Historic cooking seminar to be held at Virginia Tech

Chairman Cynthia D. Bertelsen has announced that a seminar on historic cooking in Virginia will be held April 20-21, 2007 at the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg, Virginia. The event is titled "From Jamestown to the Blue Ridge: Cooking up 400 Years of Culinary History in Virginia."

Bertelsen writes:

Sponsored by the Peacock Harper Culinary History Collection Committee,* [It] offers a unique opportunity to learn how food affected the lives of early settlers in our new country. The Symposium celebrates the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Topics will cover food rationing during the Civil War, Jefferson's introduction of French cuisine at Monticello, the English influence on early Virginia cookbooks, methods of hearth cooking, and the challenges of slave cookery, to name just a few. Some of America's foremost historians and nationally known authors specializing in the culinary history aspects of our society will share their expertise during the two-day event. Famed Civil war historian James I. Robertson, Jr. and poet Nikki Giovanni will join food historians Barbara Haber and John Egerton in discussing America's early food history, along with several other speakers, including Leni Sorensen, the specialist in African-American history at Monticello.

Save the date and plan to spend a day or two in historic Virginia, immersed in the history of food in the early days of the colonial South. Experience the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains during springtime. Enjoy a tour of Historic Smithfield Plantation (www.smithfieldplantation.org). Explore the Special Collections section at the Newman Library at Virginia Tech, which houses the Southeast's largest collection of historic cookbooks and ephemera. Eat historic foods inspired by authentic colonial recipes. Celebrate food history. Taste glorious Virginia wines. And in doing so, commemorate "the journey that changed the world."

*The Peacock Harper Culinary History Collection Committee was founded in 1999. Its purpose is to gather and maintain a collection of historic cookbooks, manuscripts and ephemera, housed in the Special Collections section at Newman Library on the Virginia Tech campus. Cataloging and digitizing the growing collection for worldwide access is an ongoing focus of the committee. See attachment with more information on the Collection.

This symposium is the only such food-related event being held during this year commemorating the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, and hence the United States. The Web site for the symposium can be seen by clicking "original article" We also have a registration brochure for those who prefer to register offline.

Hope to see many of you here in Blacksburg in April.

Cynthia D. Bertelsen
Chair, "From Jamestown to the Blue Ridge: Cooking up 400 Years of Culinary History in Virginia"