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Old 12-19-2014, 03:22 PM
 
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I am from the Upstate of South Carolina but I have spent a fair amount of time in the SC Lowcountry (for the purpose of this thread I am including the Pee Dee area of South Carolina in the Lowcountry) in places like Sumter, the Santee Cooper Lakes and Charleston.

I have been watching the reality show "A Chefs Life" on PBS that is set in Kinston NC and I was curious how Eastern NC is similar to South Carolina's Lowcountry and how its different.

From the show "A Chefs Life" I can see the area around Kinston is on the flat coastal plain but I can't tell if its swampy around there. One of the similarities between the two areas I would assume is the importance of bbq in the local food culture(Can't beat the off the beaten path bbq joints of the Carolina's!) but I have no idea if the styles of bbq in both areas are similar.

So what's similar / different between the two areas?
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by senecaman View Post
So what's similar / different between the two areas?
I am not deeply familiar with the SC Low-Country, but it seems to have some unique foods like she-crab soup that we do not see in NC. In addition, rice grows around Charleston, and we don't see native rice dishes in NC. You may see more okra used in SC dishes. We also have okra in NC but usually it is batter-fried.

OTOH, Okracoke and the Outer banks have some unique boiled fish and potato dishes. Boiled peanuts may be unique to North Carolina, but I'm not sure.

FWIW, we do have swampy areas in NC which are used for fishing and duck hunting. I don't think anyone has succeeded in growing rice in NC. Africans were imported to grow rice in SC. They have left an imprint on the cuisine of Low-Country, especially with the use of rice, okra and spices.

Last edited by goldenage1; 12-19-2014 at 08:14 PM..
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Old 12-19-2014, 07:19 PM
 
Location: The Emerald City
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In SC, barbecue often has mustard based sauce, except when you get close to the NC line. I lived outside Charleston for the better part of 2 decades and could not make myself eat mustard cue. I would just eat at Stameys when I came to visit the folks.

Eastern and Western NC barbecue is different, with eastern using pepper vinegar and in tthe west some tomato in the pepper vinegar.
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Old 12-19-2014, 08:56 PM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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Goldenage, we got plenty of okra. I grew up on the stuff and Mama grew it in the garden some years. My daddy liked it boiled but the snottiness just squicked me out. I'm all about some stewed okra and tomatoes, though — the acid in the tomatoes cuts the sliminess. I like fried okra, too. Recently I learned to roast it with just a little olive oil and salt — yum.

BTW, NC currently does and historically did grow some rice, but nowhere near as much as SC. Rice was still a very important staple in the NC diet, though, as it wasn't hard to get from SC if there wasn't any locally grown. My daddy's family from SE NC all loved rice. Anson Mills' website says they currently have organic rice fields in NC, too.

Boiled peanuts are just Southern.

The SC BBQ and NC BBQs are very different. There have been whole books written about it! NC has two distinct styles, Eastern and Western, western being based in Lexington NC, not the mountains. Eastern is vinegar based and whole hog, traditionally cooked over wood. None of that mustardy South Carolina stuff. Western NC BBQ is pork shoulder and has a bit of tomato in the sauce (though nothing like Memphis or Kansas City). NC-ers take BBQ very, very seriously. http://www.bbqfestivalontheneuse.com

Senecaman, Kinston might be a little bit like Sumter, but smaller, definitely NOT like Charleston. As far as I know it's not as swampy in Kinston as some other places in eastern NC, but could be some swamps around there. It's on the Neuse River. Mostly flat and sandy like most of eastern NC and SC. It's a town on the way to the beach, but not at the beach, and aside from the Chef and the Farmer is really not such an interesting place. It's very much down home, small town NC and I think in that way quite similar to a lot of small town South Carolina.

One thing that I believe is different is, if I recall correctly, I don't believe there's much Spanish moss up around Kinston. There's a fair amount down in SE NC where my people come from, but I don't think it grows too much farther north.

Oh, and I almost forgot, Kinston is home to a quite good brewery — Mother Earth Brewing. So they do have at least two interesting things going on, Mother Earth and The Chef and the Farmer. That's pretty good for a town of just over 20,000. Maybe I should amend my not interesting statement.

Last edited by poppydog; 12-19-2014 at 09:18 PM..
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Old 12-20-2014, 05:33 AM
 
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Rice was grown in the lower Cape Fear Valley until the end of slavery. This was brutal and dangerous work, with hot weather, snakes, and insects. With the end of slavery, rice production stopped here.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:23 AM
 
Location: Sneads Ferry, NC
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Originally Posted by sundaze View Post
Rice was grown in the lower Cape Fear Valley until the end of slavery. This was brutal and dangerous work, with hot weather, snakes, and insects. With the end of slavery, rice production stopped here.
OK- I looked up Orton Plantation, and a hedge-fund billionaire is attempting to restore the rice-fields at Orton as the looked in the past. The aerial views show what look like paddies and canals. Here's the articles: ORTON PLANTATION: Restoration work at Orton Plantation reaches two milestones | Local/State | NewsObserver.com

Regarding okra, I meant that you don't often see it served on restaurant menus. Most people think it is just yucky. However, we grow small amounts of it. Like the roasting recipe, you can fry it in very little oil until it blackens. Then it is crunchy and sweet.
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Old 12-20-2014, 06:24 PM
 
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I was looking at the land just outside of Kinston on Google Maps. Very pretty country.It's a little different looking than the SC Lowcountry .It looks to me like around Kinston the forest is more hardwood trees and less pines.
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Old 12-31-2014, 09:11 AM
 
Location: Chapelboro
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I disagree on the okra. I see it on restaurant menus plenty. Maybe we go to different restaurants.
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Old 01-03-2015, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
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BBQ in NC is way better IMHO and seafood better or more of a staple in SC. Charleston is one of the premier places for food/ dining in the South, I can't think of anyplace in E Carolina that can touch it.

Yes I've lived in both regions.
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Old Today, 04:39 PM
 
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Default Cultural Similarities Between Eastern NC/SC

Just as a quick reply to this thread, I am a native of North Carolina (Asheboro), but I have traveled many of its coastal backroads. Technically, the low country starts in southeast North Carolina (Wilmington) and goes into Florida (Jacksonville). The basic definition is that this is where the Gullah Geechee Corridor exists. Similarly, the live oak reaches its massive size starting around the Cape Fear region, although I have documented pretty impressive live oaks up and down the North Carolina coast. On Colington Island on the Outer Banks, there are impressive live oaks covered in Spanish moss. In regards to Spanish moss, the northern range is somewhere around Virginia Beach, Virginia (Seashore State Park). I think there has been documentation of it growing around the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, and one news story out of Richmond found it growing rather sparsely on Virginia's Eastern Shore. In North Carolina it is found along the Route 17 corridor on either side. I've found it growing on Knotts Island, around the swamps of Hertford, and Merchant Mill Pond, which is considerably inland. Furthermore, Merchant Mill Pond is the northern extent of the North American Alligator, which I have seen on plenty of canoe trips. Finally, rice cultivation was practiced up and down the Cape Fear. Orton Plantation was known as King Orton, mainly for the high quality of its rice. Interestingly, the Collins Family of Somerset Plantation near Creswell, North Carolina (the northeast section of the state) practiced rice cultivation at one point. In the aggregate these add to the argument that starting around Pender County North Carolina (maybe somewhat north of there, say New Bern) the state begins to resemble the Low Country of South Carolina. As I like to say, North Carolina is the Deep South of the Upper South, and the Upper South of the Deep South. It very much is a transition state in many ways from a "general" to a more "deep" southern. (Sorry I don't have hyperlinks in my post. I haven't figured out how to do that, but if anyone sees this post and would like references, please feel free to contact me.)
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