Patricia Mitchell began foodwriting as a contributor to The Community Standard magazine in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the early 1970's. After she and her husband Henry returned to their hometown of Chatham, Virginia, in 1975, Patricia put her writing on the "back burner" while restoring an old home (the Sims-Mitchell House, which the Mitchells operated as a bed and breakfast for over twenty years). In 1986, requests from B&B guests helped motivate Patricia to compile some of her recipes into book form. In a providential turn of events, a visiting museum director asked to purchase some of the little books for resale in his museum's shop. Soon a re-order came, with suggestions for an even greater emphasis on food history.
Over a hundred titles later, Patricia and her FoodHistory.com enterprise have sold over three-quarters of a million copies at museums, historic sites, bookstores, and shops throughout the United States and internationally.
Poring through diaries, letters, microfilmed records, and mountains of old books, Patricia spends endless enjoyable hours in her search for clues to Americans' eating habits and cooking techniques of years gone by.