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Southern Living: Talking with Matt Lee and Ted Lee

With their debut cookbook, The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook, South Carolina siblings Matt Lee and Ted Lee swept the 2007 cookbook award season, winning two James Beard Awards, including Cookbook of the Year, and two IACP awards. With The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern: Knockout Dishes with Down-Home Flavor, Matt and Ted continue celebrating Southern cuisine in a collection filled with easy, approachable dishes for home cooks. Matt and Ted are also the founders of The Lee Bros. Boiled Peanuts Catalogue, where Southern ex-pats can get their grits fix, and are contributing editors for Travel + Leisure and the wine columnists for Martha Stewart Living.

Full disclosure: I've been following Matt and Ted's byline for years and since their cookbook came out in 2006 I've been lucky to call them both great friends. We've cooked together and shared many meals together since then. I recently caught up with the guys, calling in from their Harlem office where they were gearing up for their book tour. Read on, or listen in to our podcast, as we talk about Southern food (naturally), quick pickles, how to win friends with a jar of sorghum molasses, entertaining tips (it helps to have live fire and/or a mystery guest), Lowcountry living, and what it means to cook "simple fresh Southern."

And check out Matt and Ted's recipe for Clams with Sweet Potato, Smoked Sausage, and Watercress.

--BTP


Amazon.com: First of all, what do you think is the biggest misconception about Southern food?

Matt Lee: Heavy, fried, overcooked, hostile to vegetables...

Ted Lee: Well, that's the first four! I think the fifth is that it's very difficult to make. In part because so many Southern meals are ones that sort of happen outdoors with a ton of people. People have come to think that every meal in the South is like a whole-hog barbecue--you dig the pit the day before, that sort of thing. Don't get us wrong--we love that. That is one of the great things about Southern food. What we wanted to focus on in the new book was kind of like the way we cook in the South from day to day. The way Matt and I cook in Charleston from day to day. We like to think it's a very vegetable-focused kind of cooking, wouldn't you say, Matt?

Matt Lee: Absolutely. The thing that people inherently know about the South and yet they seem to forget is that everything grows there. The climate is so favorable for growing vegetables, fruits, and things, so it's not a stretch to recognize that we do a lot of things with those fruits and vegetables and they become a part of our lives in a very meaningful way. Anyone who collects Southern cookbooks knows that and see that there are some great, classic dishes that involve vegetables. Everyday cooking in the South involves vegetables on a regular basis. The sexiness of our fried chicken and barbecue and long roasts get a lot of play but there are some exciting things going on in other parts of the grocery store, too.

Amazon.com: Can you break down the bullet-points for "simple fresh Southern." What does that mean to you and how do you want that translated to the home cook?

Ted Lee: I think the first word, "simple"--our notion of simplicity isn't bound by a five-ingredient book or recipes that are going to take less than 30 minutes. Those might be easy recipes but every recipe in the book was evaluated according to how easily it fit into the rhythms of the life of a busy person. So even though our whole roast chicken, which we cook in a skillet on a bed of vegetables, may take an hour it's very stress-free cooking time and at the end of it you have this amazing chicken and you have your side dish. That would be part of the whole notion of simplicity.

Matt Lee: And it takes place in a single skillet so there is a minimum of clean-up afterward. All those different factors of purchasing, cooking, and clean-up are very present in our minds at the time we were developing the recipes for our book.

Ted Lee: So the notion of simplicity is a very holistic notion of simplicity. And then secondly, "fresh." Fresh, in it's most literal sense--we don't use a whole lot of processed or canned ingredients or packaged goods. Fresh ingredients--we love them, we get a lot of them in Charleston, whether it's produce, shrimp, oysters, fish, that kind of thing--great pork, too. We also felt like fresh had a double-meaning in a sense, because in our last book we had some recipes in there that people did not recognize from the Southern canon. There was a lot of authentic recipes in there but some of them, like our butterbean pâté, for example, which was a simple spread--like a sandwich spread, or a dip made with butterbeans and mint.

Matt Lee: And parsley and lemon.

Ted Lee: And olive oil. That was sort of a riff on Southern ingredients that we love, sort of distillation of the Southern garden into a dip. In this book, with the fresh thing, we really wanted to focus on things like that, that may not be classics in the Southern canon, but are our riffing on getting excited about okra in a new way.

Matt Lee: And being inspired by the ingredients in the South. And to the point of the butterbean pâté, sort of the flavor of summer. We were channeling a lot of the different moments in a Southern calendar year that really inspire us. The fall for us is always oysters and oyster roasts. It's simple to do them and easy to cover but we thought we had neglected the wonderful soups you can make with oysters. So we developed this soup that's simple and emphasizes the fresher flavors. You put the oysters themselves in a bottom of a bowl raw, and then you laddle a hot soup over it that cooks it just enough. It's a cream-based soup and couldn't be simpler. We're going to reuse that word in this interview, aren't we? For us, a warm, comforting oyster soup channels the feeling of late October, early November in the South.

Ted Lee: As Matt said, what's original in that oyster soup seems to be the method of its preparation. The freshness and originality might express itself in a different way as a new use for a classic Southern ingredient. One example of that in our book is the buttermilk fresh cheese, which is sort of a ricotta-like cheese. We curdle milk with buttermilk and then strain it through a cloth. It just makes this really wonderful farmers' cheese that you can do a ton of things with. You can roll it up with country ham and blanched collards and make a sort of passed appetizer kind of thing. You can just put it on a plate with some crackers. You can dust it with all kinds of nuts--pistachios, pecans. And sometimes the freshness in the title also refers to our taking a classic Southern dish and then having fun with it. A classic example of that would be the mint julep panna cotta. A panna cotta is not exactly a Southern preparation. What's funny is that things in this day and age are so fluid that a panna cotta to us seems like the sort of gelatin salads, aspics, that sort of thing. It seems very Southern in texture certainly. We brought all the flavor and fun of a mint julep into a panna cotta and I think that's going to be one of the breakout desserts from the book.

Matt Lee: Ted, I think Giada pronounces it panna cotta.

Ted Lee: We're Southern, we say panna cotta.

Amazon.com: You touched upon your collection of Southern cookbooks. What are the steps in taking a dish from a dusty old community cookbook and making it a Lee Bros. dish?

Matt Lee: Thank you for asking. This is something we just take a lot of pleasure in and enjoy telling people about. Whether it's an old dusty Southern cookbook or a brand-new Italian cookbook, mining someone else's book for culinary ideas is something that's a ton of fun. We tell the story in the foreword to our book of one such example where we found a recipe for a casserole that was deviled eggs layered in a pan covered with a shrimp gravy, and there were bread crumbs and, like, three other elements, and once you baked all that you served it over crisp Chinese noodles out of a can--a product I don't think is even available. It was a classic, uber-rich, semi-homemade, post-war casserole thing that would probably be close to disgusting if you made it, but contained in that dish was this brilliant idea of combining shrimp and deviled egg. For us, being excited by that idea, after seeing through the fog of the other ingredients. We played around with a different variance of it--what could we do with it? Basically, a shrimp salad with chopped-up deviled eggs in there bound together with the mayonnaise. We went through all sorts of things but what we ended up with was basically a take on lobster roll sort of thing--with a lot of chunky shrimp, the good, sort of curry-spiced deviled egg flavor in there as well along with scallion, lemon zest, and a few other ingredients. It's a wonderful entree. In some situations we've served it like the main event or it can be a sandwich you pack when you go to the beach or to the park. Just not taking recipes so literally because a lot of the classic recipes are out of date in terms of the ingredients they use, sometimes they're imprecise. You've cooked a lot, Brad, from cookbooks to know that, especially some of the older cookbooks that were more conversational and anecdotal. But within those stories were a lot of great ideas and it's fun to read through and find them.

Amazon.com: Southern food is probably one of America's finest regional cuisines--I don't think you'll argue with that--

Ted Lee: No, we won't.

Amazon.com: But under that banner there are regions within regions within regions. Is the debate of who makes the best "blank" part of its charm or is it really the geography that's influencing all those different regions or the attitude of the people in those regions?

Ted Lee: I think it's a little bit of both. I think there are, as you travel from place to place in the South, very different ingredients and different preparations. That's part of the excitement of traveling around the South and I think people are sort of getting hip to the notion that the Southeast is like Italy in that respect. You can really spot ingredients, for example, like mayhaws, that grow all over south Georgia. And you'll see people selling mayhaw jelly--they're sort of the currant-like berry, they're the berries of a hawthorne bush--and then you'll go down to Jacksonville and you'll see no mayhaws but you'll see datil  peppers. These amazing peppers that came over with Majorcan settlers. So there still are those things that really define a place. And traveling through it you usually see it on the roadside and certainly on the menus of all kinds of different restaurants.

Matt Lee: And naturally people thrill to the competition, like, who makes the best biscuit? I think you find that everywhere, but it's just that in the South there are these amazing sub-regions so the competition can get that much more heated. And I think people in the South view food and cooking as sport in a way that it's not in other regions of the country.

Amazon.com: Do you each have a second-favorite American region for cuisine?

Matt Lee: Good question.

Ted Lee: I actually love the Midwest. I spent two years there in graduate school in Iowa City and I was sort of taken by how close to the land people live. I mean, farming is such a big thing there. People know a lot about it, they know a lot about how animals are raised--it seems to be a very ecologically conscious place. I just loved it. It's partly where I got turned on to pork so much.

Matt Lee: I think Texas, and especially the parts of Texas closest to Mexico that are culturally synonymous, practically, with Northern Mexico are endlessly fascinating. You could probably write three cookbooks or more just about different regions of Texas. I'm sorry to say I haven't traveled to much more than the big cities in the state of Texas, but I know it's such a huge place and just filled with amazing ingredients and these centuries-old traditions.

Ted Lee: But we're also big on Hawaii.Hawaii has its own food culture that seems completely unto itself. We especially love it because it seems to share a love of pork and...

Matt Lee: ...greens. And fish. I think we've written before that we consider it a Southern state. And the Elvis association doesn't hurt.

Amazon.com: You've definitely amped-up my would-be Southern-ness cooking through your books. I knew from grits and fried chicken and country ham but reading your first book, things like sorghum and scuppernong were new to me. What are some Southern ingredients you'd like to see more readily available across America or evangelized?

Matt Lee: Well, sorghum is certainly one of them. As much as we've written about it it still hasn't hit any sort of traction with chefs, partially because of the supply problem. There just aren't enough people making it and producing it. Its manufacture requires vast quantities of energy and patience. It's similar to maple syrup boiling, it takes a long time to boil down the juice to make a nice, delicious, complex syrup. But its time will come--I'm pretty confident. We keep "discovering" new, slightly esoteric Southern ingredients that we never encountered before. Ted was reading a manuscript for a book recently that was talking about certain classic dishes of the South and it mentioned several preparations made with rice flour. Of course, rice is something Southerners have loved for a long time. It was grown in the South, part of the tradition there. It's been slightly rediscovered in that, this particular variety of rice--Carolina Gold--has become a new hot thing. Kind of like stone-ground grits had its moment in a lot of restaurants around the country. Carolina Gold rice is another one of those great grains. But why not turn it into a flour and create puffy beignets out of it, interesting batters for your fried fish or fried chicken? There's a lot of potential.

Ted Lee: Quick breads, I'm thinking.

Matt Lee: Yeah. Pastry chefs could have a ton of fun with rice flour. I mean, they already do, but let's apply it to this particular variety of rice that's certifiably associated with the South.

Amazon.com: This summer the popularity of canning and preserving hit a fever pitch. You're both big advocates of pickling, especially quick pickles. Where does that love come from, and what are some tips to make those more than just a go-with and to finish that jar off?

Matt Lee: Especially in the Lowcountry there's been a tradition of great pickling. In our little mail-order catalogue that got us into this whole business we offered no fewer than two different ways to do green pickles--sliced and whole. There's pickled peaches--such a bounty of fruits and vegetables that at a certain point you have to do something to preserve them, or at least you did before refrigeration. Pickled figs, pickled peaches, pickled grapes, pickled onions, pickled Jerusalem artichokes. There's very little that hasn't been pickled in the South, including meats. Like pig's feet--and eggs. It's definitely a pickle-centric place. The tangy and tart element on the plate is a very important part of the proper Southern meal. The relishes, obviously. Onion, green tomato, Jerusalem artichoke are sort of the classic ones that are essential when you have salty meats like country hams around. And our grandmother did a lot of proper pickling for preserving's sake. The reality of life today is that we can do that on a very occasional basis but there's no reason why we can't quick pickle on a more regular basis. And by quick pickling, of course, we mean treating the vegetables as fresh food. Not ever really intending to keep them longer than a couple weeks. We douse them with a hot brine but we're not fastidious about sterilizing the jars and lids and things like that. And the payoff is that the flavors are fresher, the whole process is quicker, textures are a little more crunchy and vibrant. And there's an imperative to use them and enjoy them that there isn't when you fill a cardboard box with a case of Mason jars and walk it down the dusty stairs to the basement.

Ted Lee: There's this association with gift-giving, which is always fun. It's so much fun to give a gift of pickles. And when you do it on a regular basis, as you are when you're quick pickling, you just always roll with a jar of pickles to give to whoever you come into contact with. It's really fun. I did a double-batch of radish pickles, which we have in Simple Fresh Southern, and my wife E.V. was just eating them for lunch as almost a side dish. She had a little bowl of cottage cheese and she just took these radish and onion pickles straight out of the jar and just sort of plopped them on a plate right next to the bowl of cottage cheese and was just sort of alternating bites. I think pickles have sort of become a side dish for me. More than an accent, but really like their own thing. Like something you'd put on a plate along with a scoop of creamed corn.

Matt Lee: Well, it's basically a salad without the olive oil.

Ted Lee: Yeah.

Amazon.com: Throughout your travels, whether it's a home cook known for a certain dish or a restaurant, you're known for, what you call, talking your way into the kitchen. What are some tips on doing that?

Matt Lee: Carrying some sort of rare ingredient that chefs are fascinated by would be one way for sure. Pickled peaches are a great door-opener. A jar of sorghum molasses.

Ted Lee: I'm going to start carrying jars of mayhaw jelly. I think that's a real esoteric thing most people have never heard of.

Matt Lee: But I'm saying you've got to find the things they have heard of. You know, you need a wedge. Some rare salt. Even just a particularly fine sausage. Brad, you know, up there in the Pacific Northwest, you guys have all these amazing home-cured sausages--Mario Batali's dad makes them. You know, wherever you go as long as it's local, honest food people who care about flavor are going to be interested in it.

Amazon.com: With the first book, you went on an extensive, extended tour of America. What sort of reader feedback, about the book, or things you heard in general about Southern food surprised you the most?

Ted Lee: I think what was surprising was how many people we encountered outside the South had traveled to the South and really knew about it and loved it. I remember in Minneapolis, of all places, we had this huge crowd turn out at this bookstore in a suburb. It was crazy. Oh my gosh, how do you know about us? How did this come on your radar? I think more and more people are traveling to the South and getting excited about the foods of the South. We ended up going back to Minneapolis again later in the spring because we just had a following there. That was thrilling. To really realize that people were getting excited about Southern food even outside the South. Another thing that was awesome was we found, especially when we were doing cooking classes--one of the most fun things to do is roll into a town and do a three-and-half hour cooking class. It's just really fun to be able to spend that much time with people who maybe read your book or they heard about it and they're really engaging with you and your process. Usually we cook, like, six dishes in a three-hour class. To hear how they cook is partly why Simple Fresh Southern came about because a lot of people would say, I got your book for Christmas, so glad to meet you, I came to your class. And we'd say, what do you cook? And they'd say, I love the ambrosia, I love the butterbean pâté, and they'd go on. And we realized they were cooking all the dishes that take 15-20 minutes to make. So we were like, what about the gumbo? How about that amazing gumbo? That four-and-a-half hour Sunday gumbo? And they'd be, like, no, not so much. It was a reality check for us. There are some readers who really go to a book to have that cooking challenge, to tackle that four-and-a-half hour cooking project, but there are also people like us who just want to put a great Southern meal on the table on a weeknight. I think that's where the impetus for the second book came about. Wouldn't you agree, Matt?

Matt Lee: Absolutely. It's a great time to cook Southern now because so many of the ingredients are available at every grocery store in the nation. There really is no obstacle to doing it tonight. Us being food geeks we don't think twice about taking on a challenge on a Wednesday evening but most people, and us 99% of the time, just have to eat and eat well. Just have a little fun in the kitchen and then get on with life. It was a great and fun book to develop because it felt very natural. There wasn't any mountain we needed to climb. It was about doing what came easily to us and using the ingredients that were available.

Amazon.com: To that point, one of the things I loved about cooking my way through your two books is the sense of story and the narrative headnotes weaving in cultural and family history. That really helps a cookbook win me over. Is that your approach, in general, to share the origin story or history of a dish instead of just saying, here's a great dish for this occasion?

Matt Lee: Absolutely. For us, we feel like we need to justify why we included a recipe in the book. It always flummoxes me when you flip through a new cookbook and it's just a list of ingredients followed by a set of instructions followed by another list of ingredients. You have to justify why the banana pudding recipe was put in the cookbook. There's got to be something. For us, especially since there's two of us, there's always a little bit of a story behind how we did it and why we did it and the challenge for us, really, is trimming it down so we don't go on too long. We've taxed the patience of our editors on a few occasions by the three-page headnote to the half-a-page recipe. But we kept it in check this time around.

Ted Lee: I also feel like food is so much part of life in the Lowcountry. You can't really talk about food without talking about how it happens and with that comes a lot of stories. That's true of a lot of places in the South, and probably cross-country--it's not unique to the South. For us it's really important to bring in what is this dish about, how did we come to it, why are we excited about it, how does it integrate itself into our lives, what kind of occasion would we make it for? Especially in the new book, there are dishes like the garlic chile crabs that are a tribute to a restaurant in Charleston that made a similar dish and went out of business. It had been around forever but it went out of business, I feel like, before it really got to be known--this place, Freddie's Crab. It was just a great place and it's no longer there so you have this impulse to give a tribute and to develop a recipe that refers to that place and that time. Because it really was just a place and time when it existed and now we don't have it. But we do have this recipe! And we do have the story.

Amazon.com: Whether it's a sit-down dinner or a plates-on-the-lap affair, what are some entertaining tips for a Simple Fresh Southern dinner party?

Matt Lee: Drinks as a first impression. You can buy yourself time and make your guests happy instantly if you've got either a pitcher of a great beverage. It can be nonalcoholic, like our ginger lemonade, or it can be watermelon margaritas, but to have them all laid out and set the moment someone comes through the door you've instantly bought yourself an extra half-hour or 45 minutes if something else in your dinner is running late.

Ted Lee: A lot of the drinks in our book are things that can be used as a mixer and as a nonalcoholic beverage. Sort of serve double-duty, which is awesome. We also have a lot of great appetizers for crowds.We have smoked shrimp with three different dipping sauces. And that's similar to the drinks, something you can put down and have everyone sort of dig into it.

Matt Lee: Get a little messy.

Ted Lee: Get a little messy. Break the ice. And really have fun with it. And if you're the kind of cooks like we are you're always doing things at the last minute and that buys us a half-hour, 45 minutes to get the rest of the meal done.

Matt Lee: It's fun to have a wild element of some sort. When you go to a classic Southern party or even a newfangled Southern party there always seems to be an element, no matter how elegant it is, that's a little bit wild or loose. It might be an open flame. For example, a real candelabra on the front porch with open flames. It might be a mystery guest. It might be a punchbowl that seems to imply unsanitary conditions. There's got to be something that's a little daring. Something like challenging yourself to make the buttermilk fresh cheese while your guests are there--the science-fair quality of watch me while I cook.

Amazon.com: I've got to say, the mystery guest is something I haven't tried. I like that.

Matt Lee: You never tried the mystery guest? Our parents always had at Thanksgiving and at Christmas a mystery guest of some sort. Which is a tradition our mom's mom started. You know, shaking it up a bit. Because life is too short to play it safe.

Ted Lee: Some sort of appetizer that's elbows-deep. I mentioned the smoked shrimp but there's also those garlic-chile crabs.

Matt Lee: Oh, yeah.

Ted Lee: That's something you need a terrycloth towel. Get a stack of clean terrycloth towels, a huge platter of crabs, and just dig in. Something that you can't really be fussy and proper about. Something you have to love like that--to get elbows-deep in it. But other entertaining tips... You know, in this book so many of the recipes are meant to be served family-style. That's one thing about our lives that's changed in the past couple of years. Since the first book has been published we both got married, we have bigger families, we tend to cook for a lot of people when we get together. Family-style service is so much fun--just bringing big platters of food to the table and having everyone pick from them. The chaos of it is so fun. It's a Southern way to be, really.

Amazon.com: You guys split your time between Charleston and New York, I was curious what you thought about the current, or maybe it's over by now, fried chicken frenzy that's sweeping the city.

Matt Lee: Oh, yeah, that's about 20 days old now.

Ted Lee: We love it. We love it. It's so funny because people are like, that's no news, we've always known there was great fried chicken in New York. The more there are people doing great fried chicken in New York the more exciting it is. Whether it's a trend of the last month or it's always been here, it is a fact that more and more restaurants here are doing really good fried chicken.

Matt Lee: And really good Southern food in general.

Ted Lee: Yeah, that is true, too. We like to contextualize it by saying wait, the fried chicken thing is only part of it. How about the number of restaurants here in New York that have country ham on the menu--and really good ones! They know their sources, they're getting the best ham, they're getting the best grits, they're getting Carolina Gold rice. And these aren't necessarily super high-end or culty restaurants. I know a restaurant out in Bed-Sty, Peaches, that's on nobody's must-eat radar. It's a neighborhood restaurant that serves great Southern food and they happen to serve Carolina Gold rice. That's a cool development and that's only within the last five years. If you told me ten years ago that there was going to be a restaurant in Bed-Sty serving Carolina Gold rice I would've said you're crazy.

Matt Lee: It may be similar to that moment, not a fad moment, but rather a transition from being an esoteric vernacular to being more a part of the palette, the painter's palette, of an aspirational chef in New York, or anywhere in the world nowadays. Like that moment in the early '80s when people began to realize that Italian food in the U.S. wasn't just red sauce and garlic bread. That moment when chef's like Mario Batali and some of his predecessors began to lobby for real extra-virgin olive oil. When the only thing in the grocery store was the can of generic olive oil and then it was like, woo!, the ingredients of Italy were made available to us. The nuances of the different regionalities within Italy became apparent. It was an exciting time and then suddenly these ingredients are part of the restaurant world and part of chefs' creative palettes.

Ted Lee: Brad, that was interesting, I heard your podcast with David Chang and Peter Meehan, and it was awesome to hear them talking about how excited they were by Southern ingredients like grits and country ham. We think that's so cool.

Amazon.com: I love his approach to imagining what if a Korean grew up in Charleston and what if someone from the South grew up in Korea.

Ted Lee: Exactly! Because it's not so far-fetched. A place like Charleston is such a melting pot and it always has been. The story of Charleston is a melting pot. It's not far-fetched to imagine a Korean person growing up in Charleston and coming into contact with country ham and having fun with it. I loved that David Chang embraced the word fusion--it's hard to avoid it.

Amazon.com: I was going to ask you, wrapping up, in terms of dining trends you're seeing either in the South or in New York that you like and anything you're seeing out there where you've said, OK, that's the last food truck I want to see, or something like that.

Ted Lee: We don't do a ton of dining out just because so much of our working lives are based on home cooking. Matt, what would you say?

Matt Lee: Well, one thing that I don't like, if I could start with something negative, is taking pictures of your food while you're at the table. That to me seems so pointelss and self-referential. No one wants to see that lame, flash photograph of your dog's dinner.

Ted Lee: But that's not a trend that comes out of the kitchen.

Matt Lee: I know, I know, I know.

Ted Lee: Your nitpicking, really. I think, in the South certainly, it seems to be more and more about sourcing great ingredients and really delving deeper--into older cookbooks, older recipes. We're seeing a lot of people, like Sean Brock in Charleston, is really getting obsessed with, like, pre-Civil War recipes and pre-Civil War grains and that sort of thing. And heritage variety of pigs. None of that is new but I think it's getting more and more serious at every level. Whether you're talking about a fine-dining place like McCrady's or whether you're talking about a casual place like The Glass Onion out on Savannah Highway, which is sort of this new diner in Charleston. It's not so new--it's about a year old. But it's three young chefs--food people--who got together and they're doing local sourcing and they're Twittering their daily specials--which I love. I mean, even if I don't happen to be in Charleston I love knowing that they're serving veal on grits and that sort of thing.

Matt Lee: One development that I love is the options for dining in Charleston are getting more diverse, in a sense that it's not all fine-dining anymore. There was a long period where there was really nothing between a roadside fish shack and a white tablecloth ten-course dinner. There wasn't anything in the $10 - $15 pricepoint in Charleston. And then you began to see a few more places come along and Hominy Grill made its reputation in that category of casual food, but excellent food, at an affordable price. We're seeing a lot more casual options in that regard. It's just another way to do food. Sunday night dinners. A self-service cafeteria revival might be another.

Ted Lee: We're getting decent pizza in Charleston nowadays as maybe a part of a little trendlet. And we're also getting great taco trucks in North Charleston. The thing we haven't seen yet is the Vietnamese sandwich thing. That has completely not hit Charleston. And we can't wait until it does!

Matt Lee: Eagerly anticipating! Because of the pickle, the slaw, the sour element.

Amazon.com: Maybe you need to introduce a country ham Vietnamese sandwich.

Matt Lee: Yeah.

Ted Lee: Exactly.

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Mmmm....sweet potato pie! I looooove it to death, I swear. Its so delicious!

Mayhaw jelly is the best! I heat it until it's a liquid again and then brush the tops of my fruitcakes with it. Of course it's great on biscuits and anything else. Mayhaws are a pain in the patootie to gather out of swampy areas, but make great jelly.

M.W.

Taking note of your astounding post, I realize it is of the different skills and real options.Trust I will certainly get which I aspire from your ideas.Have a good one!

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