April Miller Publishes Cookbook My Table at Brightwood

By Susan Worley, Staff Writer, The Star-Tribune, Chatham, Virginia. Used with permission.

April Miller

April Miller of Chatham recently published a recipe book entitled My Table at Brightwood: Southern Cooking on a Country Road. Brightwood is the Miller home near Chatham which was built in 1892.

Recipes for cooks with "a free hand and no conscience," is how April Miller describes the dishes in her latest book, My Table at Brightwood: Southern Cooking on a Country Road.

Brightwood is the Miller home near Chatham which was built in 1892.

My Table at Brightwood is the third publication authored by Miller, but her first recipe collection. It is an outgrowth of research for her second book Shelton County.

"I've always loved to cook and wanted to do a cookbook," said Miller. It took her about a year to compile the 350 recipes.

From the cover which frames a photograph of her dining room table, there is a category for everything.

Using her recipes, it won't take long in the kitchen to create hors d'oeuvres, soups and casseroles, meat, poultry and seafood dishes, vegetables and salads, breakfast dishes, breads and muffins, cakes and cookies, pies and cheesecakes.

The cookbook also includes a history of the Shelton family which arrived in Pittsylvania County from Middlesex County in the 1760's.

Miller says her work in the field for Shelton County not only turned up tidbits on family history, but wonderful food.

"My growing up years in the Tidewater portion of eastern Virginia where my father's family ancestry had originated had a rich culinary tradition as well," writes Miller. "I would see many similarities as well as differences from my father's family's cooking to all of my mother's Shelton relatives.

"The cousins I knew and most of the cousins I was just meeting offered me a wonderful array of old Virginia dishes. I was served superb homemade ice cream on the front porch of Clara and Ed Shelton's farmhouse.

"Excellent apple cobbler cake by Regina Shelton was brought down our winding dirt road to Brightwood.

"I have fond memories of the potato salad and custard pie of Helen Shelton Moser as well as the overflowing buffet at her brother, Willard Shelton's, at the grand old Victorian house he and his wife, Barbara, have refurbished."

Her breakfast recipes are an out-growth of pre-dawn energy fueled by a remedy for an illness.

"The sweet potato biscuits in the breads and muffins chapter seem to be much more common on the coast than here in south central Virginia, but when served here I never have any left," she wrote.

Miller's first book was entitled The Green Sea and detailed Miller family genealogy for her husband, Harry. The Millers were in the cypress business on the Dismal Swamp which was called The Green Sea by William Byrd.

My Table at Brightwood is available for $10 from Mrs. April Miller, 501 Marilla Lane, Chatham, VA 24531, telephone 434-432-4223.

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