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Brewing on Books: Taste the State

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Commonhouse Aleworks

4831 O'Hear Avenue

North Charleston, SC 29405

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Chef Kevin Mitchell joins us to discuss classic South Carolina dishes and their histories.

About this event

Join us for a community discussion on the Common Ground with Commonhouse Aleworks as part of our new event series, Brewing on Books: A Community Book Club. This series will focus on local topics of interest for community members.

For our November meeting, we will discuss Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields's new homage to South Carolina cooking, Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, recipes, and Their Stories.

Taste the State presents the cultural histories of native ingredients and showcases the evolution of the dishes and the variety of preparations that have emerged. This is true Carolina cooking in all of its cultural depth, historical vividness, and sumptuous splendor—from the simple home cooking of sweet potato pone to Lady Baltimore cake worthy of a Charleston society banquet.

Books are available from Itinerant Literate:

Taste the State: https://bit.ly/3kAyJ8q

Food & Drink Special

Commonhouse will be offering a special deal on a themed appetizer and beverage available to attendees of this event. Details on the discount code for the special will be available prior to the event.

About the Book

Taste the State: South Carolina's Signature Foods, Recipes, and Their Stories

From the influence of 1920s fashion on asparagus growers to an heirloom watermelon lost and found, Taste the State abounds with surprising stories from South Carolina's singularly rich food tradition. Here, Kevin Mitchell and David S. Shields present engaging profiles of eighty-two of the state's most distinctive ingredients, such as Carolina Gold rice, Sea Island White Flint corn, and the cone-shaped Charleston Wakefield cabbage, and signature dishes, such as shrimp and grits, chicken bog, okra soup, Frogmore stew, and crab rice. These portraits, illustrated with original photographs and historical drawings, provide origin stories and tales of kitchen creativity and agricultural innovation. Historical "receipts" and modern recipes, including Chef Mitchell's distillation of traditions in Hoppin' John fritters, okra and crab stew, are also provided.

Because Carolina cookery combines ingredients and cooking techniques of three greatly divergent cultural traditions, there is more than a little novelty and variety in the food. In Taste the State Mitchell and Shields celebrate the contributions of Native Americans (hominy grits, squashes, beans), the Gullah Geechee (field peas, okra, guinea squash, rice, sorghum), and European settlers (garden vegetables, grains, pigs, cattle) in the mixture of ingredients and techniques that would become Carolina cooking. They also explore the specialties of every region—the famous rice and seafood dishes of the Lowcountry; the Pee Dee's catfish and pinebark stews; the smothered cabbage, pumpkin chips, and mustard-based barbecue of the Dutch Fork and Orangeburg; the red chicken stew of the midlands; and the chestnuts, chinquapins, and corn bread recipes of the mountainous Upstate.

About the Authors

David S. Shields

David S. Shields is Carolina Distinguished Professor of the English Language and Literature Department at the University of South Carolina and the chair of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation. He is the author of numerous books, including Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine and The Culinarians: Lives and Careers from the First Age of American Fine Dining, and the recipient of the Southern Foodways Alliance's Ruth Fertel Keeper of the Flame Award.

Kevin Mitchell

Kevin Mitchell is the first African American chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston in South Carolina. He has culinary arts degrees in occupational studies and management from the Culinary Institute of America and a master's degree in southern studies from the University of Mississippi, where he studied Southern foodways, the preservation of Southern ingredients, and the history of African Americans in the culinary arts. In 2020 Mitchell was named a South Carolina Chef Ambassador.

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Commonhouse Aleworks

4831 O'Hear Avenue

North Charleston, SC 29405

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Organizer Itinerant Literate Books

Organizer of Brewing on Books: Taste the State

At Itinerant Literate, we offer new books and friendly recommendations on the go in Viola the bookmobile and seven days a week at the Bookstop, our flagship store in Park Circle. Visit the Bookstop for a curated variety of fiction, nonfiction, children's, young adult, graphic novels, comic books, cookbooks, and gift items. Find the bookmobile at breweries, restaurants, parks, and schools around town for your next literary discovery!

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