We wonder how much of our bias toward Charleston as a wonderful city to visit and perhaps to reside, is influenced by getting to hang out for two weeks with my delightful pal and cousin Ed, on Seabrook Island. South Carolina went from drought conditions before the month of February with only 2 inches of rain for the season, to 5 inches of rain over average season rainfall by the end of February. Ed’s house is such a wonderful place to be pinned down with wintery weather. Here is our view from the “tree house”, when we awaken in the morning with intense birdsong right outside the window.
We eat breakfast, read the Wall Street Journal (Saturday rocks!), drink coffee and gaze out at the marsh and creeks extending from here out to the ocean as you can see in the featured image. Lety likes to hang out with Ed as he is a writer that works at the kitchen table; she keeps a close watch on the critters in the marsh and creek, perhaps hoping to see rogue dolphins that swim up from the ocean on occasion. The marsh grass Spartina is prevalent on the Atlantic Coast from Canada to Northern Argentina. It changes color with the seasons and looks like the tall grass prairie in the Flint Hills of Kansas…and just as flat.
Flat is great though for relaxing bike rides through the shady, canopied lanes to Spinnaker Beach where the Coastal Bottlenose Dolphin reside. We saw one today, leaping out of the water and landing with a splash, part of their fishing behaviors. The Dolphins here also have another unique way to fish that is not found anywhere else in the world, strand fishing. They work as a team driving the mullet to shore with sufficient speed so that the fish hit the shallows and flip out of the water onto the sand. The dolphins roll up out of the water and onto the sand to catch and eat them. Smart critters!
Ed is the family genealogist and historian. He has compiled notebooks on our grandparents and great grandparents including their sports awards (my grandfather held the national college record for the mile) and their letters…and these folks really wrote letters. In our speedy e-mail world, perhaps we have lost some depth to our communications, trading for efficiency. It is just so wonderful to visit distant family, and leave with deep and enduring friendship established. It just requires having sufficient time and place to chat for hours about our lives, our families, our travels and our dreams, to share some dirty jokes and limericks, and add in some political discussion. We chat while preparing food together, eating at Ed’s favorite “Cheap and Cheerfuls” (ethnic, hole-in-the-wall restaurants), going to the movies, visiting his sassy girlfriend Linda, a popular Charleston actor, just chatting our way to greater closeness….always a pleasure in a new friendship, but extra sweet with a family member.
It helps that we all love to cook…and eat. The new Sunset Magazine came yesterday and we had a “Palio Meal”, that would be hunter-gatherer foods like….meat and potatoes! We cooked a Vietnamese inspired meal with roasted sweet potato, brussel sprouts and pork roast infused with lime, chile, honey, garlic, ginger, fish sauce and cilantro. Yummmm! The 2002 Dry Creek Petite Syrah was syrupy and rich with legs as long as Tina Turner’s! Tonight we will cook the asparagus and shrimp recipe from a Sunset Magazine feature on a Vietnamese Restaurant in Seattle called Monsoon.
We talk a lot about Ed’s deceased mother Alice, and my 84 year old mom Diane, their close friendship over their entire lives, and appreciate our common ancestry, especially its’ roots in cooking and eating.