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Callawassie Island is an 880-acre, subtropical sea island with a long and rich history.'
Throughout the 5,000 years preceding the 17th century, Callawassie Island was occupied by numerous American Indian cultures, which left a rich prehistoric archaeological legacy, but unfortunately, no tribal histories.'
The Yemassee Indians, who inhabited the Carolina Lowcountry in the early 17th century, gave Callawassie Island its name. '
Their capitol, Altamaha, was just across Chechessee Creek from Callawassie.'
Since the earliest colonial times, Callawassie Island has passed through the hands of many noteworthy owners. '
The first was James Cochran, an Englishman, who was expelled from England in 1685 for his participation in the Monmouth Rebellion to remove Catholic King James II from the throne. '
His brother, John, also a rebel, later became the owner of Spring Island.'
Historically, the most notable owner of Callawassie after 1756 was the Heyward family. During the Heyward years, indigo was probably first planted on the island as a profitable cash crop. '
Daniel, possibly the richest colonial of his time, was the original Heyward owner. His son, Thomas Heyward Jr., signed the Declaration of Independence. '
His great granddaughter, Elizabeth, to whom he willed Callawassie, married James Hamilton Jr. in 1813, turning over control and ownership of the island to the state's future governor.'
It was Hamilton who very likely built the rare sugar mill and the tabby structures that are now ruins on Callawassie. These structures were constructed during the plantation era on the island when Sea Island cotton was so successful as a crop here. '
In 1819, Hamilton sold Callawassie Island to Gen. John A. Cuthbert, a hero of the Revolutionary War and a founding trustee of Beaufort College, present day University of South Carolina Beaufort.'
Ownership of the island later passed to the Kirk family, a prominent Lowcountry landowner of the period. Clarence Kirk owned the island until after the Civil War.'
After the Civil War, Kirk sold Callawassie Island to William Wallace Burns, who was a Union general and military mayor of Charleston. Burns was a member of a group of Union generals who planned to develop Port Royal as the largest port in the Southeast. They also intended to make Callawassie a rail terminal and storage area, but these plans never came to fruition.'
From the late 19th century through the 1950s, owners of the island used it for agriculture, timbering and hunting. Callawassie Island became a playground for the rich and famous of Philadelphia, New Jersey and New York. Development of the island as it is known today began in 1981.'
Today, Callawassie Island is a gated residential community connected to the mainland by a man-made causeway. The island now has its own garden club which has created cookbook. Patti Wurtzbacher, president of the Callawassie Garden Club, tells of the creation of the cookbook.'
"This whole project has been a labor of love and has generated a lot of enthusiasm. From the beginning we approached this project as a good gardener might.'
In May of 2002, a seed was planted at the annual salad luncheon. During the summer, the idea blossomed. The project actually took root when the membership voted to proceed in September. A plan was put in place and a contest was run to name the book. We plowed through more than 50 suggestions submitted to select a title.'
Recipes were gathered and response was terrific. Willing volunteers weeded and pruned the recipes. '
Finally, by the end of February, the fruits of our labor were ready to be sent to the printer.'
Next we took the book to market here on the island by taking orders. The response has been overwhelming.'
Garden club members willingly volunteered to help the core committee of Linda Diana, Carol Ann Brown, Judy Johnson and Rosie Wehrs, gathered, sorted, proofed and organized the recipes submitted. Kathi Madison created the wonderful artwork for the cover and the interior; Bill Behan provided the history of Callawassie Island while the ideas of Maggie Bryan and Reggie Holter became the title: 'Nothin' Could Be Finer ... A Callawassie Collection of Recipes from Well-lived Lives,' copyright 2003."'
With Callawassie Island on your mind, prepare a recipe to enjoy.'
<strong>1 9-inch baked pie crust</strong>'
<strong>3 to 4 large ripe tomatoes</strong>'
<strong>1 medium onion, chopped fine</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon dried basil</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon dried oregano</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon parsley flakes</strong>'
<strong>Salt and pepper to taste</strong>'
<strong>Pinch of sugar</strong>'
<strong>Dash of Tabasco sauce</strong>'
<strong>1 cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese</strong>'
<strong>1/2 cup mayonnaise</strong>'
<strong>Crumbled bacon, optional</strong>'
Make pie crust or use frozen one. Bake until lightly browned. Peel and cup tomatoes; remove seeds. '
Melt butter in a skillet over low heat. Add tomatoes, salt, pepper, a little sugar and herbs. Simmer about 20 minutes or until most of the liquid is gone. '
Remove from heat; add chopped onion and Tabasco. Stir and pour into pie shell. Mix grated cheese and mayonnaise. Spread on top. Sprinkle on crumbled bacon if desired. '
Bake at 325 degrees F for 25 to 30 minutes or until hot and slightly bubbly. Cut into wedges and serve warm or cold. Serves 10.'
Note: One 28-ounce can ready-cut tomatoes, well drained, may be substituted for fresh.'
ART'S SMOKED OYSTER SPREAD'
<strong>1 8-ounce package cream cheese, soft</strong>'
<strong>2 tablespoons mayonnaise</strong>'
<strong>2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice</strong>'
<strong>1/4 teaspoon garlic salt</strong>'
<strong>1 dash of hot pepper sauce</strong>'
<strong>1 2.5-ounce can jalapeno black olives, chopped</strong>'
<strong>1 3.7-ounce can smoked oysters, drained and chopped</strong>'
In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, garlic, salt and hot sauce. '
Mix until well blended. Fold in olives and oysters. '
Refrigerate, covered, up to 3 days. Makes 1 1/2 cups.'
<strong>2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined</strong>'
<strong>2 tablespoons vegetable oil</strong>'
<strong>2 medium onions, chopped</strong>'
<strong>2 celery stalks, chopped</strong>'
<strong>1 green pepper, chopped</strong>'
<strong>1 red pepper, chopped</strong>'
<strong>2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes</strong>'
<strong>2 tablespoons cumin</strong>'
<strong>2 teaspoons salt</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon pepper</strong>'
<strong>Red pepper flakes </strong>'
Boil shrimp in medium saucepan until just pink; do not over cook, Keep warm. '
Heat oil in heavy 12-inch skillet, then add next 5 ingredients. Sauté vegetables until tender but firm, about 5 to 10 minutes. '
Add spices as vegetables are cooking. '
Stir in shrimp and cook approximately 10 minutes, until flavors blend. '
Serve over rice.'
COCONUT OATMEAL COOKIES'
<strong>1 cup butter</strong>'
<strong>1 cup granulated sugar</strong>'
<strong>1 cup brown sugar (dark)</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon vanilla</strong>'
<strong>2 cups flour, ordinary</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon baking powder</strong>'
<strong>1 teaspoon baking soda</strong>'
<strong>1/2 teaspoon salt</strong>'
<strong>1 cup coconut (1/4 pound)</strong>'
<strong>1 1/2 cup oatmeal (quick-not instant)</strong>'
Cream butter and sugars; add eggs one at a time. '
Add vanilla. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to butter mixture. '
Fold in coconut and oatmeal. Drop on cookie sheet. '
Bake at 350 degrees F for 12 to 15 minutes. '
Yield: 5 dozen.'
SUMMER PASTA SALAD'
<strong>1/2 cup Miracle Whip salad dressing</strong>'
<strong>1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese</strong>'
<strong>2 tablespoons milk</strong>'
<strong>1 1/2 cup cubed ham</strong>'
<strong>1 cup shell macaroni, cooked and drained</strong>'
<strong>1 cup chopped tomato</strong>'
<strong>1 cup green pepper chunks, if desired</strong>'
<strong>1/4 cup chopped onion</strong>'
<strong>1/4 teaspoon salt</strong>'
Combine Miracle Whip, Parmesan cheese and milk. Mix well. '
Add all remaining ingredients. Mix lightly. '
Chill several hours or overnight. Serve on lettuce covered plate. Serves 4.