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October and Archives Month are finally here! This year’s theme, “Homegrown: Celebrating Virginia’s Cultural Heritage in its Archives and Special Collections,” celebrates the diverse culture in the commonwealth—agriculture, viticulture, horticulture, food culture, and even film culture. During Archives Month 2013, Virginia’s archives and special collections repositories will highlight the historical records, photographs, and moving images that document the commonwealth’s many traditions. Archives Month is a great time to attend an event or to explore your Virginia history by discovering an archives collection near you. For more information on repositories and events in your area, check out the Virginia Archives Month 2013 website.

The Library of Virginia is participating in “Homegrown: Celebrating Virginia’s Cultural Heritage” with a unique event bringing together food-culture historians—the modern interpreters of historical foodways—and local food-movement advocates: practitioners, growers, and promoters of regional food and beverages.

Homegrown: Celebrating Virginia's Cultural Heritage in its Archives and Special Collections official poster for Archives Month 2013.

Enjoy a Virginia open house with tastings, literature, and a chance to talk with the specialists on Wednesday, 30 October, from 6­­–8:30 p.m. Virginia products and books will be for sale and related items from the Library of Virginia’s collection will be displayed.

So, how else can you get involved? By participating in our Unique Family Recipe Contest! As part of the Archives Month celebrations, we want to pay homage to Virginia cooking traditions. Do you have a recipe passed down from generation to generation that’s a key ingredient to your family’s unique story? Is a holiday season not complete without grandma’s checkerboard cake? Share those special recipes that celebrate your family’s traditions. Winners will be selected for Best and Oldest recipes. Do you have a wacky recipe with strange ingredients or weirdly confusing instructions? We also have a category for the Strangest recipe.  Eligible winners will have their recipes and family stories featured here on Out of the Box and will receive a prize pack from the Virginia Shop. To enter, send a copy of your recipe (photos of that food-stained recipe card are encouraged!) along with a brief description of why it is special to you and your family to See the Archives Month website for complete contest rules.

To help get you inspired, check out the Library of Virginia’s Pinterest page where we are featuring cookbooks from our collections and some local food-movement advocates.

Bari Helms

Former Local Records Archivist

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