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The Colonial Williamsburg Tavern Cookbook Hardcover – March 20, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (March 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609602861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609602867
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #459,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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: Traditional and Contemporary Recipes from the 1970s, 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.
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The reason I gave this 4 stars is that not all of the dishes are photographed and not all the photographs match the directions in the dish. I have tried a few of the recipes and have found them tasty, though I question the accuracy of some of the measurements. I was also wanting reference to a historically correct recipe along with the modernized version (there are some references just not as much as I wanted).
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The meals were well defined and instructions precise. There were suggestions for side dishes to accompany the described recipe.
Most of the ingredients were available in most food stores. Pictures showed presentation and preparation methods.
I would recommend these recipes for the experienced cook familiar with cooking from scratch ingredients.
Anyone who has visited Williamsburg, VA or would like to, would very much enjoy this cookbook.
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This recipe book is great. After visiting Colonial Williamsburg, I feel in love with the tavern food and was anxious to make some of my own. This book has all the great recipes, I have made several already and they were easy and very enjoyable.
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Wondeful cookbook with historical notes included. Good recipes and good reading. My only concern is that I'm pretty sure that the Hoppin'John recipe used at Christiana Campbell's Tavern has another ingredient... maybe sausage or something?
Nice reminder of our time in Williamsburg.
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I have been to Colonial Williamsburg and eaten at a couple of the establishments there. Kind of similar to City Tavern in Philadelphia. . . .

As introductory comments in this book say (Page 12): "Colonial Williamsburg's operating taverns--Christiana Campbell's, Chowning's, the King's Arms, and Shields--re-create the tastes, smells, and sounds that eighteenth-century visitors to Williamsburg and townspeople experienced. Visitors sample foods suggestive of the past but that suit modern appetites." So, we this cookbook doesn't reproduce foods exactly as they were served at these taverns. Nonetheless, the recipes are certainly evocative of the era and make for interesting reading (and I have already identified several recipes that I want to use). The book begins by discussing each of the taverns mentioned above.

The first set of recipes focus on appetizers and first courses. A typical dish is Chicken stock, featuring thyme, parsley, bay leaf, peppercorns, celery ribs, carrots, onions, leeks, chicken parts and salt. Soups? One recipe that interested me was King's Arms Tavern Cream of Peanut Soup. For a Constitution Day event at Penn State Harrisburg, a caterer prepared dishes from the Revolutionary era--one of which was peanut soup. It was delicious. So I want to fix a batch of this dish--featuring butter, onion, celery ribs, flour, chicken stock, peanut butter, light cream, and chopped salt peanuts for garnish. Seems doable--and looks like it would taste good!

Salads, dressings, and condiments comprise another section of this cookbook. There is Christiana Campbell's Tavern Crabmeat Salad, Shields Tavern Salmagundi, and Christiana Campbell's Tavern Slaw. Egg, cheese, and vegetarian dishes. . . . Egg and onion pie looks tempting to me.
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