The Virginia Culinary Thymes is a newsletter devoted to promoting the Culinary History Collection. A part of Peacock Harper Culinary Collection.

 This newsletter is devoted to promoting the Culinary History Collection, through access to unique information resources and preserving culinary history. Housed in Special Collections at Virginia Tech's Newman Library, the Culinary History Collection began with the initial donations of Dora Greenlaw Peacock's and Laura Jane Harper's books.

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The news pages offers links to all the areas of the Peacock Harper Culinary Collection.

 Spring 2005:08
Slow Food, Italian-American Cooking Myths, Invitation to Outreach, Vanilla.

 Winter 2005:07
Understanding Women's Lives, Julia Child, Florence Nightingale's Influence, Real Life Kitchen Design, Vegetables Add Variety, and Book Reviews.

 Summer 2004:06
WWII Foods, additions to the collection, contributors to our culinary history & more.

 Winter 2004:05
Thanksgiving foods, Center for Real Life Kitchen Design, rare books & more.

 Spring 2004:04
Culinary Food History - Greens, Special Features: Student Papers & more.

 Summer 2002:03
Mary Randolph, Hertzler Culinary History Prize, Chef's Challenge Report & more.

 Winter 2001:02
Janet Lowe Cameron, Old Virginia Recipes, Rosemary & more.

 Spring 2001:01
Dora Greelaw Peacock & Laura Jane Harper, Culinary Thyme, Old Virginia Recipes, Studying Food in Culture, Dr. Markham Peacock & more.

Issue #8, Spring 2005   Edited by Caryl Gray
Fast Food or Slow Food?
Members of my generation can remember when it was a treat to go to McDonalds; that was before there was a fast food restaurant on every corner. These restaurants moved hamburgers from an infrequently consumed food (For me, hamburgers were a part of the annual family outing to a state park where my uncle cooked the burgers on an outdoor fireplace.) to something that was available every day. French fries were even more of a treat as the potatoes we grew were not well suited for making them. We did try occasionally but they didn't measure up... Read More...
Now THAT'S...Italian-American: Italian-American Cooking Myths and Realities
... The food that we in the United States think of as Italian food tends, like all "Italian" food, to be rooted in regionalism. Just as there really is no Italian cooking per se, there is really no Italian-American cooking, but rather recipes derived from the same culinary regionalism that divides Italy to this day. ... Read more...
Invitation for Outreach

"Riding The Rails to The Star City" was the theme for the 2005 Southeast Regional Conference of the American Culinary Federation, the professional organization for executive chefs. The conference was held at Hotel Roanoke March 10-13 with the Southwest Virginia Chapter as host. Executive Chef Billie Raper was Chairman of the Conference and Charlie Chang, Executive Chef and Roanoke Restaurant owner, was President of the Southwest Virginia Chapter, ACF.

The Peacock-Harper Culinary History Committee was invited to present an educational program and to exhibit at the Trade Show. Mary Rapaport presented the educational program, "Through the Centuries in an Eggshell." She presented an eye-opening overview of how people through the years handled, stored, prepared, and enjoyed eggs. Mary demonstrated a two hundred year old recipe, which she discovered as she researched the books in the Peacock-Harper Collection. She also displayed a century of egg ephemera (brochures, booklets). Jean Robbins introduced the program with a history of the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Committee. Committee brochures were distributed at this meeting.

On the second day of the Conference, members of the Peacock-Harper committee participated in the Trade Show with an exhibit. Members who assisted were: Preparation—Jo Anne Barton, Gail McMillan, and Joyce Nester; Exhibit—Sandy Bosworth, Chair, Polly Holloway, JoAnn Emmel, Maxine Fraade, and Jean Robbins. The members had an opportunity to talk to many visitors including chefs from eleven states.

A highlight for Peacock-Harper members at the Conference was meeting Shirley Corriher, author, column writer, and lecturer, who displayed her cookbook, "CookWise", which received the James Beard Awards winner of Best Reference and Technique Book of 1997. Ms Corriher was the Keynote Speaker for the conference.

Participating in this meeting was a great outreach for the Peacock-Harper Culinary History Committee. Many more people know about the Virginia Tech Collection! And we did receive promises of donated books! Our appreciation is extended to Executive Chef Billie Raper for the opportunity to be included at this outstanding conference.

Vanilla: the Cultural History of the World's Most Popular Flavor and Fragrance

This is a beautiful book and one that you will enjoy reading in your garden or in front of a cozy fire. The book reads like a good novel. Patricia Rain writes about the diverse impact of vanilla on food, medicine, and politics. She also includes wonderful recipes.

The cover introduction it states that "the Spanish considered vanilla the ultimate aphrodisiac, the Totanac Indians called it the fruit of the gods, and the Aztecs taxed the Totonacs in vanilla beans and used the beans as currency. Today, vanilla is in our coffee, tea, perfumes, lotions, medicines, and more."

The tribes in central Mexico to Costa Rica were the first ones to incorporate vanilla into their lives. Possibly around 2,000 to 2,500 years before the Spanish conquest of Mexico in 1520.

Vanilla had sacred and religious connotations (a gift from the gods) and it was treated with reverence and considered a sacramental herb. During the late 1500's its name was changed from tlilxochitl (name in the Nahuatl language) to vanilla which meant "little scabbard". The name describes its appearance which is similar to the covering for swords.

"Until the beginning of the seventeenth Century, vanilla in Europe was considered a flavoring for chocolate.

Some recipes included in the book are:
Old-fashioned French Vanilla ice cream; Vanilla Wafers; Chipotle-Vanilla Salsa and BBQ Sauce; Moroccan Orange salad; Rice Cream; and the Perfect Vanilla Cream Soda

Vanilla: the Cultural History of the World's Most Popular Flavor and Fragrance is available in Special Collections (SB 307 V2 R25 2004) and is part of the Culinary Collection.

We value our history...
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