A Place Called Home

A memoir of Beaufort and St. Helena Island, South Carolina

by Elizabeth Bishop Later with O.R. (Sonny) Bishop, Jr.

Hoppin' John

Eaten by people all over the south on New Year's Day to ensure good luck throughout the year.

1/2 pound dried black-eyed peas, sorted, rinsed, and soaked overnight (Can substitute one bag of frozen black-eyed peas if you don't want to mess with soaking dried beans overnight.)

4 slices bacon

1 cup chopped Vidalia onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1 tsp. tabasco sauce

1/8 tsp. thyme

1/8 tsp. rosemary

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

Fry bacon until crisp; remove to paper towels to drain. Add chopped onion to bacon grease and saute 2 minutes.  Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours (high for 4-6). Serve over hot rice.

Add collard greens, corn bread, and some kind of pork (pulled pork, ham, pork chops) to the meal so that you'll also have posterity and money for the new year.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Benne Wafers
Benne seeds, also known as sesame seeds, were brought to the South Carolina Sea Islands with the African slave trade in the 1700s. Meant to bring good luck, the tiny little seeds bring a nutty goodness to these cookies that is light and delicious. Our special addition of cardamom also adds a little hint of spice to them as well. 

1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1 cup toasted sesame seeds (benne seed)
3/4 cup softened butter
1 tsp. vanilla

Heat oven to 300 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar. Mix in egg. 
Add flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and sesame seed and mix well. 
Stir in vanilla.
Drop dough in tiny amounts (about the size of a nickel) on parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 8 minutes, or until brown. Let cool before removing from cookie sheet. 


Kelly Pie

This special recipe comes from Mary Bishop, who attended Coker College and worked in the cafeteria there to help put herself through school. The cook, named Kelly, made wonderful lime pie, which she loved. When she graduated from Coker in 1957, his gift to her was his recipe for "Kelly Pie". And now we share it with you.

1 can nonfat condensed milk
1/3 cup lime juice
Zest of 2 limes
1 cup Cool Whip

Mix condensed milk, lime juice, and lime zest together (it will get thick). Fold in Cool Whip. Place in a graham cracker crust or a baked pie shell. Keep refrigerated.

Yard Farm Cinnamon Rolls

1 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
4 tbsp. melted butter
4 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. instant vanilla pudding mix
3-1/2 cups bread flour
1 tbsp white sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2-1/4 tsp. yeast

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp. cinnamon

1-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
milk or water

Add dough ingredients in the order listed to your bread machine pan. Set bread machine to dough cycle. When the cycle is through, roll the dough into a rectangle. Brush dough with 1/4 cup melted butter, then top with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Starting at one end, roll dough tightly into a tube. Using a bread knife, cut into one inch slices and place in a greased 13x9 baking pan. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.

Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees.

Cool for a few minutes, then glaze. There's nothing scientific to the glaze. Just add enough milk or water to the powdered sugar to make a thick glaze.

Makes 12 rolls.

Fried Green Tomatoes

(These are pictured on the left of the plate. They're crunchier and more tart.)

Soak sliced green tomatoes in buttermilk for 30 minutes.
Mix together:
~1 cup white corn meal
~1 tsp. salt
~1/2 tsp, pepper
~ 1/2 tsp. paprika

In a frying pan, heat 1/4 inch corn oil. Fry tomatoes, turning regularly so they brown evenly. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.

(These are pictured on the right of the plate. They're softer and have a sweeter taste.)

Soak sliced green tomatoes in buttermilk for 30 minutes.
Mix together:
~1 cup corn muffin mix (we used Marie Callendar's, but any mix will do)
~1 tsp. salt
~1/2 tsp. pepper
~1/2 tsp. papriks

In a frying pan, heat 1/4 inch corn oil. Fry tomatoes, turning regularly so they brown evenly. Remove to a plate covered with a paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Perfect Steamed Okra

Spray a skillet or large pan with Pam, add a small pat of butter.

Wash small okra pods and cut off tips and stem ends.

Place okra in skillet (single layer, if possible) and put in just enough water to come about halfway up the okra pods. (Too much water will make slimy okra! Better to add water during cooking, if needed.)
When the butter has melted, stir it around in the pan until all okra is buttered.

Sprinkle with a little salt.
Cover pan.
Simmer over medium heat until okra is just fork-tender.
Reduce heat, uncover pan, and continue cooking just until all water has evaporated.
Watch okra carefully. You want to evaporate the water, but not burn the okra.

Aunt Patty's Okra Rice

(Patty Bishop Hudson)

Brown some bacon. Remove bacon and dripping. Add about 1 tsp drippings back to your pan.(or to your taste). Add about 1 to 2 cup chopped onions, 2 cups chopped, fresh okra.(or more) Sir fry until barely tender. Season to taste. I usually add 1 tsp of Wylers chicken broth granules, pepper etc. ( If you want spicy add your peppers etc.) THEN stir in about 2 cups of COOKED rice. Stir to blend. Sprinkle your chopped bacon on top. Let sit with lid on top to marry flavors.

Pecan Tassies

These are delightful little traditional Southern cookies. The word Tassie is a Scottish word meaning "cup" so, technically, they're pecans in a cup! They have a flaky, buttery crust with a soft pecan filling inside. It's a pecan pie in two bites and we guarantee you won't be able to eat just one!

1-1/4 cups pecans, finely chopped or lightly ground in a food processor
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix 1/2 cup butter and cream cheese at low speed until well blended. Add flour, salt, and 1/2 cup pecans; beat until blended.
3. Shape dough into 24 balls using lightly floured hands. Place 1 ball in each cup of a miniature muffin pan. Press dough on bottom and up sides of each cup to form shells.
4. Whisk together brown sugar, 2 Tbsp. butter, egg, vanilla extract, and salt. Fold in remaining pecans. Spoon about 1-2 tsp. of filling into shells.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 22 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Makes 24 servings.

Southern Breeze

This recipe is from http://southernliving.com, but we taste tested it and it is delicious!

Stir together:
1 cup sugar
1 small envelope unsweetened Blue Raspberry Lemonade mix (we used KoolAid Ice Blue Raspberry Lemonade)
7 cups water
1 can frozen lemonade, thawed

Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.

Combine 1 (46-ounce) can pineapple juice and 2 liters gingerale, both chilled. Pour over blue raspberry lemonade ice cubes.

(To make one glass, combine equal parts pineapple juice and gingerale; pour over ice cubes)

Yard Farm Coca Cola Cake

You can get this at Cracker Barrel, but it's better made from scratch! One of our personal favorites.

1 package devil's food cake mix
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted
1 cup cola (Pepsi or Coca-Cola, your choice)
1/2 cup buttermilk (or substitute by combining 1 tbsp. vinegar + milk to make 1 cup; let sit for a few seconds, then stir)
2 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Cola Frosting:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/3 cup cola
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix cake mix, cocoa powder, melted butter, cola, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla on low speed for 1 minute, then 2 minutes more at medium speed. Scrape sides as needed.

Fold in marshmallows.

Pour batter into a lightly greased (with cooking spray) 13x9 inch pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Make the frosting by melting the butter in a medium saucepan then stirring in cocoa powder and cola. Let the mixture come to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat. Stir in the confectioners' sugar until the frosting is thickened and smooth. Fold in pecans.

The frosting will be thin while it's hot, so don't keep adding confectioners' sugar to make it thick! Pour the frosting over the cake, spreading it out with a rubber spatula.

Frogmore's Best Deviled Eggs

No self-respecting church dinner or picnic in the south would be complete without deviled eggs!

6 hard boiled eggs
2 tsp. Durkee's Sandwich Sauce
1 tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp. Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt (or substitute 1/2 tsp. salt + 1/2 tsp. garlic salt + a little pepper)
About 2 tbsp. Bread and Butter Pickle juice

Slice eggs lengthwise and carefully remove yolks to a small bowl.
Crush yolks with a fork then stir in Durkee's sauce, sour cream and Jane's salt.
Add enough pickle juice to make the yolk mixture creamy. (Start with 1 tbsp, then add 1 tsp. at a time.)
Spoon filling back into egg whites.
Sprinkle lightly with paprika.

Mary Bishop's Pimiento Cheese

Given that Pimiento Cheese is often referred to as "Caviar of the South", we can tell you that you will never eat a better pimiento cheese sandwich than one that Mary Bishop makes for you on her homemade bread. 

When I asked her for the recipe she said, "I don't know! I just make it without thinking about it!". She makes it the way her mother and her grandmother did. So here it is, in all its beautiful simplicity. (And yes.....it's pimiento, not pimento.)

1/2 pound grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 jar diced pimientos
Enough Miracle Whip or mayonnaise (Duke's is our preference) to make the cheese spreadable
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional additions:
Chopped green or black olives
Chopped nuts
Chopped bacon
1/2 tbsp. Durkee's Sandwich Sauce
A little horseradish or Tabasco sauce

Yard Farm Shrimp and Grits

Our take on a classic southern favorite.

Bring 2 cups water or chicken broth to a boil. While stirring, add 6 tbsp. grits, lower heat to simmer, and cook for 4-5 minutes or until thick. Stir occasionally. Set aside and keep warm.

In a medium size bowl, toss together:
1-1/2 lbs. shrimp
1 tbsp Old Bay Seasoning
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. dried parsley

Saute shrimp in 1-2 tbsp. olive oil until pink and firm.

Sweet Rolls

This recipe makes a delicious loaf of bread, too!

In a bread machine, add ingredients in this order:

1 cup warm milk
5 tbsp. butter
1 egg + 1 egg yolk
5 tbsp sugar
1 tsp. salt
3-1/2 cups Bread Flour (we use King Arthur)
2-1/2 tsp. yeast

Run bread machine on dough cycle, then shape dough into balls. Place in lightly greased muffin tins or place 1 inch apart in a 13x9 lightly greased pan. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour.

Remove plastic wrap and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Butter tops while warm. Makes 15 rolls.

Yard Farm Pickled Shrimp

One of Sonny's favorite's. 

Whisk together:

3/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced onion
2 slices lemon, thinly sliced and quartered
1 tsp. celery seeds
2 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. Jane's Krazy Mixed Up Salt (may substitute with 1 -1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder)
1 tsp. brown mustard
Pinch of dill seed
Splash of tabasco sauce

Pour over 1 to 1-1/2 lbs. cooked and peeled shrimp. Cover and let sit in the refrigerator overnight



Every special holiday deserves ambrosia.

This recipe is so simple you can hardly call it a recipe. If you want to dress it up with maraschino cherries, marshmallows, or pineapple tidbits that's fine too but we believe the original southern Ambrosia is to mix:

4 navel oranges, peeled and sectioned

1/2 cup flaked coconut

That's it! Of course, it makes it more special to serve it in a delightful little dessert dish. 

Mary's Meringue Pecan Pie

This classic southern dessert is one of our favorites! 

5 egg whites, room temperature

1/2 tsp. cream of tartar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp vanilla

1-1/2 cups sugar

1 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Lightly coat a 10" pie plate with cooking spray.

Beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt until soft peaks form. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in sugar, 1/4 cup at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in nuts.

Spread meringue into the prepared pie plate. Place the pie in the oven and turn the oven off. Leave in the oven for 12 hours or overnight. Don't open the door!

Serve with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

Makes 10 servings.

Note: This is best made with Yard Farm pecans, which can be purchased from us. 

Moldy Mice (aka Sand Dabs)

A Christmas tradition at Yard Farm.

3/4 cup butter

4 Tbsp. confectioner's sugar

2 Tbsp. cold water

2 tsp. vanilla or almond flavoring

2 cups + 2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1 cup chopped nuts (pecans preferable!)

1/4 tsp. salt

Cream butter and sugar together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well. Form into finger-sized cookies and bake at 300 degrees just until they begin to brown. Don't over-bake! 

Roll cookies in powdered sugar while they're still warm.

Aunt Kathleen's Date Fingers

Another Christmas tradition at Yard Farm.

2 sticks butter

1 can Angel Flake coconut

2 packages chopped dates (1 lb.)

2 cups brown sugar, packed

Combine all ingredients and cook over low heat until bubbles form. Stir constantly! Cook and stir for 6 minutes. Cool slightly, then stir in:

4 cups Rice Krispies

1 cup chopped nuts

Stir until mixed. Shape into fingers and roll in powdered sugar. Don't let it get too cold or it will be hard to mix.

Squash Casserole

Mary Bishop's original recipe of a southern favorite.

2 pounds (about 6 medium size) yellow squash, steamed and drained

1 can (10-1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup, undiluted

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup butter or margarine

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1 medium onion, grated or chopped very fine

1-8 ounce package Pepperidge Farm herb dressing (reserve some to use as a topping for casserole)

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a shallow baking dish with cooking spray. 

Mix all ingredients together. Place in the prepared baking dish and top with reserved stuffing mix. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until top is brown.

Granny Grace's Chocolate Pound Cake

Nobody made a chocolate pound cake better than Granny Grace. It's worth the effort to try, though!

1/2 pound butter

1/2 cup shortening

3 cups sugar

5 eggs

3 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 rounded Tbsp Cocoa

1 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour bundt pan.

Cream butter and sugar, then add eggs. Mix all dry ingredients and add to mixture. Add milk and vanilla. Pour into pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

Fudge Frosting:

2 cups sugar

1/4 cup light corn syrup

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup shortening

2 squares unsweetened chocolate, cut up

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

Mix all ingredients except vanilla in saucepan. Bring slowly to full rolling boil. Boil for 1-1/2 minutes. Remove from heat, add vanilla, and beat until ready to spread.

Yard Farm Fruitcake

Fruitcake has a bad reputation in some circles, but we promise you'll love this one!

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup packed brown sugar

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. ground cloves

16 oz. (2 cups) chopped mixed candied fruits and peels

1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1 cup raisins

1-16 oz. can peaches, drained and chopped

1-14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 cup prepared mincemeat

1/4 cup orange juice or peach juice

In very large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Stir in fruits and peels, nuts, and raisins. Add peaches, milk, mincemeat, and orange (or peach) juice; mix well. Turn into 2 greased and floured 8x4x2-inch loaf pans. Bake in 300 degree oven for 2 hours or till done. Cool completely; remove from pans. Wrap in foil or clear plastic wrap and store in a cool place.

Makes 2 fruitcakes.

Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix

During the holidays, a container of this is always on the kitchen counter, ready to be mixed up as an accompaniment to one of Mary Bishop's cookies!

4 quart box powdered milk

8 ounces coffee creamer (like Coffeemate)

8 Tbsp. powdered sugar

16 ounces Hershey's chocolate milk mix

1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa

Mix all ingredients. Add 3-4 spoonfuls to each mug and fill with hot water. Add a little dash of vanilla to each cup. Makes 4 servings.

Office Sweet Potatoes

This southern staple is a recipe passed down from the ladies who worked in my grandfather's office. Thus, the name. 

3 medium sweet potatoes

3/4 cup white sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tbsp. all purpose flour

1/2 stick margarine

1 tsp. lemon or vanilla flavoring

Enough water to almost cover

Peel and cut raw potatoes into small chunks. Mix all other ingredients and pour over potatoes in a casserole dish. Cook in 350 degree oven until potatoes are tender - about an hour, depending on the size of the potato pieces.

Top with mini marshmallows and toast under the broiler until brown.

Shrimp Jambalaya

Our favorite Christmas Eve dish!

2 tbsp. butter

8 oz. smoked sausage, sliced 1/4" thick

2 tbsp. paprika

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. fresh black pepper

1 tsp. salt

1 can diced tomatoes

1 small green pepper, diced

1 small red pepper, diced

1 cup uncooked white rice (not Minute Rice!)

3 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined

In a heavy pot with a lid, melt butter. Add sausage and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add seasonings and saute for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until some of the liquid from the tomatoes evaporates. Add bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in rice and broth. Turn heat to high until simmering, then reduce to low heat, cover the pot, and cook for 25 minutes. 

Makes 4-6 servings.

Sausage Casserole

Mary Bishop's original recipe of a traditional southern favorite.

1 pound Jimmy Dean ground sausage
1 small onion, chopped
8 oz. can chopped water chestnuts
1 small (2 oz.) jar chopped pimentos
4 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1 can cream of "something" soup (mushroom, celery, chicken)
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Brown sausage and onion together. Add remaining ingredients and mix well together. Bake for 30 minutes in a 13 x 9 pan that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Lemon Butter Christmas Stars

Light and buttery, these are the perfect little cookies to go with some homemade hot chocolate.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1 cup sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/8 cup whole milk

1 tsp. lemon extract

1/4 tsp. salt

2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/8 tsp. baking soda

Crystal sugar or colored sugar (optional)

Mix dry ingredients together.

In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, milk, and extract. Gradually mix in dry ingredients. Cover and chill for two hours.

Roll dough out on a lightly floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with a cookie cutter dipped in flour. Place cookies two inches apart on slightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 7-8 minutes or until the edges just begin to brown. Remove to wire racks to cool.

Yield: about 13 dozen small cookies.


We are suckers for anything with caramel on it. Problem is, I don't like the hassle of making caramel. Solution: this recipe. Caramelly goodness without the hassle. (There's a reason why my brother and I always called it trash, but I can't remember it. It's just always been trash.)

1/2 cup melted butter

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup flaked coconut

5 or 6 cups corn or rice cereal (Crispix, Chex, etc.) 

1 cup nuts (pecans, almonds)

Raisins or dried fruit (optional)

Cover a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray lightly with cooking spray.

Melt butter then whisk in maple syrup, brown sugar, salt, and vanilla. In a large bowl, mix coconut, cereal, and nuts. Pour liquid mixture over dry ingredients and stir to coat. 

Spread coated cereal on the cookie sheet and bake at 275 degrees for 1 hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes.

Dried fruit may be added after the mixture cools. Store in tightly covered container.