The Food, Folklore, and Art of Lowcountry Cooking: A Celebration of the Foods, History, and Romance Handed Down From England, Africa, The Caribbean, France, Germany, and Scotland (Joseph E. Dabney – Cumberland House/Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010)

The book’s subtitle, “A Celebration of the Foods, History, and Romance Handed Down from Africa, The Caribbean, France, Germany, and Scotland” really says it all.

Packed with historical anecdotes, primary source material, and interviews as well as photos, tips, and plenty of recipes from Low Country residents themselves. Refreshingly enough, the book does not romanticize plantation culture or the Old South as other southern cookbooks very often tend to.

Dabney doesn’t shy away from discussing slavery or segregation and what they meant for the development of the region and it’s unique culinary profile. What makes this book truly unique, in my opinion, is that it gives fairly balanced treatment to all of the groups that call the region home and he acknowledges all of the culinary traditions—African and Caribbean included—that have shaped eating and cooking in the region. Significantly, Dabney gives historical context to the culinary traditions the important contributions that Afro-descendents made to the culture and food of Low Country.

From Carolina Gold rice to seafood and barbecue sauce, whole chapters on benne (sesame) seeds and wild game, and the original recipe (and story behind) Frogmore Stew also known as Lowcountry Boil, Dabney has offered the reader a well-researched, entertaining book with plenty of recipes that is easily accessible to the home cook. It also that includes and extensive cookbook and food history reference list that could serve as a great starting point for academic research. The Food, Folklore, and Art of Low Country Cooking is a recommended addition to any cookbook collection.

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