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South Carolina


Palmetto State

Adapt And Overcome 

Starting in the 1700s, people from countries such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia were brought to the colonial America as slaves. These particular slaves were selected because of their expertise in rice cultivation in their home countries’ hot and humid climates, and were forced to work on plantations in the southern states, including South Carolina. Upon the emancipation of slaves in 1863, the customs, traditions, and culture of the newly liberated inhabitants of South Carolina began to spread freely throughout the state, creating a new culture known as Gullah. One of the great contributions the Gullah provided the United States with is their cooking, known as “low country cuisine”.

The Land That Keeps On Giving 

South Carolina is a lowcountry state, which is a trait it shares with the neighboring state, Georgia. Essentially, this means that the coastal area that lines the state presents citizen with more fish and shellfish than you can “shake a stick at”, so to speak. For this reason, seafood is a major player in South Carolinian cooking, including shrimp, crabs, oysters, and wild fish. Also abundant is the population of hogs and other animals in the nearby forests, which provide an ongoing supply of wild game. Humid and wet, this state has the ideal elements in which to cultivate rice, which has become an essential part of southern cuisine. The aforementioned Gullah people practically invented farm-to-table meals in America, utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients, such as tomatoes and peaches.

Gullah people also carried and passed down their ancestors’ methods of preparation, including one-pot creations. This method saves the chef both time and the battle with dirty dishes after the meal. Deep frying, a southern staple, also found its way into lowcountry cuisine. But it wouldn’t be a true southern cuisine without grilling and barbeque. In South Carolina, especially, these meats tend to be cooked low and slow, so the meat can maintain its tender, juicy texture and savory flavor.

South Carolina ribs are typically pork, with a slathering of vinegar and mustard-based sauces that give the smoked meat a little bit of tanginess that is absolutely mouthwatering. if you join in on the cookout festivities, make sure to grab a side of cornbread or a biscuit, which were both created in the 1800s for a shorter, less painstakingly hot process of bread making. With no yeast involved, and all the delicious crustiness and flavor, these accompaniment breads are a no-brainer. If the town cookout isn’t your scene, classic shrimp and grits never disappoint. Borrowing inspiration from Cajun and Creole cooking, this dish is traditionally served for breakfast. However, it can be hard to say no to cheese, bacon, soft and buttery grits, and shrimp seasoned with multiple bold spices at any point in the day, so there’s really no judgement if you want to enjoy your shrimp and grits for lunch or dinner.



That Good Ol’ Southern Hospitality 

It is said that there a few traits in which to define “southern hospitality”. Kindness, manners, helpfulness, charity, charm, and, of course, home cooking skills. While the Palmetto State’s neighbor, Georgia, is notorious for being one of the most hospitable states in this region, South Carolina is certainly within the top few in the nation!

In South Carolina, cooking and baking is almost a social skill. When greeting a new neighbor, it is encouraged to bring a delicious home-baked cake or pastry to give them a warm welcome to the neighborhood. A highly Christian region of the United States, attending mass is something of a necessity to many South Carolinian residents. It is not uncommon for church functions to host a “potluck”, in which all participants must bring a dish to share with their fellow church-goers. Forgot? Or maybe you’re new here? No worries! you’ll still be greeted with open arms and fed until you can’t eat another bite. That’s the way of southern hospitality!

Countries in Region Lowcountry, Pee Dee, Piedmont, Lower Piedmont, and Upstate
Population 5.092 million
Regional Flavor Profiles Seafood, Grains, Herbal, Spice, Seasoned
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