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The Sheep Stew of Dundas: A Gastronomical Delight

Maxie Moore, stewmaster
Maxie Moore, stewmaster

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The people of the small village of Dundas, VA learned that enough footage existed on their sheep stew tradition from the Woodward Studios project, Southern Stews: A Taste of the South, to merit its own documentary. Their proud stew making tradition lies just over the line from Brunswick County in the very region where the first Brunswick stew is said to have been prepared and named in 1828. Only this county is Lunenburg, and the village is Dundas, VA, and in between the three buildings in “downtown” Dundas stands a sign that reads, “Welcome to Dundas: Home of the World’s Best Sheep Stew; A Gastronomical Delight.” The sign stands next to the Dundas Ruritan Club stew shed where the “gastronomical delight” is only cooked twice a year in four 75-gallon black pots to help raise money for Ruritan community service projects. The arduous, 12 hour cooking of culled sheep requires five shifts and as many as 20 men. The documentary Sheep Stew of Dundas: A Gastronomical Delight is filled at every turn with the good humor and extraordinary warmth of the people of Dundas. Such work provides an unusual view back into the ways of our rural farm folk who took occasional breaks form the grueling work of farming to come together around the cooking of a locally concocted stew and to enjoy fun and fellowship.

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bullet icon Life in Dundas (02:47)

Pike and Pansy Hawthorne talk about life in the area of Dundas, Virginia

bullet icon Sheep Stew (02:15)

Pike Hawthorne provides the history of sheep stew.

bullet icon Johnny Hawthorne discusses making sheep stew (02:38)

bullet icon The sheep stew tradition (03:20)

Retired stewmaster Ray Turner and wife Lucille discuss sheep stew tradition.

bullet icon Long tradition of sheep stew (02:20)

Wayne Parrish and Billy Wilkinson’s families made sheep stew.

bullet icon The cooking committee (03:49)

Stewmaster Maxie Moore discusses his involvement with sheep stew.

bullet icon The stirring committee (02:54)

Walter Thompson shows the method for stirring sheep stew

bullet icon Preparing the stew (03:26)

bullet icon The Dundas Ruritan Club (04:35)

The Dundas Ruritan Club “dips” the stew and then sells to the local community.

bullet icon The art of cooking stew (03:52)

Walter and Bernice Thompson discuss stewmaster Maxie Moore’s skill in making sheep stew.

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