Tradition on menu for Beaufort's anniversary

January 5, 2011 

Folks don't celebrate without doing some thinking and planning first. Everyone likes to celebrate and the city of Beaufort is no different. The city has much to celebrate this year as it marks the 300th anniversary of its founding.

Celebrations often prompt cooks to go digging into their recipe collections. "The Beaufort Cook Book: A Treasury of Carolina Recipes" is a 1965 collection by Dee Hryharrow and Isabel M. Hoogenboom. This first recipe in the book was written by Anne Head:

"Recipe for Making a Good Cook"

Take a woman of hearty appetite

(Gourmet's delight)

Of abandon tempered by restraint,

(No saint)

Generous and warm of heart,

(Not sweet, not tart)

And in a kitchen place her,

Bring to a rapid boil

And with herbs and spices lace her,

Serve her with flattery,

Add a soupcon of humility,

Laud her,

Applaud her,

For hers is no happenstance ability.

The cookbook flavors the 300 years of the colorful existence of Beaufort with a past so rich and varied that a distinctive style of cooking has developed. There are influences from early Huguenots and Spanish and English settlers. The mixing of Gullah heritage with a knowledge of seasonings and an instinct for savory combinations has created a place where cooking is at its best.

With the saltwater creeks and rivers overflowing with shrimp, oysters and blue crabs; the woods filled with deer, duck and other game birds -- not to mention raccoons and opossums -- the kitchen was the place of conversation and enjoyment.

The hot breads, pilaus and desserts add enough to make Beaufort the historic place that it is. It's a place where shrimp boats can be seen, where lovers of the food learn how to throw a cast net, and how seafood is prepared in so many ways. Shrimp always has been a welcome dish on our tables. By comparison, Frogmore Stew and Lowcountry Boil are relatively new dishes.

When sharing the history of this city -- pointing out the trees and sharing the new and the old -- appetizers and drink should be on hand for nibbling. It's a great way to be in the mix of any celebration.

Spiced Shrimp

2 pounds peeled, deveined, boiled shrimp

1 large white onion, sliced thin

1 lemon, sliced very thin

1 1/2 cups vinegar

1 cup water

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

1 bay leaf

1 dash hot sauce

1/2 cup vegetable oil

Bring water, vinegar, salt, sugar and spices to a boil and simmer a few minutes. Strain and cool. In a bowl, arrange shrimp, onions and lemon slices in layers. Pour vinegar mixture over; add oil and let stand at least 24 hours before serving.

This will keep several days in refrigerator if put into a jar and covered with at least 1 inch of oil.

Cocktail Party Shrimp Balls

1 1/2 pounds shrimp, cooked and mashed fine

1 large package cream cheese

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon chili sauce

2 teaspoons horseradish

1/4 cup celery, finely diced

2 tablespoons green pepper, finely chopped

1 hard-cooked egg (boiled), finely chopped

2 tablespoons onion, grated

1 teaspoon salt

Red pepper

Mix well and form into very small balls (about the size of large marbles). Roll in chopped parsley and chill.

Shrimp Remoulade

1 pound shrimp

2 tablespoons tarragon vinegar

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 bay leaves

2 tablespoons Creole mustard

2 tablespoons anchovy paste

1/2 teaspoon paprika

4 stalks celery, chopped fine

4 small onions, chipped fine

4 springs parsley

Boil shrimp, seasoning with red pepper, salt, onions and bay leaves. Peel the shrimp. Make a dressing of the oil, vinegar and salt. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over shrimp and let stand 24 hours in refrigerator. Serve on shredded lettuce.

Coca-Cola Punch

3 quarts ginger ale

1 quart pineapple juice

12 cans or small bottles Coke

1 lemon, sliced thin

Mix in punch bowl and serve with lemon slices.

Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. E-mail her at features@beaufortgazette.com.

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