I don't have enough space here to explain it all, but I'll gloss over it, if I can. I have been studying the Gullah Geechee culture for months now. The Cherokee Native Americans along with the Choctaw and Chickasaw (of which my husband and children are on the rolls), lived nearby the outer banks of the Carolinas, before relocation on the Trail of Tears, and intermingled with the slaves brought to America. In fact, they named the West African slaves Gullah Geechee. The coast proved to be a good area to grow rice and the slaves were expert rice growers before their arrival in the 1600's. The Native Americans inter-married with them and taught them many things, in particular, about more than 600 plants and roots used for medicinal purposes as well as foodstuffs.
Since the Native Americans and slaves had no option to go to doctors, they had to treat/heal themselves. One example, Slippery Elm Bark, was used back then and today it is aspirin. The roots and plants were also used in the practice of Hoodoo. Maybe more on that later. Their culture was rich and varied. The Gullah invented the blue hand and eye to drive evil spirits away. They also began the 'haint blue' paint still used on houses today in the South. They invented Br'er Rabbit, a trickster in their stories and brought bottle trees to the American south. The Gullah were very superstitious. As I said, too much to tell here.
Above, is the Angel Oak tree on Johns Island, near Charleston, South Carolina. It is thought to be about 1400 years old and supposedly, the tree has seen many things over the ages. It is said the other trees nearby take care of it and feed it. If you get the chance, google it for pictures. I've never seen another like it. If only I could get an acorn.
Anyway, I ordered an old Charleston cookbook as all the study made me want authentic creole food. I thought you'd like to see some of the recipes. I'd love to try the Cherry Bounce. Those southerners love the drinky winky. Even sloe gin fizzes in the morning are commonplace.
I was looking for a creamy bisque soup and I'm going to try the Kiawha Shrimp Bisque, but with crab.
I'm not sure which recipe I am looking for, so I'll try this one too, as it sounds more like the one I've been looking for. Notice underneath the recipe it says Charleston is famous for this soup. The one I've had had an orangey spice in it, perhaps saffron or paprika.
I don't know of another food more popular in the south than biscuits. Maybe like the scones in Scotland.
Grits, seafood and corn and rice, okra and beans and greens. Though many nationalities lived in and around Charleston, these ingredients were very popular. Not only the Atlantic Ocean, but different rivers provided many foods to the area of this major port city.
I've barely scratched the surface. New Orleans is known for their Cajun food, but I don't think they have anything on Charleston's Creole cuisine.