Tuesday, September 1, 2015
The Shrimp Factory,Pine Bark Stew
I realized as I started writing this that we were in Savannah five months ago. But I still remember the delicious Pine Bark Stew that is The Shrimp Factory's signature dish. Our waitress, a transplant from Michigan, assured me I would be happy with my choice when I ordered it.
A little of that stew comforted and relaxed me. The stew was a thick and tasty bouillabaisse. According to the menu, the ingredients included potatoes, onions, peppers, shrimp, flounder, oysters, crab, scallops, cherry tomatoes, and house seasonings. It arrived in a thick metal pot with enough stew in it for both Tom and me. ( He had made other choices but he tasted my stew and declared it delicious.)
I liked the stew because it was thick as well as tasty. There were well-cooked small chunks of its ingredients mingled within the broth. The broth was thick enough that the chunks were not floating, but hidden in it, a pleasant surprise when I took a spoonful of stew. I'm getting hungry for more as I write this.
I found the name interesting so I asked the waitress about it. She said one story is that in the early days at the end of the day, hunters made stew over a campfire and threw in whatever foodstuff they had. They cooked over a fire which included pine bark. Others say the colonists learned to make the stew from the Native Americans who made the stew thick enough to be served on a slab of pine bark. A third theory is that long ago tender little pine tree roots were used as a seasoning in the stew. Like gumbo, the ingredients in this stew vary from place to place.