North Carolina People, Places, and Things-August 1
I am the dad to five adult children. As they were growing up I attempted to remind them they were special and to implore them to learn something new. My goal was to do that daily.
In 2016 my goal is to learn something new daily on the people, places, and things that make North Carolina special. Everyday this year I am doing a post on what I have learned new.
In the summer the number of visitors to North and South Carolina beaches booms. These visitors often find themselves looking for a local seafood restaurant. Often times they are confronted with a menu order of “Calabash Style Seafood”.
So how did that name come about. Type Calabash into Google and you get lot’s of info. It appears that it may be a combination of myth and fact.
The facts. Calabash is actually a town in North Carolina.
Pea Landing was a thriving coastal trading center and fishing village in the early 1800s, built around Hickory Hall Plantation by the Samuel Frink family.
So how did it gets it name. One explanation is below.
The calabash is a gourd that was commonly used as a ladle. There were so many wells with drinking gourds around them that the area (Pea Landing) became known as Calabash. The post office began officially recognizing the name in 1883.
Example of gourd made into a water vessel.
Another explanation I found stated that many say Calabash was chosen because of the gourd-like shape of the Calabash River. So not sure what is true on name origin.
In the 1930’s in Calabash, NC the Beck family and the Coleman family started fish camp style restaurants. The Beck and Coleman families have their own version over which was the first, but make no mistake…it’s a family thing. The women of these families, Ruth Beck and Lucy Coleman, were sisters and there’s no argument that this family began the tradition of the Calabash Seafood Restaurant.
It was there (either Beck’s or Coleman’s) that Calabash style seafood was born when they started frying the fish and shrimp and fish in cornmeal batter.
The popularity of this style spread rapidly and there have been dozens of restaurants opened featuring Calabash-style seafood cooking in Calabash alone.