New Food Attitude at Southeastern Wildlife Expo
One of the things we often talk about at edible Upcountry is preservation. Heirloom seeds, artisan practices, heritage breeds: all of these things are in danger of going away if we don’t treat them wisely. There are all kinds of forms that wisdom can take - from growing your own vegetables to asking your grandmother about the vegetables she grew up with. But eventually, it comes down to what’s on your plate. Use it or lose it. Eat it to keep it around.
For 36 years, the folks behind Charleston’s Southeastern Wildlife Expo have made it their mission to gather everything that celebrates wildlife and nature into one weekend with an focus on conservation through appreciation. Venues across downtown showcase artists and artisans, hunting dogs and outfitters, turning the city into a veritable wonderland for every stripe of sportsman you can imagine. This year, they’ve also invited Southern food heroes Matt and Ted Lee, Charleston natives and authors of the Lee Bros cookbooks, to coordinate the talent in the kitchen tent, emphasizing wild game and heritage foods from across the state.
“We’ve noticed over the years that SEWE-goers tend to be people who don’t just groove on the aesthetics of ducks and dogs,” says Ted Lee. “They understand how critical the preservation and conservation of natural habitats are to the future of hunting, fishing, bird-watching and wildlife appreciation. Similarly, preserving fields and farmland and promoting farming speaks to the very heart of anyone who loves to cook.”
The kitchen tent is sponsored by the South Carolina Department of Agriculture, and Commissioner Hugh Weathers will be showing off his kitchen skills with first lady of USC, Patricia Moore-Pastides. Patricia is the author of two cookbooks, Greek Revival and Greek Revival from the Garden, both of which bring a Mediterranean approach to traditional Southern foods. Owner of specialty food company Food For The Southern Soul Jimmy Hagood is also a farmer and home cook from a long line of home cooks. (His family’s recipes are all over the historic Charleston Receipts.) For the Expo, he’ll be bringing his son Andrew on stage to help make the "Jimmy Red” corn they grew this year into masa, the foundation of authentic tortillas. Prepared along with some wild ducks they harvested on their property, they’ll be making Wild Duck Red Corn Tacos.
“This year, we’re focusing on storytelling and families,” Ted says. “Every chef is bringing someone to share the stage.” Husband and wife team Corrie and Shuai Wang of the super-hot (and Bon Appetit-praised) Short Grain Food Truck will be making a traditional Chinese congee with Carolina Gold rice. Landrum’s Sarah McClure will join her dad Robbie in making Southside Smokehouse and Grille’s Newberry Hash. The Lee Bros had to talk her into demonstrating the recipe as she didn’t want to reveal her family secrets. Ted says, “We know from 20 years of writing about food that connecting with people's memories of food and family helps make recipes, dishes and food ideas indelible.”
Case in point: one of the presenters the Lees are most excited about is Mrs. Sassard’s Handmade, a 100-year-old pickling business in Mount Pleasant founded by Allen Sassard’s late grandmother. They’re famous for their jerusalem artichoke relish, their whole fig preserves, and their pickled peaches, which the Lee Bros convinced Allen to bring back into production. Why? Because they taste good.
Preservation, at its finest.
Southeastern Wildlife Exposition