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

Kusina Has Your Holiday Putong Puti, Pichi-Pichi and Spongecakes

Sapin-sapin from another bakery, courtesy of joefoodie

Sapin-sapin from another bakery, courtesy of joefoodie

For its first holiday season, Kusina is putting together trays of the Filipino sweets that customers tend to crave come Christmastime.

Although the Goose Creek grocery and bakery hasn’t yet finalized its Christmas tray menu, the Thanksgiving selection included putong puti (rice muffins), kutchinta (gelatinous rice cakes), pichi-pichi (steamed grated cassava) and espasol (another kind of rice cake, for which rice flour’s mixed with coconut milk.)

“It’s not the normal kind of dessert you see at Publix,” owner Leah Oboza says. Continue reading

South Carolina’s Year of Rice Beer

lamoix

lamoix

According to my story about the Southeast’s brewing sake scene, which ran in today’s print edition, rice spirits never made much of a splash in the lowcountry. That’s technically true, but food historian and sake connoisseur David Shields points out that rice beer had a very big year in 1893.

As Shields explains, three years before Ben Tillman told voters he’d skewer President Grover Cleveland in the rump with a pitchfork, he persuaded Prohibitionists to support legislation making South Carolina a control state. But the governor’s bill defined alcoholic beverages as drinks with an alcohol content of at least 2.5 percent, which meant the state couldn’t stop the private sale of near-beer.

“The Palmetto Brewing Company of Charleston, a self styled ‘soft drink’ company that had begun manufacturing a rice brew acceptable in prohibitionist southern locales in 1888, began manufacturing oceans of “Rice Beer”—a light beer with an alcohol content under the legal ceiling,” Shields writes. Continue reading

Katsu Japanese Steakhouse Adds Korean Dishes to Menu

 

avlxyz

avlxyz

Katsu is still a Japanese steakhouse, but the North Charleston restaurant is rounding out its menu with a few Korean dishes in response to customer demand.

According to general manager Charles Rutherford, patrons of the 13-year old restaurant kept asking owner Ho Dong Lee to serve dishes from his homeland.

“I’d tell them about Mama Kim’s, but they said ‘there’s nothing up here’,” Rutherford says.

So starting Nov. 23, the menu will include bibimbop, bulgogi and Korean barbecue, prepared on the standard hibachi grilling table. “They get to see the show,” promises Rutherford, who’s also training kitchen staffers to make to-go orders. Continue reading

Carolina Rice: Something to Sing About

My story today on the sorry state of rice awareness among Charleston visitors has promoted a rush of reminiscences from readers who can’t fathom not knowing about rice.

“Had it not been for the rice culture, the city’s huge success as a major city in centuries past as well as today’s identity as a mecca for tourism would not exist — and those tour guides would not have a job,” writes Charleston native Mary Coy, who suspects many of her fellow tour guides don’t appreciate rice’s significance because they “are ‘from off,’ just as the majority of the area’s residents are.”

But the catchiest response came from George Larson, a native Northeasterner who vivdly remembers hearing Carolina Rice advertised on the radio in the 1950s. Larson dug up the tune, which suggests rice can be prepared “pressure-cooked, Southern (or) Oriental style.”

“I come from Cah-lina, so pardon my drawl, I’m here to mention long-grain rice to y’all,” a female voice sings. “It makes rice fancy eatin’, so tasty and so nice, For quality and nourishment, it’s Cah-lina rice.”

For your listening pleasure, you’ll find the whole jingle above.

Sweet Radish Bakeshop’s Tart Riff on Rice Pudding

sweetradish3My obsession with rice, stoked by my recent move to Charleston and last week’s Lowcountry Rice Culture Project forum, is brand new. But my obsession with rice pudding dates back to childhood; the dessert preference is likely a relic of my family’s Sephardic heritage (high on my to-research list is the culinary leanings of Charleston’s early Sephardic community.)

So I was terrifically excited to discover that rice pudding has a permanent place in the display case at Sweet Radish, the gluten-free bakery which yesterday opened on Spring Street. Owner Julia Ingram sells the pudding in little glass jars for $3 a serving; if you return the jar, you get a dollar back. Continue reading

Lowcountry Rice Forum Underway

ricefieldThis morning’s speakers at the Lowcountry Rice Culture Forum talked about rice as though it was something which grew long ago or far away, but rice revivalist Glenn Roberts takes exception to the characterization.

“Let’s stop talking about it and start doing it,” the founder of Anson Mills told me.

According to Roberts, Lowcountry residents grew their own rice plots as late as the 1980s. He’s hoping to instigate a resurgence of the practice with his Saturday afternoon talk entitled “Grow Backyard Rice Just Like Garden Tomatoes.” Continue reading

Picturing a Clearer Understanding of Lowcountry Rice Culture

lesliefront“We’re not taking sides, we’re just trying to help our younger people get an understanding of Southern culture,” artist Jonathan Green says, explaining why the Lowcountry Rice Culture Project is working to disseminate a clearer picture of the region during its rice production heyday. The group this September is sponsoring a three-day forum intended partly to speed the flow of factual information.

According to Green, who chairs the group, the experience of enslaved laborers in particular has been obscured by artists’ inaccurate depictions of plantation life.

Green’s contention is dramatically illustrated by two images in the Charleston Library Society’s collection. The library has extensive holdings related to rice, including 15 wordy nineteenth-century pamphlets outlining the cultivation, harvest and use of rice around the world. The pamphlets also feature cooking advice, such as the “Griddles for Breakfast” recipe from RFW Allston’s 1845 Memoir on the Production and Cultivation of Rice. (“Mix a thin batter with milk and rice flour, adding salt.”) But as an artist, Green is drawn to the archive’s illustrations. Continue reading