It all started back in 1828 on the banks of the Nottoway River during a hunting party. Dr. Creed Haskins, a member of the House of Delegates from 1839 through 1841, took a group of his friends on a hunting expedition. While they were on the hunt, camp cook Jimmy Matthews stirred together the first impromptu mixture that has become known as Brunswick Stew. The original thick soup was made from squirrels, onions, and stale bread. When the hunters returned, there was reluctance to try the new mixture. However, the reluctance turned to demands for second and third helpings of the warm, thick stew. Recipes for the stew have varied over the years. Chicken has replaced the squirrel in more modern cook pots, while vegetables, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, and butterbeans have been added in varying portions. The one thing that all cooks or stewmasters agree on is that the stew, which is so thick it almost resembles a palatable paste, is not done until the paddle stands up in the middle.
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