Ancestral Peanut Debuts at Old Village Post House Dinner

crab When guests reached the second course of the Carolina Rice Kitchen Dinner — presented last night by the Old Village Post House – table conversations veered sharply to the first softshell crabs of the season, superbly flash-fried by chef Forrest Parker’s team. The supporting Sea Island Guinea flint grits from sponsor Anson Mills barely merited a mention.

The grits’ fade-out was a kind of triumph for Anson Mills’ Glenn Roberts and University of South Carolina professor David Shields, who have jointly spearheaded the effort to resurrect Carolina gold rice and the crops which completed the agricultural system surrounding it. The results of their work, including Chinquapin chestnuts, benne seeds and James Island peas, formed the core of the Rice Kitchen Dinner menu.

But the revivalists’ overarching goal is for the nearly-forgotten grains to attain standard ingredient status. Roberts and Shields have no interest in making the plants cultivated generations ago by Lowcountry growers into untouchable relics; using heirloom grits in service of another regional delicacy is very much in line with their strategy. Continue reading

Old Village Post House Releases Menu for Carolina Rice Kitchen Dinner

peanutThe ancestral peanut of the South, which until this year had scarcely been tasted since the early part of the 20th century, is on the menu of an Old Village Post House dinner benefiting the lab which helped resurrect the long lost legume.

The African runner peanut – rediscovered by University of South Carolina professor David Shields; grown by Clemson University horticulturalist Brian Ward and funded by Anson Mills founder Glenn Roberts – will embroider a triggerfish crudo with pickled marsh samphire and icicle radish.

Shields, Ward and Roberts will guest star at the five-course supper at 6:30 p.m. on Apr. 16, explaining the nuts, beans and grains on the menu. Harry Root of Grassroots Wine is handling the wine pairings. Continue reading