The William Hilton Inn, named after a British sea captain who explored the waters off of the Carolinas in the 17th century, opened on Hilton Head Island, SC, in 1959, just in time to help usher in the development of the island from an isolated timber-producing barrier island into the resort destination that it is today. In those early days, the William Hilton Inn was the social focal point of a small local community -- community theater productions and local government bodies alike made it their headquarters -- and a destination for tourists who wanted to revel in the South Carolina sea islands in an virtually unspoiled state. The William Hilton Inn also offered spectacularly good food cooked in the authentic Lowcountry tradition. The hotel is long gone now. It was not related to the Hilton hotel chain but was eventually overshadowed and crowded out by the large corporations that dominate the U.S. hotel industry. Here is a recipe for "fried" chicken that we believe to be authentic and from that now-vanished hotel. While it is called "fried," it is actually sautéed and baked, and served with a savory sauce on the side.
Take a chicken split into parts, season it with salt and pepper, sprinkle it with cream and rub it with flour.
Saute the chicken in butter in a large pan until it has browned thoroughly on both sides, then finish cooking it in a slow oven for at least 30 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, leaving the juice in the pan. Add 1/2 pint of cream to the pan and one soupspoon of maple syrup, stir and let boil for a few minutes, then strain the sauce. Serve the sauce separately on the side. Arrange chicken on a platter on crisp waffles and Virginia ham, and garnish with rings of candied sweet potatoes and bananas.
SouthernAirs developed some of these recipes, aiming as always for authenticity. Others are on loan from cited friends and relatives, or from authoritative sources with permission.