There is good news!
The indefatigable Patricia Branning has just published and released her latest book, her sixth, titled “Pullin’ Pots.”
“Pullin’ Pots,” is a shrimp, collards and grits cookbook filled to the brim with the most original collection of Southern blue crab recipes. They are artfully blended with her brand of Southern lore, Lowcountry tales, stunning artful paintings she has selected — all by well known, highly regarded artists — along with phenomenal photographs by her son, Andrew. The book is painstakingly written, assiduously checked and checked again, and finally, carefully and artfully assembled, published and available.
“Pullin Pots” is a wonderful, kind of nostalgic reference assigned to the way in which crabs were caught, gathered and harvested in our lush tidal creeks and waterways in earlier times. Crabbing in the coastal Southeast was carried out by fishermen called “white boot heroes,” because of the white rubber boots they all wore.
“We referred to the men who made their living crabbing and even venturing out on the high seas in terribly dangerous circumstances, ‘white boot warriors,’ ” said Branning. “In gathering and assembling all of the parts of this new book, I researched, of course, but my most impactful content came from meeting and talking with those who had first-hand knowledge of these ‘white boot heroes.’... I am so appreciative of the talks I had with Craig Reaves and Randy Higgins, true ‘white boot heroes,’ along with longtime Beaufort residents and artists.”
Branning and I met the other day to talk about this awesome new book, which will delight all of her followers and those new to her work, along with the chefs of the greater Lowcountry and the “culinary elite,” and those, like many of us, who just appreciate good food, prepared and presented creatively and graciously.
This volume is the sixth in her incredibly successful Southern Lifestyle Series. And as in the beautiful publications that preceded this one, “Pullin’ Pots” is loaded with the most original collection of stories, photographs, artwork and recipes imaginable.
Journalist, author, art appreciator, publisher and businesswoman, Branning has a special gift when it comes to recognizing, then pointing out the astonishing gifts we share as we take in the natural beauty, the rich history, the unique people and, most especially, the mouthwatering flavors we anticipate when we consider the Lowcountry cuisine.
Look out for the recipes for crab, shrimp and okra gumbo; Charlie’s Crab-Stuffed Shrimp, (That’s our Charlie Golson of Charlie’s Etoile Vert); Pat Conroy’s Crab Cakes with Caper Sauce (That Pat Conroy!); deep-fried, soft-shell crabs; rolled flounder stuffed with crab; Confederate Crab Imperial; and the butternut squash soup and its amazing presentation, which will bring tears to your eyes!
But as though that were not enough, look forward to the original artwork by artists like John Carroll Doyle, who is best known for his fresh, light-filled paintings of diverse subjects, many based on Lowcountry lifestyles particular to the waterways and creeks of our coastal regions.
Clark Hulings, a leading American realist painter who searched out rural and urban landscapes that somehow reflected the nature of the people he found, will amaze you with his realistic detail. The name Michael B. Karas and Lowcountry landscape blend as impressively in the telling as they do in the viewing. His work expresses his mastery of his portrayal of the landscape and of the mastery of his oil medium.
Angela Trotta Thomas, now living in Charleston, created the artful yet defining “Pullin’ Pots” for the cover of this extraordinary new book.
Artist Nancy Ricker Rhett, a native of Beaufort who has enormously impressive roots to the earliest days in Beaufort County and its surroundings, is an impressive contributor to this book. She paints in watercolor, and her Lowcountry settings are simply astounding. By the way, throughout the book, Rhett offers short bursts of not only her artwork, but completely delightful kind of ancillary information in a series of descriptive paragraphs, along with her totally mouth-watering recipes and her familiar paintings. And speaking of Rhett, we must mention William Rhett III, her son, who is an amazing colorist and shares talent and focus with his artist mother and father and in the operation of the almost iconic Rhett Gallery in Beaufort.
One of the wrap up pages in this astonishing book is a show-stopper, “Mrs. Rhett’s She-Crab Soup.” No book about Southern blue crab could possibly be complete without at least one good recipe for she-crab soup, and this is the quintessential Lowcountry dish. To the side of the recipe is the most incredible full-page photograph of that beautifully presented, mouth-watering culinary masterpiece.
The book finishes with a quote from Branning, in which she says, “It is impossible not to be grateful while eating she-crab soup.”
Artist, musician, teacher and writer Nancy K. Wellard focuses on portraying and promoting the cultural arts, first in Los Angeles and, for close to 30 years, in the Lowcountry. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And the good news continues!
For those of you who know the “Shrimp, Collards and Grits” book series of Pat Branning, there is excitement coming in February, with the first edition of a quarterly magazine, Shrimp, Collards and Grits Magazine. Patricia Branning is editor-in-chief, so, in a way, you kind of know the quality of the publication and a little bit of what to expect.
“Our quarterly magazine is really dedicated to being the voice of this great region of our Southland,” Branning said. “We will provide the finest medium in which to read about the culture of our extended communities.”
Branning added that she has been working on lining up contributors to the publication, all of whom will come with an amazing background and a serious interest in portraying the details of the richness of the South.
“We’ll be more engaged with the region’s arts, traditions, the land and the food and how understanding it all enriches one’s own life,” said Branning.
- Tom Poland: editor; author and former editor of S.C. Wildlife
- Anne Byrn: New York Times best-selling author
- Jonathan Haupt: former director of the USC Press, now executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort
- Cassandra King: Author and wife of the late Pat Conroy
- Ben Moise: S.C. game warden for nearly a quarter of century
- Mary Alice Monroe: New York Times best-selling author
- Nathalie Dupree: Queen of the Southern Kitchen
- Holly Herrick: Charleston cookbook author
- Photographers: Marge Agin, Adam Keuhl, Robert Clark, Peter Van Every
The magazine will be available in gift shops, hotels, and art galleries throughout the Lowcountry and by subscription.
To subscribe to this newest magazine: www.scglifestyle.com. There is a subscribe button in the top right corner.