A Clarke Christmas Quandary; Can you help?

By Mary Morris

I received an e-mail from a lady who grew up eating a famous Berryville Christmas treat – Plum Pudding. by Peggy Ann Kitchen.

The lady who wrote to me wondered what happened to that fabulous recipe because she wanted it to re-start the tradition in her family, especially for her brother who remembers the pudding with fondness.

Dr. J.M.G. McGuire/Ammi Moore house at 117 West Main being demolished in 1968, from "Berryville Celebrates". This was the original home of 'Peggy Ann Kitchen' & their famous Christmas fruitcakes and plum puddings. - Photo Courtesy Clarke County Historical Association

Peggy Ann Kitchen was started probably in the late 1930s or early 1940s by Margaret Stalnaker, Annie Moore, & Elvira Williams in a house on West Main Street located where the Dollar Store is today. Willie Snouffer Griffing came on board when one or two of the ladies retired or died; when the last lady left or died, Willie took it over.

This was not a bakery or a restaurant; the Plum Pudding & Fruitcake at Christmas were the only things that they made. The story goes that the trio started baking in October. The items were then drenched in Johnny Walker Red and aged for at least a month.

Many were sold locally, but quite a few went out in the mail as gifts (as was the case with this lady).

Does anyone know where the recipe is?  Is it available to be copied?

Help & Thanks!

Mary Morris is the archivist for the Clarke County Historical Association

Comments

  1. Beth Flannagan says:

    My very first job was working for Willie Morris Griffing in the autumn when the Peggy Ann plum puddings and fruitcakes were being mailed out. After school I went to Mrs. Griffing’s home, where I found a group of several ladies seated at a table in her dining room, cutting up candied fruit and nuts to include in the plum pudding and fruitcake mix. The house smelled so wonderful. I remember seeing the big steamer in the back of the kitchen where the plum puddings were steamed before packaging. This was also in the early days of UPS. We boxed and wrapped the cakes/puddings for mailing or UPS. It was a new experience to see zip codes on packages and check the list to see what to zone they were being sent. It seemed so exotic to see that one of the Peggy Ann products was going to Alaska, or Hawaii or even the northeast! My job was to wrap, stack in the car and help unload at the post office. Great memory. I always wondered what happened to the process after Mrs. Griffing’s death.

  2. Mary T. Morris says:

    I have been told that PAK started when all the men were off to war during WW II and the women needed funds. When I talked with Charlie McIntosh yesterday, he told me (with more info coming after Xmas) that the recipe he remembered had one ingredient like ‘hand-seed thirty pounds of grapes’ which tells me it was a large size recipe, not for individual puddings (unfortunately-I REALLY would like to taste it!) I learned about it through Elizabeth Crawford Engle, who taught in Berryville in the 1930s, and was cousin to both Mary Washington Gold and Bev Whiting. If anyone has any more history (and thank you for the response, it will go in the CCHA archives under PAK) I would gladly hear it. Happy Holidays (but no plum pudding :>( )

  3. Col. Morton C. Mumma III, USAF (ret) says:

    I well remember the Peggy Ann fruitcakes & puddings. Willie Morris Griffing and my mother were life-long friends and we spent many Christmas vacations in Berryville with the Griffings and the Joe Harris family. Mother’s stepfather, Louis Glover, was the Postmaster in Berryville for many years and hired me (nepotism..horrors!) as temporary Christmas help…those Peggy Anne products were a major export item for Berryville. I’d heard that Joel Griffing was the last one to have control of the Peggy Ann Kitchen, but I have no idea who, if anyone, took over after his death. Suggest you ask Glassell
    Smalley, Bob’s widow, if she has any ideas.

  4. Ernest Williams says:

    I stumbled across this news item this evening while surfing the web. What a surprise! Yes; the recipe is known. Elvira Williams was my grandmother, and I remember Willie Morris and the room in the old house at 117 West Main where the plum puddings were packaged for shipping. The recipe went to my mother, Anne Williams. So now a correction! The name of the kitchen is Peggy Anne – Anne with an “e.” This venture was named after my mother, Anne, and her first cousin, Peggy, the daughter of Elvira’s sister Margaret Stalnaker. Anne and Peggy were young girls when the Peggy Anne kitchen was started by their mothers and aunt, and they remained very close throughout their lives. I could tell you much more about the old house (I have photos and drew a floor plan from my memory and that of my mother), the Moores, etc., but this may be as much as you’re really interested in.