Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook

Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook

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by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Charles Pierce

The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook

Every year, millions of people visit Colonial Williamsburg's re-creation of eighteenth-century America for the ambience, the education, and the unparalleled experience of glimpsing our prerevolutionary past.

Williamsburg's fascinating form of time travel encompasses not only the architecture and the artisans, but all


The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook

Every year, millions of people visit Colonial Williamsburg's re-creation of eighteenth-century America for the ambience, the education, and the unparalleled experience of glimpsing our prerevolutionary past.

Williamsburg's fascinating form of time travel encompasses not only the architecture and the artisans, but all the details of our rich cultural heritage, including the food. And The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook presents that food, our nation's culinary heritage: from stews and slaws and soups to puddings and pies and pot pies—nearly 200 recipes in all. Focusing on Williamsburg's Southern roots and coastal proximity, the dishes owe their inspiration to the distant past, but their preparations have been tailored for contemporary palates—no need to run out and get some suet in which to cook your mutton over the open hearth.

Here are perennial standbys such as Brunswick Stew, Standing Rib Roast with Yorkshire Pudding, Virginia Ham with Brandied Peaches, and Cream of Peanut Soup, as well as Spoon Bread, Lemon Chess Pie, and Mulled Apple Cider. There are also unexpected twists on age-old favorites, such as Oyster Po' Boys with Tarragon Mayonnaise, Oven-Braised Gingered Pot Roast, and Carrot Pudding Spiced with Cardamom.

Just as the historic town of Colonial Williamsburg is a singular adventure in understanding our nation's history, so too this cookbook is a unique appreciation of our culinary history. In April 1772, George Washington, writing about one of the taverns in Williamsburg, noted, "Dined at Mrs. Campbells and went to the Play—then to Mrs. Campbells again" —twice in a single week. The hearty fare that George found so enticing is enjoying a profound renaissance, and The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook will enable home cooks to relive the great American culinary tradition—the ultimate in comfort food.

Editorial Reviews

Millions of us go to Colonial Williamsburg to sample real American flavor. We walk the cobbled streets; we browse the old-fashioned shops; and we gobble up hearty meals at Williamsburg’s taverns. This cookbook, which covers every course from soup to dessert, collects the best dishes of Williamsburg -- from the famous Cream of Watercress Soup to Three-Bean Relish and Virginia Ham with Brandied Peaches. But it also sets those dishes in the context of America’s history, so we understand how American cuisine and American cooking styles have grown. With rich essays and richer meals, John Gonzales and Charles Pierce show us how delicious history can be.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
John R. Gonzales, former executive chef of the four operating taverns at Colonial Williamsburg, and food editor Charles Pierce offer a winning companion to the Williamsburg Cookbook, which has sold a million copies since it was published in 1971. Their Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook presents nearly 200 recipes including vegetarian dishes based on America's Southern and coastal 18th-century culinary heritage, updated for the modern cook. Clearly explained recipes (from appetizers to ice creams) sit alongside glimpses of history, offering a perfect gift for the reader or cook inspired to re-create a taste of America's past. 70 color photos. ( Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The Williamsburg Cookbook, originally published in 1971, has sold more than one million copies, so this follow-up has a large ready-made audience. It includes 200 recipes for the traditional food served at The King's Arm Tavern and three other Williamsburg taverns, from She-Crab Soup to Virginia Ham to the famous Sally Lunn Bread, along with color photographs of many of the dishes, as well as scenic Williamsburg spots. For area libraries and others where regional/historic cookbooks are popular. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
With recipes developed by John R. Gonzales, The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook brings the flavors and aromas of colonial Williamsburg's four taverns (Christiana Campbell's, Chowning's, the King's Arms, and Shield") and traditional cuisines to the modern family dining table. From Meat Patties in Crust; Celery Root Slaw; and Pot Likker Greens with Dumplings; to Broiled Bluefish with Whole-Grain Mustard Sauce; Yorkshire Pudding; and Buttermilk Pie, The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook offers two hundred wonderfully presented, highly recommended recipes which, while modified for the modern palate, owe their inspiration to our colonial history.

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Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony
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7.23(w) x 9.72(h) x 0.23(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chowning’s Tavern Brunswick Stew


The argument will never be settled as to whether this tasty dish cane from Brunswick County, Virginia; Brunswick, Georgia; or Brunswick County, North Carolina, although Virginia's claim is the best documented The recipe is now made with stewed chicken, corn, lima beans, and tomatoes and omits the squirrel, which was originally used
2 chickens (about 3 pounds each), cut into 6 or 8 pieces
4-5 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped, or 2 (19-ounce) cans, drained, seeded, and chopped
4 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
3 medium all purpose potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 large onions, thinly sliced
2 caps fresh or frozen lima beans
2 cups fresh or frozen sliced okra
1 tablespoon salt, or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
1 teaspoon sugar, or to taste

In a large pot, place the chickens and add enough water to cover, 2-3 quarts. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, until the chicken is falling off the bones and the broth is well flavored, 2-3 hours. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the chicken to a bowl and cool.

Skim the broth. Add the tomatoes, corn, potatoes, onions, lima beans, and okra. Season with the salt, pepper, and sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook, stirring often, until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, pull the chicken off the bones. Add the chicken to the vegetables and taste the stew for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper, or sugar as desired, Serve hot in warmed bowls.

"Southern Cooks prize okra for its distinctive flavor and texture. The vegetable cam to the New World from Africa via the slave trade."

Meet the Author

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, a nonprofit educational organization, directs the ongoing restoration of Virginia's colonial capital so that "the future may learn from the past."

John R. Gonzales recently served as executive chef of the four operating taverns at Colonial Williamsburg, and is currently a consultant for the Virginia Food Service Group in Richmond. He lives in Williamsburg.

Food writer and editor Charles Pierce was trained at the famed La Varenne cooking school in Paris. He is the author of several cookbooks, including Southern Light Cooking and Beach House Cooking, as well as project editor of The Revised Settlement Cookbook. Charles has contributed to Food & Wine, House Beautiful, Fine Cooking, Country Home, and Glamour, among many magazines. He lives in New York City and Sag Harbor, New York.

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Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Veggiechiliqueen More than 1 year ago
When I was in elementary school, we would drive 800 miles to Colonial Williamsburg for spring break every year. I fell in love with the 18th-century costumes, architecture, ornate silverwork, and Baroque music. We dined at several of Colonial Williamsburg's taverns: Shields, King's Arms, and Christiana Campbell's. My mom has a first-edition copy of The Williamsburg Cookbook, which I would pore over for hours, soaking up the line art and gross-sounding recipes (turtle soup! calf's head!). The only recipe she ever made regularly was the Bourbon Balls (although she had also tried the cream of peanut soup and the chicken and dumplings). So when I saw that there was a new edition, "The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook," I was interested to see how the book stacked up against its predecessor. The first (and most obvious) difference is the color photos, both of finished dishes and of Colonial Williamsburg itself (the original Colonial Williamsburg cookbook was sorely lacking in photographs, and was illustrated with line art). The book opens with a brief discussion of colonial dining habits and "Tavern of Colonial Williamsburg Today" (circa 2001) before launching into appetizers, many of which prominently feature Virginia ham (melon balls, biscuits) and seafood (smoked trout, crabmeat, shrimp). Similarly, "Soups" also owes a debt to seafood, including chowders, crayfish soup, crab soup, and oyster bisque, with the occasional peanut, bean, or pea soup. The Kings Arms Tavern Cream of Peanut Soup was also featured in the original cookbook and in a flyer handed out in Colonial Williamsburg; it was one of my family's favorites during our visits to Williamsburg, and the home version tastes every bit as good as the original. The texture is almost like a thick gravy, made by softening vegetables in stock, then straining the mixture and mixing in smooth peanut butter and cream over low heat. In fact, many of the recipes in the Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook are taken verbatim from the first edition, right down to the sidebars. Many of the dishes are identical: King's Arms Tavern chicken pot pie, Chowning's Tavern Brunswick stew, Sally Lunn bread, and tenderloin of beef stuffed with oysters, for example. Others have been updated for the better: the bourbon balls now call for melted chocolate in place of cocoa, and have doubled the bourbon (the original called for a scant ¼ cup). The Shields Tavern carrot pudding spiced with cardamom has swapped cardamom for the original nutmeg, ditched the cream sherry and halved the sugar. The most striking addition to this new version is the number of vegetarian-friendly vegetable and egg dishes, including grilled polenta, carrots glazed with two gingers, bean and corn succotash, mushrooms in cream sauce, and spinach pie. Southern staples such as grits and pickled watermelon rind also make appearances. The most noticeable absence is the lack of any nutritional information about the included recipes; no statistics on calories, fat, sugar or sodium are to be found. Like their forebears, these recipes are quite generous with butter, cream and shortening at times. Also, some of the ingredients may not be readily available in your area (fresh rabbit, scuppernong wine, chutney, cardamom, arrowroot). Overall, this is a worthy souvenir for those who have dined at one of Colonial Williamsburg's taverns or those who collect cookbooks.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago