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Food History & Family Travel: Rice Culture & Black Heritage in Berkeley County, SC

Food History & Family Travel: Rice Culture & Black Heritage in Berkeley County, SC

Looking for a unique way to experience the Lowcountry with your family while learning about history and African American heritage? Then a food experience focused on rice culture is exactly what you need.

One of the perfect places to experience rice culture and history is Berkeley County, SC. From the great outdoors to the scenic waterfront experiences, there is plenty of Black culture and rice heritage to explore and Black chefs to help you get a history lesson and a great dining experience no matter where you decide to spend they day. 

Rice History Berkeley County 

Rice is a staple food in the South. This edible starchy grain is a great side dish that pairs well with many of our favorites; beans, cabbage, tomatoes, and gravy. Rice, which is oftentimes considered a  necessary food item, was made into a fulfilling dish by enslaved African Americans. 

In past Lowcountry history,  rice was served with meats and shellfish and used to make breads,   biscuits, flour, puddings and cakes. In addition, many Lowcountry African Americans grew up eating rice more than once a day. Sometimes for breakfast or lunch, and dinner “Carolina Gold” rice was served. These traditions of rice still continue and have become more popular in a dish called red rice.

What is Red Rice?

The use of rice tradition is so popular  that it has created a signature dish to the Lowcountry community.  Red rice is a rice dish commonly made by individuals who live along the Southern Coastal region. The main component of this rice dish consists of the cooking of white rice with crushed tomatoes as a substitute for water. Oftentimes this dish is filled with traditional fresh veggies like celery, bell peppers, and onions; which are used for seasoning.

Even though red rice is made very similar across the Lowcountry, Marcus Middleton, one of many personal chefs in the Lowcountry area, provided us with the way in which he makes his rice for special occasions or travelers to the Southern part of the coast.  

Marcus Middleton; Private Chef at Middleton Made Cuisine, Red Rice Recipe 

2 cups rice (Carolina Gold)

2 cups Crushed Tomatoes 

2 1/2 cups chicken Stock or Water 

3 cups Sausage (cooked)

1 medium onion 

2 Celery stalks

4 garlic 

4 Sweet Peppers 

3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste

Red rice and the rice tradition is the way in which African Americans have been raised. Therefore,  if you are ever traveling to this area and interested in tasting Gullah Geechee cuisine, then the personal chef experience may spark interest. If you are traveling to the Berkeley County area and prefer to have someone prepare native dishes for you then here are a few tips for you to enjoy all the cuisine from this coastal area.

 

Tips for Using a Chef When Traveling With Your Family to a Rural Area

1) Local Cuisine

Find a dish that is local to the area and go for it. When traveling to the parts of Lowcountry that are remote, red rice is the dish to request by your African-American personal chef. 

2) Make a List and Check it Twice 

Research personal chefs around the area and book ahead of time. See their most popular meals and book their fan favorite to enjoy locals favorite Lowcountry meals. 

Here are a few chefs near the Berkeley County area that you should look into if you are ever nearby. 

BJ Dennis

Sameka Jenkins

Frisco Thumbtzen

Marcus Middleton

Emma M. Cromedy

3) I am Allergic to…

If you or any of your family members are allergic to any food items it is best to let your chef know in advance.  Send over a list and communicate possible substitutions ahead of time to make the chef aware of possible changes. 

4) Places to explore

What better way to experience your food than with a picnic outdoors. From the Cypress Gardens to Lake Moultrie , Berkeley County has plenty of affordable and family-friendly outdoor sites for you to enjoy your chef-prepared meals with a picnic. 

 

Black Southern Belle hopes that the history of red rice in Berkeley County increases your awareness of the tradition of rice in the South and  these tips provide you with ways to enjoy your secluded trip with family or close friends. 



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