Amazing food, great fun, rich people—some things are just timeless. When traditional, delicious Charleston dishes, the game F#@k, Marry, Kill, and the cast of Bravo’s reality show Southern Charm collide, this trinity soars to awesome new heights.
The game F#@k, Marry, Kill requires players to select from a given pool the person they’d wed, murder, or bed; it really only works if the choices are either incredibly amazing or totally gross. Because the show (now filming Season 3) chronicles the lives of some of the Holy City’s oldest, richest, and most influential families, the supremely privileged Southern Charm cast members are perfectly suited for this game. Because Charleston is renowned for its food—and making these decisions is taxing enough to warrant some good grub—it’s only natural to pair authentic Charleston eats with each hypothetical, yet crucial, decision.
The Men: Shep. Sure, every man on the show is rich—but only one of them comes from a family so exclusive and powerful that the state dog of South Carolina, the Boykin spaniel, is named after them. The most relatable, least pretentious, and most fun-loving guy on the show, Shep is also highly likable and easy on the eyes. This, combined with his inability or unwillingness to commit to much of anything other than drinking and the pursuit of women and leisure, makes Shep the obvious male choice for a shag.
The perfect post-coital meal for Shep would be the Low Country Chicken Bog. Less widely known than the low country boil, this South Carolina dish is a delicious blend of fresh shrimp, smoked sausages, chicken breast, spices, and rice. It’s perfect for the most easy-going, yet still blue-blooded, guy on the show.
The Women: Kathryn. Stunning yet temperamental, it would likely be hard to build and maintain the trust necessary for a marriage with Kathryn (seeing as how she spent the majority of season one openly lying to everyone, including her paramour and soon-to-be baby daddy Thomas, about her tryst with his best friend Whitney). Even when it’s misguided by alcohol or the naïveté of youth, I admire her drive and backbone too much to murder her. Hands down, Kathryn would have a temporary spot in my bed.
Kathryn’s vampy good looks and shrewd ambition to lock Thomas down make her seem sexy and a bit dangerous, like a black widow spider. Because crabs are the spiders of the sea and She Crab Soup is a (strangely sexy sounding) silky, luscious classic Charleston dish, it’s only apropos to enjoy it after a night spent between the sheets with Kathryn.
The Men: Whitney. A man who looks precisely like the lovechild of Jimmy Fallon and Jason Bateman, Whitney lives with his mother, Patricia—a fact that would normally deter a woman from marriage, but in this case earns him the win. Utterly fabulous, her nail and caftan game is on point. She routinely demands a perfect martini (her “medicine”) and she has a soft spot for rescued animals. As for Whitney himself, he has a penchant for classic rock band t-shirts, he collects guitars (and can shred the hell out of them), and he made a semi-successful documentary film on Halston. These were all tempting me, but I knew he was my would-be life mate when I saw him onscreen pole-dancing for an instant as he sang “Lay It Down” by Ratt. When he obscurely likened Thomas’ campaign manager to Sandy Duncan, he sealed the deal for me.
Charleston has an abundance of fabulous seafood, and natives swear that their oysters are the most delicious on earth. While they’re certainly eaten raw, a South Carolina Oyster Roast is more traditional. A roast is only natural for this family, too, given that both mother and son elegantly roast their peers. And because every wedding needs libations, we’d have a blast getting blitzed on one of the city’s oldest, most potent drinks: the Charleston Light Dragoon Punch. Essentially sweet tea with lemons, multiple flavors of brandy, rum, and soda water, it sounds sublime—and traditionally bourgeois enough that even Patricia would approve.
The Women: Cameran. Not only is she beautiful, funny, and smart, she’s down to earth and loves to eat and drink beer. No wonder she’s known as “one of the guys.” When her mouth isn’t full of food, she speaks directly and to the point, and litters conversations with words like “turds.” She loves Vienna sausages and their juice, which is disgusting, but refreshingly lowbrow.
To celebrate our super casual wedding, we’d nosh on delicious Charleston Shrimp and Grits. Creamy, humble grits blended with butter and cheddar and topped with a luscious gravy made from scallions, hot sauce, bacon, garlic, and peppers. A dish nearly perfect as-is, but becomes divine when topped with fresh, succulent shrimp. A slice or two of decadent tomato pie and lots of ice-cold beer would round out the matrimonial meal perfectly.
The Men: Thomas. The uber-pretentious, failed politician/ex-felon, and womanizing Thomas is utterly disgusting. He dabbles in French lessons so he can better understand his family’s genealogical native tongue. He has the audacity to have a dinner party so that he can impart “life advice” to his guests. He was swayed to begin dating—and later impregnating—Kathryn, “the scion of two of South Carolina’s most powerful families,” because he thought it would make him more appealing politically. He then knocked her up, left her home alone with their baby while he pursued political aspirations, and forgot to thank her for her support at a public function only to ultimately break up with her on Facebook. Oh, and he’s 29 years her senior.
To satiate the enormous hunger I’d work up murdering Thomas, I’d enjoy a heaping piece of one of Charleston’s most famous desserts, Huguenot Torte. Full of apples and pecans, it’s the perfect and sweet celebration of the end of the man who drones on about the (self) importance of his French Huguenot heritage.
The Women: Landon. Season one’s Jenna was replaced with Landon, whom I chose because she represents the present, if not the future, cast. Choosing Landon is similar to my exclusion of Craig among the aforementioned male cast members—I’m as ambivalent about him as he is about his law career—and I am nearly as ambivalent about her. A recent divorcée who lives on a boat with her dog, Landon is rebuilding her life, and being very nice in the process. She’s sweet to a fault. Even when Kathryn yells at her at a party, Landon takes it in stride. Because I don’t want to f#@k or marry her, that only leaves murder. Sorry, Landon, it’s the rules. Don’t hate the player; hate the game.
To refuel after Landon’s untimely hypothetical demise, the only fitting treat is a good, old-fashioned Southern praline. Rich, delicious, universally likeable, yet cloyingly sweet, it seems to suit Landon insofar as it is best enjoyed in limited doses. It’s also perfect because pralines, like Landon, sweeten any occasion.
Regardless of what side of the tracks you come from, we can all live fuller lives by following the cast’s lead: maximize fun, make the most of life, and indulge in great food, drink, and people.
A bona fide country girl, Brook Bolen is the redheaded, Southern, femme, vegan, gentile version of Larry David. She is routinely surprised to find more people don’t count cornbread and beans as their favorite food and lives in the heart of the Dirty South with her handsome husband, sweet pitbull son, and magical toddler daughter.
Images via Bravo