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Cookin’ for the Big House

February 16 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Dr. Kelley Deetz, Director of Programming, Education, and Visitor Engagement at Stratford Hall, will present a program on Virginia’s enslaved cooks, which will include a lecture in the duPont Library, book signing, and tour of Stratford’s historic kitchen–an eighteenth-century outbuilding.

Drawing extensively from her critically acclaimed book, Bound to the Fire: How Virginia’s Enslaved Cooks Helped Invent American Cuisine, Dr. Deetz offers a wide-ranging interdisciplinary examination of Virginia’s enslaved plantation cooks seeking to advance our understanding of their contributions to Virginia’s rich cultural traditions. By examining the archaeological record, material culture, cultural landscapes, folklore, written records and racialized and gendered spaces, the lecture seeks to uncover the hidden voices of the men and women who cooked for their enslavers.

Enslaved cooks were highly skilled, trained and professional, creating meals that made Virginia known for her cuisine and hospitality. They were at the core of the Virginia’s domesticity and culinary pride as well as the center of the plantation community. Archaeological and historical records reveal the centrality of the cook’s role, and the material culture exemplifies how cooks created a black landscape within a white world and were able to share this unique space with the large enslaved population.

Make a point to learn from these hidden voices of the enslaved.

Tickets for this special event are $20 per person. Please register for this program by contacting Jon Bachman at JBachman@StratfordHall.org or 804-493-1972.


February 16
10:00 am - 12:00 pm


Stratford Hall
483 Great House Road
Stratford, VA 22558 United States

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