Since three years ago coming across a shrimp soup recipe attributed to William Deas, the butler at the center of a locally popular she-crab soup creation myth, Forrest Parker has prepared the dish many times at Old Village Post House. “We haven’t made a lot of changes,” the chef says. “We do try to finesse it a bit for a velvety mouth-feel.”
Parker was so excited about finding the soup in Blanche Rhett’s “200 Years of Charleston Cooking” that he blogged about it, under the heading “The Lost Recipe of William Deas.” But he admits most diners don’t attain his degree of enthusiasm.
“Almost without fail, our guests tend to gravitate toward our iteration of another William Deas great: She-crab soup,” he says.
Still, there’s a subset of restaurant goers who are more interested in the less familiar and forgotten. Call them the shrimp soup crowd – and alert them to an upcoming Old Village Post House wine dinner benefitting Clemson’s Coastal Research & Education Center, which works closely with the Carolina Gold Rice Foundation to restore heirloom crops.
The five-course meal on May 20 will feature plate appearances by chinquapins; Jimmy Red corn; Nostrale rice and Bradford watermelon preserves. The seated portion of the dinner begins with shrimp soup and ends with a benne cake made with James Island Red Fife wheat, African Runner peanuts, strawberries and salted cane syrup.
Tickets to the dinner are priced at $70. For reservations, call 388-8935.