Tag Archives: Virginia Hospitality

Mamie Vest passes away, worked with Virginia GOP and Govs. Holton, Dalton, Allen

CookbooksBy Lynn R. Mitchell

It was with sadness that I learned Friday afternoon that Mamie Vest had passed away (see her obituary below). With her passing, a big part of Virginia’s Republican institutional knowledge is gone (see Roanoke advertiser, Republican activist Mamie Vest dies at 77 in the Roanoke Times). She was from a more tolerant era of our party’s history when Virginia was still under Democratic control but Republicans were finally successful in electing Governors Linwood Holton and John Dalton in the 1970s. Her mark was felt by her service to the party, as noted in her obituary:

She was appointed by Governor Linwood Holton to the Consumer Credit Study Commission; by Governor John Dalton to the Advisory Committee on Furnishing and Interpreting the Executive Mansion; and by Governor George Allen to the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She served as Chairman of the Roanoke City Arts Commission and was an active member of the Roanoke City Sigh Ordinance Committee. She also served as the Roanoke Valley Coordinator for the Virginia Bicentennial Commission.

During the 1970’s ’80s and 90s , she created and directed advertising for over 80 local, state and federal Republican political campaigns. She received the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award in Roanoke for contributions to the industry and community, the first woman to receive the honor in Virginia.

I got to know Mamie through Molly Koon through Facebook. We had similar political philosophies and she would often give a “thumbs-up” on my Facebook posts including something I posted earlier this week, so hearing of her death was a shock.

It reminded of a post I wrote last year about my “Dining with the Daltons” cookbook and discovering a recipe in there from Mrs. Vest (see “Dining with the Daltons” and “Virginia Hospitality” still favorites at my house). I wrote about my personally-autographed copy of Mrs. Dalton’s cookbook and added:

There’s even a recipe from Mamie Vest for “Mamie’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie” with the added note from Mrs. Dalton, “Mamie Vest has won prizes with her recipes. She has worked on most of John’s campaigns.” I didn’t know Mrs. Vest in those days when I was fresh out of high school and working in Richmond but these days she and I are Facebook friends which proves it certainly is a small world.
I posted a link to the blog post on Facebook which prompted a response from Mrs. Vest. With her permission, I amended my original post and added the historical background info she had provided. This is what she wrote:

“Thanks, Lynn. I worked with Eddy to design and produce two Dining with the Daltons cookbooks; the first (black cover) while Dalton was governor and the second (red cover) after he left office. The second one included many photos of events at the Mansion and recipes from those who enjoyed the first cookbook. Collector items now!

“Those cookbooks were major projects. The idea was born when I produced a small cookbook with Eddy’s recipes for a campaign handout. Best I remember, I had 100,000 printed. At several events, we used recipes (such as the wonderful shrimp dip) at receptions. Eddy was a wonderful cook back then — had to be with four children!”

Mrs. Vest’s photos of her farmhouse and beautiful flowers in Floyd, her little piece of paradise, graced her Facebook page throughout the years with the rolling hills and mountains of southwestern Virginia showcased for all to see.

So today it is with sadness that I remember Mrs. Vest and yet feel a sense of gratitude for all she did throughout the years to help a floundering and struggling young Virginia GOP gain a foothold in the early years, and make history with GOP governors named Holton and Dalton. Rest in peace, and thank you.

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‘Dining with the Daltons’ and ‘Virginia Hospitality’ still favorites at my house

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Call me old school all you want but I like a hard copy recipe when cooking in the kitchen. While perusing my cookbook selection, I pulled two well-used ones from the shelf, leafing through the pages for recipes as my eyes scanned for just the right one, then closing the books to find the dog-eared pages and opening to those. At some point I mentally acknowledged these two cookbooks were Virginia through and through, as am I.

 

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“Dining with the Daltons” was published by Mrs. John Dalton — Eddy — while her husband was Virginia Governor from 1978-82, is personally inscribed by her, and includes a collection of her favorite recipes. In it you can find Mrs. Dalton’s Virginia Apple Cake. There’s even a recipe from Mamie Vest for “Mamie’s Walnut Pumpkin Pie” with the added note from Mrs. Dalton, “Mamie Vest has won prizes with her recipes. She has worked on most of John’s campaigns.” I didn’t know Mrs. Vest in those days when I was fresh out of high school and working in Richmond but these days she and I are Facebook friends which proves it certainly is a small world. Both recipes are very seasonal for this time of year in Virginia — pumpkins and apples.

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