As a child, Louisa County High School senior Robbie Guinn always loved family reunions. Back then, his family was fighting to become financially stable. But any time the holidays or a special event rolled around, financial issues seemed to fade away from the mind. In those moments, he was able to turn his focus to fellowship and food.
And it was those get-togethers — many of which remain vivid in Guinn’s memory — that spurred his idea for his Blue Ridge Virtual Governor’s School Senior Community Project.
His project is to create a historical cookbook that accomplishes two goals. The first is to provide readers with tasty family recipes that previously went unrecorded, and secondly, to provide a contextual glimpse into how the recipe impacted those who utilized it.
In his quest, Guinn is joined by fellow BRVGS student Toby Craig. Craig, a history buff, serves as the project’s chief researcher. Guinn, a jack-of-all-trades student who serves as an intern in Louisa County High School’s cafeteria, provides the prowess in the kitchen.
Together, they are a formidable pair. They are also a duo finding success despite being brought together by failure.
“I originally wanted to just do a cookbook for low-income families,” Guinn said as he took a short break from working the lunch line at LCHS. “At the same time, Toby was working on a virtual tour of Montpelier in Orange County.”
“Both of our ideas kind of fell through,” Craig added, with a laugh. “So, we decided to join together.”
Their process is simple. For the past several weeks, Guinn and Craig have arranged interviews with people throughout the county who have been known for their cooking prowess. From there, it’s a matter of writing down the recipe and having a conversation.
“We don’t just sit down and ask for the recipe. We want to know how the recipe ties into their life and culture and how it impacted them,” Craig said.
So, while a recipe does indeed instruct others how to do something, it also leaves behind questions that Craig and Guinn hope to answer. Who first came up with the recipe? How did the recipe end up making its way to Louisa?
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s Dec. 6, 2018 issue.