Recipes and Stories

5 September 2017: Peanut Soup

September 5, 2017

Tags: Classic Southern Cooking, Virginia Cookery, Peanuts, Peanut Soup, Ground Nuts, Ground Nut Soup, Sarah Rutledge, The Carolina Housewife, The Williamsburg Cookbook, Colonial Williamsburg, Soup

Old-Fashioned Peanut Soup, still served in Colonial Williamsburg's King's Arms Tavern.
An old New Yorker friend tells me that, until recently, on Tuesday morning after Labor Day the subways smelled heavily of mothballs, regardless of what the weather was like. Since the holiday marked the symbolic if not actual end of summer, summer whites were dutifully put away and fall woolens came out of storage.

Well, it may be the symbolic end of the season, but here in the Deep South, we’re facing another full month or more of summer heat and humidity. Those white shoes may be ceremonially moved to the back of the closet, but other wardrobe changes will have to wait.

All the same, there’s a distinct shortening of the daylight hours and the lengthening of the shadows, bringing subtle changes in the light that inevitably turn our imagination toward fall. At the table, we may not be ready for heavy cold weather fare, but we’re weary of a steady litany of salads and chilled soup and are ready for the mellow flavors of autumn. (more…)

28 January 2017: A Lowcountry Winter Stew

January 28, 2017

Tags: Lowcountry Cooking, Classic Southern Cooking, Veal, Pork, Veal Stew, Pork Stew, Ragout, Sarah Rutledge

A Lowcountry Ragout, inspired by Sarah Rutledge's timeless classic, The Carolina Housewife, published in 1847
Winter in the Carolina and Georgia lowcountry is rarely what one could call harsh, but the last week or so has been unusually mild even for us—more like late spring than the dead heart of winter. But we know that those balmy whispers of spring are fleeting and can never be trusted. And, sure enough, this weekend the temperatures have once again dropped.

It’s still not what a New Englander would call cold, but it’s blustery enough to make us crave heartier fare, something that will not only warm us in the moment, but stick with us for a long time. And when that kind of craving comes calling, nothing answers it better than a good stew. (more…)

8 October 2012: Mushroom Soup

October 9, 2012

Tags: Mushrooms, Mushroom Soup, Sarah Rutledge, German Cooking, Early American Cooking, Historical Southern Cooking, Soup

Thick, rich Mushroom Soup made with both fresh and dried mushrooms and broth, cream is only added as a garnish at the end
After my recent newspaper story on fall mushrooms, several correspondents asked about a good recipe for mushroom soup, since one wasn't included in the story. I went looking to see what might turn up in some the early American cookbooks in my collection, and to my surprise, found only this simple recipe in The Carolina Housewife: (more…)

28 July 2012: Okra and Tomatoes

July 28, 2012

Tags: Okra, Tomatoes, Okra and Tomatoes, Historical Southern Cooking, Classical Southern Cooking, Mary Randolph, Annabella Hill, Lettice Bryan, Sarah Rutledge

Classical Southern Okra and Tomatoes, with small, whole okra and fresh tomatoes
One of the great flavor combinations of a Southern summer is the masterful pairing of okra and tomatoes. This near perfect mating was not discovered down here, nor is it limited to our corner of the globe, but we’ve certainly laid claim to it and made it peculiarly our own. (more…)