The Wine + Food Festival will have plenty of authors on hand, signing copies of their cookbooks in the Charleston Cooks! tent in the Culinary Village. (The event requires a ticket, but you can probably duck in here for a signing without one.) And while a copy of Holly Herrick's The Charleston Chef's Table and The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern are both worth buying, there are some other editions out there that will serve as great souvenirs and put you on the road to cooking it up Lowcountry style.
Hominy Grill: Recipes
hominygrill.comA few years ago, Hominy Grill's Chef Robert Stehling, a James Beard Award winner, put out a small collection of his most requested recipes. The little book has no pictures beyond some of David Boatwright's primitive-looking illustrations, but it does have all the essentials, kicking off with the only shrimp and grits recipe you'll ever need and ending with a chocolate pudding so delicious your grandma would be jealous. Unlike other chef cookbooks, you won't have to make stock (at least, you won't realize you're making stock when you follow his collard greens recipe), and you won't have to buy a bunch of specialty ingredients either. Just be sure to have stone ground grits and plenty of peanut oil in the pantry. Oh, and buttermilk too. The buttermilk pie shouldn't be missed. The book is sold at the restaurant and on their website for $12.
Hoppin' John's Lowcountry
First published in 1992 and reprinted in 2000, Hoppin' John's is a modern classic that can be hard to find. John Martin Taylor introduces the history of Lowcountry cooking and pairs it with 200 recipes. Taylor, along with chefs like Donald Barickman and Louis Osteen, played a part in kickstarting the Southern food revival. If you want to know Charleston's food story, this is one of the best places to find it. When we checked, bookseller Jonathan Sanchez said he had a signed copy for $60 at Blue Bicycle Books on King Street.
The Junior League of Charleston's ubiquitous collection can be found in every kitchen from here to Goose Creek and with good reason. It's full of recipes any good hostess needs to have. Currently in its 30th edition, Charleston Receipts has instructions for making hundreds of coastal Southern dishes, from benne wafers to she-crab soup. You can find this one in any downtown gift shop. Blue Bicycle on King Street has it for $20.