Patricia B. Mitchell

Patricia Mitchell

Patricia Mitchell began foodwriting as a contributor to The Community Standard magazine in the French Quarter of New Orleans in the early 1970's. After she and her husband Henry returned to their hometown of Chatham, Virginia, in 1975, Patricia put her writing on the “back burner” while restoring an old home (the Sims-Mitchell House, which the Mitchells operated as a bed and breakfast for over twenty years) and starting a family (now her collaborators Sarah, David, and Jonathan). In 1986, requests from B&B guests and daughter Sarah's strong insistence motivated Patricia to compile some of her recipes into book form. In a providential turn of events, a visiting museum director asked to purchase some of the little books for resale in his museum's shop. Soon a re-order came, with suggestions for an even greater emphasis on food history.

Through the years, the resulting Compact Editions have included over a hundred titles, selling over 900,000 copies at museums, historic sites, bookstores, and shops in 49 states and internationally. Patricia has also added digital versions and larger Bookshelf Editions.

Poring through diaries, letters, microfilmed records, and mountains of old books, Patricia spends endless enjoyable hours in her search for clues to Americans' eating habits and cooking techniques of years gone by.

(See online articles by Patricia Mitchell.)