Friday, November 15, 2013

Culinary History of the Grand Strand: Book Review of Local Author


When you think of Myrtle Beach, what do you think of first?  Sun, Surf, and good times, right? There is more behind the scenes of Myrtle Beach.  There is a rich history, actually Culinary history that most of us are not aware of.

With all the restuarants on the Grand Strand over 1000. That is at least is what is stated, in the Culianary History of Myrtle Beach, and the Grand Strand. It is written by a local author, Becky Billingsley.

 Becky, Billingsley has lived in this area for over 15 years. She is a food critic, and also manages a website called mytlebeachrestaurants.com.  This is where I knew of Becky through the website.  When I learned she just wrote a book. I had to ask if she would allow me to review her book.  I don't usually review books that are non-fiction about food. But, because she is a local author I wanted to help spread the word about her terrific book.  It is full of old time remedies, recipes, and stories about growing up in the south, particularly the Grand Strand area.

Most of are not originally from here. We are transplants from up north, what we are customarily called a "yankee". The people that live here all year round are not aware of the culinary history of the Grand Strand.  It started with the uniqueness of the people living here 300 years ago. It was at first the native Wacammaw Indians.  Then came the Europens. They were looking for religious freedom. Then came the African slaves.  It is the mix of all these cultures that blended together to make the Grand Strand, what it is today.  There is such a uniqueness, and food that makes this part of the country so different than any other.

Those of us, that are called Yankees never heard of these foods that make Myrtle Beach, and the rest what is called the Grand Strand.   Or heard of these foods but did not realize they originated here.  For you that don't understand the difference of Myrtle Beach, and Grand Strand. I am going to give you a geography lesson.  The Grand Strand is composed of the coastal towns starting at N. Carolina called, Calabash all the way down the strip to Georgetown.

Here is my book review of Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand. I enjoyed reading about the culinary history and the foods available in this area from the time of slavery till now.  It was interesting to learn why they ate, what they ate. Some people were limited because of money. Others because of the location. How they adapted the food. The slave owners ate what the slaves made in their plantation. I found it interesting foods also were prepared by what was available to them at certain time of the season. I never thought about this.

My eating habits were not dictated by this. I am from up north and we had a abundant of food. It did not depend on seasons, and what was available.   I recommend you buy the book if you are interested about the culinary history of Myrtle Beach.

 I enjoyed reading about the development of the Grand Strand area. How the restaurants came about, some stayed, some left, etc.

My only gripe was that the author seemed to want to speed it up too fast. One minute she is talking about 19th Century, then fast forward to early 20th century, and the hotel restaurant boom. What happened!!! How did we get there so fast.  Anyway, I still liked traveling and learning about the culinary history of our area. Thank you Becky, for the book.

You will also find some recipes that may not be possible to make. Since these are old recipes.






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