Sunday, July 30, 2017


A new cookbook caught my eye at the library yesterday.  The Pat Conroy Cookbook - Recipes and Stories of My Life by Pat Conroy"  283 pages   $  unknown.  Hidden in the bar code.

Conroy is the author of "Beach Music," The Prince of Tides" and others.  Knowing that he wrote about the Low Country (Beaufort, SC) and that it is largely a seafood-based cuisine, I checked it out.

The recipes are accompanied by vignettes of old friends, local anecdotes ... not only interesting, but often funny as hell, due largely to the use of Southern colloquiums.  "Pitiful"  "Sorry"  used in unexpected places.

Never having heard of pickled shrimp, I flipped quickly to that recipe which you'll find in Chapter 15 "Why Dying Down South Is More Fun."  Conroy remarked in the very first paragraph, "In the South, you often eat as well after the burial of a family member or friend as you do on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas."  Traditionally, the mourners go from graveyard to the table at the home of the deceased.  Funeral guests will have brought their specialties and guests will be clamoring for them. 

Conroy writes that he has a go-to dish for funerals and it is pickled shrimp.  He writes, "When a good friend dies, I take two pounds of the shrimp for the mourners.  When a great friend dies, I go to five pounds.  When I die, I fully expect all the shrimp in Beaufort to be pickled that day."

Sadly, when I went to look him up - accomplishments, number of wives, children, I was shocked and then saddened to read that he had died, age 70, in 2016 of pancreatic cancer.   He wrote the book in 2004 and presumably this is a re-issue to take advantage of his death for his heirs. 

Here's a pickled shrimp for you, Mr. Conroy; I missed the funeral.

2 lbs. shrimp, cleaned and vein removed.  Set aside while you mix up:
1 cup thinly-sliced yellow onion
4 crushed bay leaves
1 2-oz. bottle of capers, drained and chopped
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teas. minced garlic
1 teas. celery seeds
1 teas. red pepper flakes.

Boil the shrimp until they're pink, drain them, put them in with the sauce, marinate the dish over night, and serve the next day.

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