Chasing Down Calabash’s Correct Definition

seafoodhut

Seafood Hut, Calabash, N.C.

I first encountered calabash in western North Carolina. I worked part-time in politics, and so split my time between Calabash houses and barbecue joints. The prevalence of deviled crabs in the mountains is astounding.

But Calabash’s dominion apparently reaches much further west than south. When I mentioned to a friend here that I’d probably manage a Calabash supper on a Myrtle Beach outing, she didn’t have a clue what I meant (Hold your outrage: She’s only lived here a few years, and the southernmost Calabash restaurant I can find in South Carolina is in Surfside Beach.)

As I tried to explain it to her, I realized I wasn’t entirely sure either. Is the Calabash style characterized by its seasoning? The makeup of its breading? Or the oil in which it’s fried? I figured if I couldn’t win every miniature golf game in Myrtle, I could at least use the trip to quell my Calabash curiosity. Continue reading

South Carolinians Try To Avoid Burning Down Their Homes This Thanksgiving

nukeit1

nukeit1

No matter what you decide to serve for the holidays this year, make sure you prepare it very, very carefully: According to State Farm data, South Carolina from 2005-2012 had a greater incidence of Thanksgiving Day cooking mishaps than any other state in the continental U.S.

Although five states produced more cooking-related claims than South Carolina, those numbers can be attributed to much larger populations. In New York, for example, over the seven years covered by the survey, one out of every 889,545 residents reported an injury or fire caused by cooking. By contrast, one out of every 295,250 South Carolinians had a bad run-in with a turkey fryer or kitchen grease.

Only Alaskans were more likely to have their holiday end with an insurance claim: With five claims filed over the survey’s span, one out of every 146,289 Alaskans saw a holiday meal go dangerously awry. Continue reading

Dispatch From Greenville: Chefs Wrestle With Gator

Shoshanah

Shoshanah

Since moving to gator country, I’ve been curious as to why the animal’s meat is almost exclusively served fried. Although the stray stewed, grilled or braised alligator dish will occasionally appear on a restaurant menu – New Orleans’ Mandina’s has reportedly subjected gator to its meunière treatment – most alligator available for ordering takes the form of a crispy nugget.

“It’s one of the tougher white meats,” explains Damion Norton, chef of Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen in Greenville. “I think it tastes better fried.” Continue reading