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Hoppin John's Lowcountry Cooking

Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking
by John Martin Taylor. 
Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

A "sandlapper" from the South Carolina Lowcountry -- a 10,000-square-mile coastal region extending from Pawleys Island to the Savannah River and encompassing Charleston  -- John Martin Taylor is the region's culinary preservationist, combining local ingredients with traditional recipes.

Some of the Lowcountry's most notable native dishes include Shrimp & Grits, Oyster Sausages, Sweet Potato Pie, Sweet Watermelon Pickles and Crawfish Gumbo. In this book, Taylor serves up more than 150 contemporary and traditional dishes thick with Lowcountry flavor.

Many of the recipes in this collection have historical antecedents, which Taylor shares in his introductions. "Traditionally, catsups were added to other sauces and dishes to season and finish them, not served as the sauce itself," he explains in the preface to Port-Scented Tomato Catsup. 

Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking
Recipes and Ruminations from Charleston and the Carolina Coastal Plain
"The Carolina Housewife of 184  includes recipes for catsups made from walnuts and mushrooms as well as tomato, wisely recommending that the cook add 'the best port wine' to each bottle of tomato catsup. Port adds an intriguing roundness of flavor that the commercial brans try, unsuccessfullly, to achieve with sugar."

Thick with stories and culinary traditions studied over many years, Taylor's regional cookbook masterfully captures the taste of the place as only a native son could have achieved.

Spareribs on Barbeque
Spareribs on Barbeque


Recipe: Barbecued Ribs with Roast Garlic 

This is the easiest barbecue, and it's absolutely delicious. If you have never eaten roasted garlic, you will be amazed at how sweet and subtle it is. When the pork ribs come off the grill, the soft cooked flesh of the garlic is squeezed our of the bulbs and rubbed all over the meat and onto thick bread slices like butter. 

  • spareribs, at least 1 pound per person
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • several whole heads of garlic, about 2 per person
About an hour before cooking, season the ribs with salt and pepper, then leave them on a platter to come to room temperatur. Prepare a wood, charcoal, or gas grill for cooking. A gas grill should be set low and allowed to warm up. Coals should be just ashen, totaly grey but glowing orange from within. 

Place the unpeeled garlic among the coals and the ribs on the grill, directly over the coals. Cover the gill and cook the ribs for 25 o 30 minutes on each side, turning them once. Remove the ribs and the garlic to a cutting board. Slice the bases off the garlic and squeeze the roasted garlic all over the ribs. Slice the ribs apart with a knife, pile on a platter, and serve. 

Hoppin' John's Lowcountry Cooking by John Martin Taylor. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. 

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