Mariamne’s Cookshop (ready made food) in Colonial Charleston

Bill of Fare

Breakfast: Cornmeal mush and molasses

Breads: Biscuits, Cornbread, Journey/Johnny cake/hoecake (a cornmeal flatbread), Rice flour muffins


Meats: Chicken on a Spit or Corned (Salted) Beef

Meat Pies: Beef, Chicken, or Turkey

Rice dishes: Chicken and rice pilau (or purloo) with cowpeas and red peas

Puddings: Bread pudding, chocolate pudding, pumpkin pudding, or rice pudding. Chocolate pudding is made with Naples Biscuits, eggs, cream, and chocolate. This recipe comes from 1730.

Pastes: (Sweet sheets of dried pounded fruit) Apricot, Gooseberry, Peach, or Quince

Pies: Apricot, Lemon, Peach, or Sweet Potato



Cider drinks - Hard (alcoholic) apple cider, which is the most common drink in the Colonies since apples grow everywhere and cider is easy to make. It does not require hops, which is imported from Great Britain. We have hard apple cider, cyser (apple cider fermented with honey), perry (a cider drink made from pears), and quince cider. Quince cider is not a well known drink but it was known to the Romans. Our quinces and pears come from North Carolina.

Lemon or Orange Shrub, made with fruit juice, sugar, and rum. Shrubs are fruit drinks mixed with alcohol or vinegar.

Lemon or Orange Syllabub with Cream and Sherry

Mobby - An alcoholic drink from sweet potatoes and sugar or molasses. From the West Indies.

Peach Brandy

Peach or Raspberry Vinegar - Fruit vinegar drinks, made from juice, sugar, and vinegar, are also called shrubs. Peach Vinegar or Peach Shrub is an unusual drink and you will be hard pressed to find it elsewhere.

Spruce Beer - Beer flavored with spruce buds, needles, or leaves. This is a popular drink in South Carolina.


Sweet potato pie is a southern tradition that seems to date to early Colonial times, although it wouldn’t have had marshmallows back then. Henry VIII liked sweet, spiced sweet potato pie.

The food of Charleston was influenced by Africa, the Caribbean, France, and England. Rice was grown at an early period.

Syllabubs lingered in the South after they become uncommon elsewhere

I can not confirm that cyser or perry were popular in Colonial South Carolina but pears and quinces were grown in South and North Carolina.

Hoppin’ John, rice, black-eyed peas, and bacon, may date to the 19th century

Lemons grew in Florida. Limes came from the West Indies.

"From her plantation or in her Charleston home, Harriott would not have lacked for good food and drinks. At Hampton she had gardens, poultry, and livestock together with game and seafood from nearby fields and rivers. In Charleston there were certainly a kitchen garden, a poultry yard, very likely a cow or two, the daily market, and a wealth of imported delicacies from the West Indies and Europe...Milk and cheese were generally lacking except to the well-to-do. The pork and barnyard fowls, fed on corn and rice, were rated good, but the beef, veal and mutton were but 'middling' or inferior because...the cattle and sheep were not fattened but rather slaughtered direct from the thin pastures. From nearby fields and waters.,...there was a plentiful supply of venison, wild turkeys, geese, ducks, and other wild fowl. Terrapin were found in all ponds, and at times ships arrived from the West Indies with huge sea turtles. Fish were often scarce and expensive, but oysters, crabs, and shrimp could be bought cheaply. Vegetables were available and were preserved for winter months. Travelers noticed that the 'long' (sweet) potatoes were a great favorite and there were also white potatoes, pumpkins, various peas and beans, squashes, cucumbers, radishes, turnips, carrots, and parsnips among other vegetables. Rice was the colony's great staple and it was served with meats and shellfish and used to make breads, biscuits, flour, puddings, and cakes...Corn served all classes to make Journey cakes and the great and small hominy. Wheat was grown by some of the Germans in the interior, but better grades were imported from Pennsylvania and New York. Lowcountry dwellers grew and enjoyed a profusion of fruits: oranges, peaches, citrons, pomegranates, lemons, pears, apples, figs, melons, nectarines, and apricots, as well as a variety of berries...Wealthy planters and merchants were not limited to locally produced foods. From northern colonies came apples, white potatoes, and well as butter, cheeses, cabbages, onions, and corned beef. The West Indies, the Spanish and Portuguese islands, and Europe sent cheeses, salad oils, almonds, chocolate, olives, pimentos, raisins, sugar, limes, lemons, currants, spices, anchovies and salt. Boats arrived in Charles Town frequently from the West Indies with many kinds of tropical fruits.As for beverages, only the slaves, the poorest whites, and hard-pressed frontiersmen drank water. The average South Carolinian more likely drank a mixture of rum and water, spruce beer, or cider, and in the frontier areas peach brandy and...whiskey..." ---A Colonial Plantation Cookbook: The Receipt Book of Harriott Pinckney Horry 1770, edited with an Introduction by Richard J. Hooker [University of South Carolina Press:Columbia SC] 1984 (p. 14-17)

About Rice in Georgetown, SC.

Low Country South Carolina's low country cuisine is a creole mix of English, French, Caribbean and West African flavors. The Gullah/Geechee people were of West African descent.”


Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink for Modern Times - Sweet and Savory Cocktails and Sophisticated Sodas, Michael Dietsch. Note - Peach shrubs are not attested to in Colonial times. My warrant is that peaches were so common that people would be looking for ways to use them.

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