First published in 1930 as 200 Years of Charleston Cooking, this collection of more than three hundred recipes was gathered by Blanche S. Rhett from housewives and their African American cooks in Charleston, South Carolina. From enduring favorites like she-crab soup and Hopping John to forgotten delicacies like cooter (turtle) stew, the recipes Rhett collected were full of family secrets but often lacked precise measurements. With an eye to precision that characterized home economics in the 1930s, Rhett engaged Lettie Gay, director of the Home Institute at the New York Herald Tribune, to interpret, test, and organize the recipes in this book.
Two Hundred Years of Charleston Cooking is replete with southern charm and detailed instructions on preparing the likes of shrimp with hominy, cheese straws, and sweet potato pie not to mention more than one hundred pages of delightful cakes and candies.
In a new foreword, Rebecca Sharpless, professor of history and author of Cooking in Other Women's Kitchens: Domestic Workers in the South, 1865-1960, provides historical and social context for understanding this groundbreaking book in the 21st century.