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Family gatherings are a valued heritage: She was brought up knowing how to prepare a feast

Mathews County for many, many years has been well known for its hospitality and its abundant share of excellent cooks. These are the cooks who remember how grandma or mama prepared foods and then incorporate their own new ideas, making a few changes here and there.

If you grew up in Mathews you took this talent with you wherever you settled. And that is exactly what Elaine Hudgins Campbell has done.

For more than 40 years Elaine has lived in Newport News and her family and friends have rejoiced in how she learned to cook while living in Mathews. “By watching family members,” Elaine explained. “My first memory is sitting on Miss Aunt Lou’s lap in Dee’s kitchen watching those who came to help make the fruit cake. And then there was Miss Fannie Golden who, when anyone died in the family, always came with a grocery bag of chicken and what was needed to fry it. She would let me help her.”

Today, a mother of three girls and seven grandchildren, Elaine recalls and appears to practic...

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