New Book ‘Taste the State’ Explores South Carolina’s Rich Culinary History

Charleston chef and culinary instructor Kevin Mitchell and historian David S. Shields’ new book ‘Taste the State’ is a deep dive into South Carolina food.

Part food history, part cookbook, and part collection of unusual bygone recipes, ‘Taste the State’ provides an unparalleled understanding of foods from every region of South Carolina— the chestnuts, chinquapins, and corn bread recipes of the Upstate; Lowcountry rice and seafood dishes; Pee Dee catfish and pinebark stews; the smothered cabbage, pumpkin chips, and mustard-based barbecue of the Dutch Fork and Orangeburg; and the red chicken stew of the midlands.

Matt Lee & Ted Lee, James Beard Award-winning authors of ‘The Lee Bros. Southern Cookbook,’ raved, “We devoured Kevin Mitchell and David Shields's ‘Taste the State,’ which reveals on every page fresh and new information about foods that have all but disappeared, such as palmetto pickle and tanya root, and also traditions still very much alive, like Frogmore stew, barbecue and boiled peanuts. Mitchell and Shields's collaboration is the most engaging—and cookable!—volume on the Palmetto State's foodways to date."

Chef Kevin Mitchell will visit bookstores, museums, historic sites, cultural centers, and libraries across South Carolina this fall. Upcoming dates in Charleston include a book signing at Historic Charleston on October 27; a virtual book club with Drayton Hall on October 28; an author talk and signing at with Itinerant Literate at Commonhouse Ale Works on November 10; a book signing at Blue Bicycle Books on December 4; and a book talk and signing at the Baxter-Patrick James Island branch of the Charleston County Public Library on December 14. Learn more at

Kevin Mitchell, a South Carolina Chef Ambassador, is the first African American chef instructor at the Culinary Institute of Charleston in South Carolina. David S. Shields is Carolina Distinguished Professor of the English Language and Literature Department at the University of South Carolina and the chair of the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation.

‘Taste the State’ is published by the University of South Carolina Press. Shop at your favorite Charleston store and learn more and

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