)

21 August 2017: More Simple Summer Cooking—Fresh Peach and Blueberry Compote

August 21, 2017

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Summer Cooking, Fruit, Blueberries, Peaches, Sourwood Honey, Fruit Compote

Fresh Peach and Blueberry Compote with Sourwood Honey
Toward the end of the summer of 1979, while I was in graduate school at Clemson University, my mother came for a short visit. As usual, she left me with a cache of produce from her garden, supplemented by baskets of fragrant late peaches and blueberries from local orchards.

It was my first apartment, and therefore the first kitchen that was wholly my own: usually, such gifts led to a day of curious cooking, but a project deadline loomed and my un-airconditioned apartment was too hot to consider turning on the monstrous avocado-green electric stove that dominated my little kitchen. (more…)