© Stephanie Meyer
All good recipes have stories. Some even have amazing stories, and this is one of them. So: I was in Charleston, South Carolina, shooting Bizarre Foods, and we got a terrible spate of weather. Several of the people we’d planned to shoot for the show disappeared faster than Lindsay Lohan’s alibis. We punted and drummed up some places to check out last-minute as replacements, including a sleepy little seafood joint in nearby McClellanville called T.W. Graham & Co. It didn’t look promising, but I was chasing down leads, desperate to find some good characters and some great chow. I have a prejudice against restaurants that include ampersands in their title, but what the heck, I was feeling open-minded. So in we strolled. I was sure it was going to be a dismal failure of a place.
Why? There were instantaneous tip-offs that amateur hour had begun, including, but not limited to, a gift shop with silly T-shirts (most with pirate themes, and the rest with catchphrases devoted to either drinking too much or mom jokes). There were wooden totems of old fishermen in sou’westers, giant coils of rope, lobster and crab traps and overly varnished tabletops. Should I continue?
I walked farther into the place and smelled the clean, pure, bright aroma of superb seafood, and then I locked eyes with Claudia. She waits tables and bakes pies. Her husband, the cook, is a crabber, shrimper and trapper. As I mentioned, it was a cold and rainy day, and Claudia immediately brought me a mug of this crab soup, and I felt my knees buckle. When you close your eyes and think of crab-corn-shrimp chowder, this soup is the one that pops into your head. Problem is, until now, nothing has ever measured up. Well, the soup was the perfect version of the classic Low Country staple, the seafood was amazing, the pies were superb and T.W. Graham & Co. is one of my all-time favorite discoveries. Check ’em out if you are ever in McClellanville.