A history of eating well
Southern food, perhaps more than any other regional cuisine in America, has long been recognized for its diversity and history and for the stew pot of cultural influences which that history has brought to it. Its primary influence has undoubtedly been African. From the early Colonial period, beginning with the rum and sugarcane plantations of the West Indies and the Creole French and Spanish inhabitants of the Deep South, food was interpreted through African hands.
They harvested the fields, cleaned the game, ground the spices, and cooked the meals. They brought with them staples such as peanuts and okra and immediately adapted to the Native American’s predilection to corn.
Thus, a tradition of food selection and preparation evolved that has withstood 400 years of cultural assault. Moreover, though it has clung tenaciously to the underpinnings of its heritage, Southern food has adapted gracefully to new and creative interpretations of its time-tested methods and ingredients.
A quick review of the history of Palmetto Bluff shows that people have eaten well here for a very long time. The earliest Native Americans, the Altamaha and Yemassee, found sustenance in the remarkable bounty of fish and game. Their shell middens on the high bluffs are a testament to the first oyster roasts—a social and culinary tradition still carried on with great relish here today.