Including the South Carolina Low Country Receipts and Remedies of Emily Wharton Sinkler. University of South Carolina Press (1996). 181pp. including index. 6.25 x 9.25 inches. Hardcover. ISBN: 1-57003-129-0.
At the age of nineteen Emily Wharton married Charles Sinkler and moved eight hundred miles from her Philadelphia home to the swampy Low Country region of South Carolina. Suddenly she found herself living in a totally unfamiliar environment — a cotton plantation in an isolated area along the Santee River. In monthly letters to her family she recorded thoughtful musings about her adopted home, and in a receipt book she assembled a trusted collection of culinary and medicinal recipes that reflect her ties to both North and South. Together with an extensive biographical and historical introduction by Anne Sinkler Whaley LeClercq, these documents provide a flavorful record of plantation cooking, folk medicine, travel, and social life in the antebellum South.
Emily Warton Sinkler's letters record her life at two of the family's plantations and at a summer retreat in Bradford Springs, South Carolina. While her writings reflect the vibrancy and affluence of Low Country plantation society at the peak of its power and wealth, they also document her philosophical indisposition to slavery. In addition, her letters reveal much about the significant role women played in managing the plantation, which in her case meant administering provisions and attending to the health of more than two hundred people.
The receipt book, begun in 1855 and handed down through several generations, offers valuable insight into the melding of diverse cultural and ethnic influences — French Huguenot, African, Low Country, Virginian, and Pennsylvanian — in the Sinkler kitchen. The receipts show a reliance on locally grown ingredients, scant use of sugarand exotic seasonings, success in devising substituions for items that had been readily available in Philadelphia, and skill in treating myriad physical ailments.
Anne Sinkler Whaley Leclercq is library director of the Daniel Library at The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina. A graduate of Duke University, she holds a master's degree in librarianship from Emory University and a law degree from the University of Tennessee. LeClercq is a great-great-granddaughter of Emily Wharton Sinkler.
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