On rainy days as a child, I would sometimes amuse myself by looking through the old family books in my parents’ library in search of the earliest copyright date in the house. The patinaed, worn leather of 19th century spines filled with delicate, foxed pages acted like a time machine on my senses and whirled me back through the ages as I wondered whose fingers had graced these same pages for the first time. Old books still hold for me a kind of magic, and I thoroughly enjoyed learning more about them and their proper care from experts like David Hodges featured in Aïda Rogers’ article on page 46.
Like most children, I also grew up with a fascination for ghost stories, though I was limited in my permitted exposure to them (my mother was too smart to risk her sleep to my inevitable nightmares). The tradition of ghost stories crosses all cultures, and South Carolinians show no exception in exhibiting humanity’s intrinsic delight in the macabre. For an entertaining sampling of our local and statewide spectral legends to stimulate your Halloween spirit, read Janet Scouten’s article on page 42.
Another article in this issue highlighting history and traditions is Deena Bouknight’s story about the St. Paul Campground tent revival that has been taking place every October since 1880, timed for a celebration of the harvest. This week of fellowship and worship was established by Little Salem A.M.E. Church, and fifth generation descendants still carry on their forefathers’ practice of song, prayer, laughter, and good food to this day. Read more about their inspiring heritage on page 64.
Lastly, Susan Slack shares the exotic traditions of fermenting food from all around the world, hearkening back to as early as the Stone Age. While the Korean dish of kimchi is perhaps what first comes to mind (and indeed, she has provided a fantastic recipe!), most people unwittingly consume fermented food every day, from sourdough bread to yogurt, olives, or even hot sauce. Learn how to harness safely the hitherto unwanted kitchen guests of mold, bacteria, and fungus for a surprisingly appetizing and healthy cuisine from across the globe on page 98.
Whatever your family history and heritage, we wish you a very festive (and traditional!) October.