[Photo: Squire Fox / Clarkson Potter]
Brothers Matt and Ted Lee are longtime documentarians of Southern foodways who are highlighting their Lowcountry roots in their new book, The Lee Bros. Charleston Kitchen. Eater National talked with the pair extensively about everything from the iconic book Charleston Receipts to what's happening in the Holy City at this moment.
Ted Lee, on the scene in Charleston right now:
"I think what's exciting about Charleston now for both visitors and locals is that there are places metabolizing the old ways into contemporary ways. You have a place like Husk that's really trying to process what were the ingredients in the 18th and 19th centuries, and how can we make them interesting today? How can we have them inform a fine dining setting? And then you have really casual places that are just doing great simple, fresh, Southern-style food, like the Glass Onion or the Hominy Grill, that are creative but not fine dining."
Matt Lee, on mixing new with the old in the book:
"So many books that have come out of Charleston have looked lovingly at one period and have tended to ignore recent history, and so we wanted to embrace it all. ...we were able to create what we think is probably the most complete Charleston food book bibliography ever assembled, which is in the back of the book."Ted Lee, on Charleston's most consistent cuisine:
"I would say the oyster roast, because that truly embraces even the Native American period in Charleston's history. Any newcomer landing on the non-stop from LaGuardia, land at an oyster roast and suddenly you're connected to that thread. It's about seafood, the shellfish and also the poultry. People ask us, bet y'all get crazy on the bacon, right? And it's like well, it's not really a pork or beef town."
Read the rest of the fantastic interview over here.