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Things to do in Charleston – The Tall Ships Are Here !!

Thu, May 18 2017

What a beautiful weekend we have for tall ships! Charleston is the official port of the Tall Ships Challenge this year and more than a dozen ships from around the world are in port this weekend. Today at 1 PM the tall ships will parade in Charleston Harbor, and their will be boardings and sailing excursions for the public all weekend. Live music, great food and a Pirate Camp with 35 pirates round out the event! The event will be held at Waterfront Park in North Charleston. For tickets and information go to http://www.TallShipsCharleston.com/

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers walking and driving tours of historic Charleston SC and surrounding areas. For further information go to www.walledcitytours.com
Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers themed tours od Historic Charleston including the Old Walled City Tour, the Home and Garden Tour, the Slavery and Freedom Tour, and the Charleston Ghost Walk. Go to www.walledcitytours.come to learn more! l

Learn Why I Never Joined The Hibernian Society — Happy St Patrick’s Day!!!!!

This being the season for the “Wearing of the Green” I thought I might take this time to wish my readers a Happy St Patrick’s Day and relate to you the story behind why I didn’t join the Hibernian Society.

 

Hibernian Society Hall ,1840
Of course, the Irish are famous for blarney, so, in the spirit of the occasion of the Holy Saint, don’t think I might not be taking just a wee bit of artistic license as I weave this tale of Irish revelry.1801. You see, my father, Bernard Ray, was quite the man about town and belonged to numerous clubs and societies, prominent among them the Hibernian Society, an Irish Fellowship Society founded here in 1801. As a young man with rising prospects in the Real estate Industry, he strongly suggested that I join the Irish Brotherhood since it would be good for business.

And so I went with Dad to my first meeting, where the gathered company was excited to be served Eddie Lockwood’s famous spaghetti. Now I knew this recipe, it was my mother’s, the very one she learned in Home Ec class at Memminger: a few bits of tomato perched atop a bed of spaghetti noodles, a thin watery sauce pooled around the bottom of the plate. Manna from Heaven as a child, my brother’s girlfriend, an Italian girl by the name of Angela Bambino, had introduced me to her Italian family’s rich and fragrant “Sunday Sauce”.

I was unimpressed.

After dinner, the festivities began, which consisted of shots! More shots! The brown liquor was flowing!!! The goal: throw down til you fall down! I remember few names from the many introductions made that night but I distinctly remember the huge hangover the next morning!

My dear father was disappointed that I was so unimpressed. I never have had much of a taste for liquor. But, at his insistence, I gave it another try.

At the second meeting, I arrived with an open mind and enjoyed the fellowship. I found myself getting into the “spirit” of the event, but as I was making my way to the bar on my hands and knees, someone stepped on my fingers. That just struck me the wrong way.

 

And that’s why I never joined the Hibernian Society of Charleston…

 

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers public and private walking and driving tours of historic Charleston and surrounding areas. For information got to www.walledcitytours.com

 

 

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers themed tours od Historic Charleston including the Old Walled City Tour, the Home and Garden Tour, the Slavery and Freedom Tour, and the Charleston Ghost Walk. Go to www.walledcitytours.come to learn more! l
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Celebrate Charleston Food and Wine – enjoy Mock Turtle Soup!

“HOW MUCH AM I OFFERED FOR THIS GOOD COOK? SHE IS AN EXCELLENT COOK:CAN MAKE THREE KINDS OF MOCK TURTLE SOUP FROM BEEF, FOWLS OR FISH”
The above is an excerpt from the Charleston Courier on March 22, 1865 recounting the Freedmen’s Jubilee Parade, which featured a black man on a float with a woman and two children whom he was pretending to auction off “for good Confederate money”. He played his part with vigor and conviction, causing much mirth and merriment in the crowd of black faces.
The Charleston Food and Wine Festival is in full swing this weekend and I noticed that the Grand Opening Event featured a theme of recipes from Charleston Receipts, the first Junior League cookbook. In print since 1952,it is the Bible of Charleston cookery. The Post and Courier writer notes in Wednesday’s Food Section that the Grand Opening menu wasn’t announced. She then proceeds to speculate on the soup choice. Deeming She Crab Soup to mundane, she speculates on a number of choices including a fish stew, an okra gumbo, or–mock turtle soup.
I have always been a fan of turtle soup. My parents would often visit the Doc and Nananne in New Orleans (my great Aunt and Uncle) and they would return with tales of delicious turtle soup. They brought back two cans of turtle soup for me to try. The rich, dark stew with a splash of dry sherry was absolute heaven to my 8 year old palate I have never forgotten it. And so, since I could not attend the Grand Opening, I decided to celebrate Food and Wine by recreating that taste of my childhood.

Mock Turtle Soup
But first, a little history of turtle soup. For many years turtle soup was considered the finest of fine dining. In the early 20th century, the Villa Marguerita , Charleston’s finest hotel of the time, had a $20 bowl of turtle soup on the menu. Turtle meat was considered a delicacy, exotic because the meat comes from 5 different places on the turtle, all with different tastes. A large snapping turtle is said to contain seven distinct types of meat, each reminiscent of pork, chicken, beef, shrimp, veal, fish or goat. Locally, this dish of English extraction did not survive in Charleston households into the twentieth century. Although Charlestonians continued to hire black cooks, few were trained in making Eurocentric foods, and so the food ways that have survived and that we consider Lowcountry style generally have their roots in Africa, but not turtle soup..
For many years sea turtles were the meat of choice, so the real thing was out of the question. Where to find turtle meat today? Of course, cooters are ubiquitous, but I live in an apartment, and dressing them would be an issue. I’m not sure that I am prepared to grab the head , chop it off and hang it upside down to drain. The high cost of sea turtle meat led to the creation of Mock Turtle Soup. Using the same rich broth and a variety of meats in the broth, Mock Turtle Soup imitates not just the flavor but the texture and look of the real thing. As an aside, I used chicken livers snipped into small pieces, and that dark flavor is absolutely correct,but you might choose to use dark chicken meat, even surimi (artificial crab) or mild fish filets for this.
Next, I had to find the recipe, so first I went to Charleston Receipts. Mrs. Alston’s version found there bears little resemblance to the soup of my childhood. Next I searched the internet and pulled out of different recipes the ingredients that I remember as crucial to the thick, brown heady broth of distant memory. My creation is exactly as I remember it, and for that reason I share it with you. Doubtless, turtle soup fans will enjoy this tasty recreation! Bon Appetit!
Mock Turtle Soup My Recipe Alfred Ray
1. To one and one half quarts of water add one pound raw lean ground beef and one half pound raw chicken livers sliced small, three bay leaves, 1 teaspoon salt.
Set to boil.
2. Take one half stick of butter heated with flour, brown to make a rue for thickening. Set aside.
3. Dice both fine and medium:
One yellow onion
One red bell pepper
Two stalks of celery.
Put these in two tablespoons butter on medium high for five minutes, and then high until vegetables are cooked with a char. Add this to the broth. Deglaze the pan with dry sherry, scrape bits and throw all into the pot along with
One can beef bouillon
one cup tomato ketchup
One large can crushed tomatoes
Stir this all together and bring to a boil. Add to this
1 teaspoon each of allspice and thyme,3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
Juice of ½ lemon.
4 eggs in shell
Simmer all together for at least 45 minutes, 1 1/2 hours is better. Remove hard boiled eggs and macerate . Add back to thicken the soup. Add rue (step 2) to thicken to stew consistency.
To serve, plate soup piping hot and garnish with parsley and dry sherry.

Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers public and private walking tours and driving tours of historic Charleston SC and the surrounding countryside. For information go to www.walledcitytours.com
Charleston Old Walled City Tours offers themed tours od Historic Charleston including the Old Walled City Tour, the Home and Garden Tour, the Slavery and Freedom Tour, and the Charleston Ghost Walk. Go to www.walledcitytours.come to learn more! l