A Tradition with Taste
The original Brunswick Stew, according to Brunswick County historians, was created in 1828 by a black chef, Uncle Jimmy Matthews. As the story goes, Dr. Creed Haskings, of Mount Donum on the Nottoway River and a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years, took several friends on a hunting expedition. While the group hunted, Jimmy Matthews, Dr. Haskinís camp cook, hunted squirrel for the evening meal. Matthews slowly stewed the squirrels with butter, onions, stale bread and seasoning in a large iron pot. When the hunting party returned they were reluctant to try the new, thick concoction but, one taste convinced them to ask for more.
Since that time, Brunswick Stew has been prepared by many different stew masters and they continue to produce large batches of the Virginia ambrosia for church functions, local fund raisers, family reunions, and political rallies. While Jimmy Matthews recipe for Brunswick Stew has varied through the years - chicken has been substituted for squirrel and vegetables have been added - the exceptional taste and commitment to quality has never been lost.
During 1987, the Brunswick Industrial Development Commission, a committee of the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, with the aid of a professional advertising agency, began an active program to develop balanced economic growth in Brunswick County. It was agreed that the Countyís home-grown, home-made, home-stirred Brunswick Stew was a natural entry into the minds of the public. Capitalizing on its culinary history, on February 22, 1988, at the State Capitol in Richmond, Brunswick County officially kicked off a campaign to increase awareness of its economic development opportunities. The Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and the County of Brunswick hosted a Brunswick Stew-Fest on the Capitol grounds to celebrate the General Assemblyís passing of the resolution, proclaiming Brunswick County, Virginia, as The Original Home of Brunswick Stew.