‘The Smithfield Cookbook’ is back

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Every cook knows that a good recipe stands the test of time.

The Isle of Wight County Museum Foundation is making sure some of the best Smithfield recipes are preserved. “The Smithfield Cookbook: 350 Years of Dining Traditions from Smithfield and Isle of Wight County, Virginia,” originally published in 1978 by the Junior Woman’s Club of Smithfield, has been reprinted with copies available for $21.95 each at the museum, 103 Main St. in Smithfield.

The Junior Woman’s Club spent two years compiling recipes before publication. In addition to tasty or interesting recipes, the cookbook, with its multiple illustrations, offers history on hog killings, court day, local structures and more.  

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” ‘The Smithfield Cookbook’ is as much a compilation of tasty recipes as it is a history of Isle of Wight County,” said Jennifer England, museum director. “We are so pleased that this book is back in print.”

Some of its most popular recipe titles are Smithfield Ham and Crab Casserole, Lung Relish, Sweet Pickled Pears, Tipsy Cake and Dandelion Wine. 

The book was edited by Caroline Darden Hurt with co-editor Joan Hundley Powell. There have been several reprints over the years after the original sold 8,000 copies in two years.

The current reprinting is the first in a decade.

In conjunction with “The Smithfield Cookbook” reprinting, the Isle of Wight County Museum has scheduled two lectures on the history of cookbooks during Cookbook Month in October: at 2 p.m. Oct. 7 at the museum and 12:30 p.m. Oct. 26 at the Windsor Town Center, 23361 Courthouse Highway.

The lecture will highlight cookbook history as well as their influence on history, manners and nutrition over the years. The first recorded cookbook is said to be four clay tablets from 1700 BCE in Ancient Mesopotamia.