Food Historian Michael Twitty Discusses Origins of Lowcountry Cuisine

By B. Newman

Culinary adaptations transformed traditional African dishes into a unique, new creolized cuisine, influenced by European and Native American traditions, and characteristic of Gullah culture. Foodways of the South Carolina Lowcountry reach back to the region’s earliest African arrivals and have been shaped by the natural and economic resources of the area. Collards, kale and wild dandelion provided substitutes for leafy greens familiar to Africans arriving during the colonial period. Likewise, sweet potatoes, indigenous to the Americas, substituted for the African yam. In places like Hobcaw Barony European and African-Americans cooked together, blending extravagant French meals and ancient African foodways. Food historian Michael Twitty discusses the origins of Lowcountry cuisine.