The Land of Shrimp, Collards & Grits

Welcome to the land of shrimp, collards and grits! Among the many islands of Beaufort County is one that bears the name Ladys. This is where Pleasant Point Plantation stretches along the twists and turns of the Beaufort River. It was 1971 when I first crossed the little causeway at Pleasant Point leading up to a small wooden structure with a sign outside reading, “clubhouse.” My husband and I had just driven in from Atlanta, parked the car and were getting out when a jovial man drove up in his golf cart. Upon seeing the Georgia tag on the back of the car and realizing we were not locals, he greeted us with, “Welcome to the land of shrimp, collards and grits! My name’s Willie. I own the place, so if you see anything you like, let me know. Don’t fool with the alligators and just beat the ground with a stick if you want the snakes to leave you alone.”

Before we could respond, he spun off toward a group of men waiting on the first hole to tee off.

Despite this somewhat abrupt introduction to the place, there was a gentle spirit about it in contrast to the fast-paced life we had in Atlanta. Rows of palmetto trees lined the Intracoastal Waterway that meandered around the property, standing stately like soldiers guarding the shoreline as shrimp boats, barges, sailboats and yachts passed by on their way to distant harbors. Walking up to the water’s edge, we scattered marsh hens into the air, observed the massive wingspread of the great blue herons in flight, and watched egrets searching for fish among the rocks in shallow waters. There was something special here, unique and set apart.

Standing at the point we could look across the river at the town of Beaufort standing like a true Southern Lady. We decided to stay. Many of the activities and recipes described in this book took place in and around our home on the waterway. We owned Pleasant Point in the 70s and lived in the Arthur Barnwell House. The food and festivities presented are authentic and based on ideas from generations of Southern cooks and graciously served at oyster roasts, fish fries, barbecues, ladies luncheons and teas, as well as dinners and cocktail parties. Many recipes are updated, but represent what hostesses served when they wanted to put their best foot forward. Flavorful food and elegant style were always an indispensable part of everyday life. This book is all about the food but also the memories of how things were.

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