Tootsie Altman's family moved to Pawleys Island in 1935. She is the 4th youngest child of John and Annie Altman's 11 children. She married Newt Watkins in 1948 and raised her own family at Pawleys. Along with their 3 children, Bucky, Glenn and Lynne, they fostered a host of others who needed a hot meal and a place to stay. She has 4 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren. Her daughter Lynne and granddaughter Mariah have taken over "Papa Newt's" duties of helping in the kitchen.
Some of Tootsie's fondest memories are of fishing in the creeks of Pawleys and North Inlet with her siblings and in those creeks she taught her family to do the same. Living off of the land and saltwater creeks was a way of life and seafood was bountiful.
Tootsie attended primary school in Pawleys' one room school house before graduating from Winyah High School in Georgetown. That one room school house has been relocated, restored and gifted to Christ the King Church where Tootsie is an original member. It stands adjacent to the property where she and Newt lived until 1986.
As a young woman she started working for Mrs. Mamie Dingle at the Tip Top Inn waiting tables and continued that job for 30 memorable summers. She and Newt moved to Highway 17 next door to her Mama and brothers in 1954 after Hurricane Hazel destroyed their home on the island. Later they opened an ABC store and a small restaurant, the Party Shop. The Party Shop was renowned for the best hotdogs, barbeque sandwiches and conversation to be found at Pawleys, made even more enjoyable with an iced down beer from the claw foot bathtub. It didn't take long for word to spread that she was the best cook around and soon her popular catering business was booming.
With all of this experience, she built a reputation as a caterer with a flair for traditional Lowcountry food. Her charm, quick wit, generosity and culinary skills have endeared her to generations of families. This cookbook is a culmination of a lifetime of experiences of catching, growing, preparing and serving her unique cuisine to family and friends. Her paintings were inspired by her memories of growing up at Pawleys Island.
When she's not in the kitchen preparing her original Pawleys Island cuisine she's busy shell crafting with Lynne and Mariah, but her love of people, cooking and sharing her "Pawleys Island Cookin'" remains her lifelong passion.