Thomasville Times Enterprise

January 31, 2014

Cookbook still supports Vashti

Staff report

THOMASVILLE — The signature cookbook of Thomasville, Pines and Plantations, has been supporting Vashti nearly 38 years. The planners of this cookbook, Carolyn Wight and Mary Beverly, were co-chairmen of the committee. With their volunteer staff and the support of the 1976 Vashti Board, chaired by Ames Watkins Kindred, they kicked off the sales of the first printing.

As of today, there have been 15 printings and more than 67,000 books sold — a profit of over $470,000, all for the benefit of The Vashti Center’s children and youth. 

The Kickoff Tea to receive the first books delivered to Thomasville from the printer in Memphis, Tenn., was held at Louise Hines’ home, Box Hall Plantation.

The second printing followed closely after the first books were delivered. It was that popular then and still just as popular. Celebrations for the 30th and 35th anniversaries of the book were held at Vashti, featuring food from the famous cookbook, a DVD about the history of the book and a vintage fashion show.

A 40th anniversary celebration is already being discussed. The book was heralded in an article in Town and County in the 1980s, listing Pines and Plantations as “one of the best regional cookbooks” in the whole USA.

 “As a nonprofit program for children and youth, Vashti’s services are essential if we are to meet the treatment needs of children in crisis of our area. Our Vashti Pines and Plantations cookbook has contributed greatly to meeting this need for over the last quarter century.

While quite utilitarian and representative of the South’s fine cuisine, its purchase has helped breach the gap between service cost and reimbursement — a significant contribution in the nonprofit world.  Its financial impact has been truly significant,” Ralph Comerford, CEO of Vashti, noted.

There are more than 25 locations where the book can be found, ranging from Thomasville stores and locations in Florida and Alabama.

Following in her mother’s footsteps, Theresa Brown has chaired the Pines and Plantations Marketing Committee for Vashti for the past decade.

 Current committee members are Mary Bonvillian, Becky Bracey and Jo Ponzillo. Through the years there have been many volunteers that have made this cookbook such a success and include Holly Foskey, Melody Porter, Susan Varnedoe,  Gini Miller, Barbara Thompson and Barbara Knapp.

This group keeps the stores supplied and always delivers the books, so there is no cost for postage. Books are delivered as far away as Striplings in Cordele or Merritt’s Pecan company in Weston. Committee members have delivered books in Albany, Columbus, Havana, Fla., and Tallahassee, Fla.

Angela Shaw, development assistant at Vashti, assists the Pines and Plantations committee in many ways, especially by keeping track of invoicing and payment records.

She even delivers local emergency orders. Shaw has so admirably served in this position almost from the inception of the book.

The planning and the double testing of recipes have maintained this cookbook’s success.

Others that contributed in the original planning and made the cookbook a reality, featured in the book’s opening pages, include editor: Mrs. Elliott McCollum; plantation sketcher: Mrs. James Anderson; artist: the Rev. Bob Dixon; treasurer of the 1970s board: Russell Fryar; recipes eitor: Mrs. Fred Cooper; recipes co-editor: Mrs. Ken Beverly; and chief editor: Mrs. Tom Faircloth.