Food and Community is an exploration of the meanings food has for us as members of communities and cultures. Food is central to our understandings of ourselves, our identities. It’s at the center of all the major events of our lives–from birth through death, food brings us home and reminds us of who we are.
This project explores foods and food practices throughout Virginia that are both traditional and innovative: foods that were tied to the land in times past and are still found on our tables, as well as foods integral to those who have arrived in Virginia more recently.
We invite you to discover a few of the people and places VFH has encountered in doing our work. Food and Community is made possible with a grant from Smithfield Foods Inc.Full Screen Map
Food and Community
Arlington Food MemoriesArlington County is the smallest county in Virginia geographically, but it may be the most diverse. Its Columbia Pike region has been called “the world in a zip code.” Close to 30 percent of its residents are foreign-born, and its Latino population has increased a startling 98 percent since 2000.
Country Ham CuringThere is probably no other traditional food more associated with Southwest Virginia than country ham. Unlike the more commonly known wet-cured ham, which is soaked in brine or injected with a salt solution, country ham is dry-cured and aged over a much longer period.
Fried Apple PiesKnown as “Fried Apple Pies,” “Dried Apple Pies,” or even “Fried Dried Apple Pies,” these locally made pies seem to have a ubiquitous presence throughout Southwest Virginia, appearing on the counters and shelves of country stores, gas stations, and community festivals.
Brunswick StewWhat began, according to area legend, as a communal meal prepared for a hunting expedition on the banks of the Nottoway River in 1828, the cooking of Brunswick stew has evolved into a time-honored tradition—a staple at community gatherings, a source of regional pride, the focus of spirited competition, and a true Virginia culinary art.