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At the end of February, long time staff member Susan Holler retired from Historic Foodways. Susan grew up as a child of Colonial Williamsburg. Her father, Perry Holler, was our ice cream maker, and her mother interpreted the history of Historic Area buildings and sites.
Susan herself started working summers in the Historic Area during her high school years. After her career in the military, she came back to the Williamsburg area in 1993 where she worked as a Sites Interpreter. A long time food enthusiast and excellent home cook, Susan didn’t miss the opportunity to try her hand at period cooking. In 1999, she joined the staff of Historic Foodways, reaching Journeyman status in 2008. During her time here Susan also worked evening programs, a job which lasted for 18 years!
Susan’s specialty was making beautiful jellies, perfect to grace his Lordship’s table. Jellies (what you would call gelatin, or by the brand name Jell-O today) have to be made from a variety of substances, including calf and pigs’ feet, fish bones, hartshorn, rice, oatmeal, isinglass, and others. Susan was a contributor and presenter for all of our Historic Foodways symposiums, and she can be seen in many of our videos here on this blog.
When asked what her most memorable and favorite memory was of her years with our program she said “I will never forget the day that Jim Gay and I roasted a pig for the brickyard firing all-day long. We started at dawn and finished at dusk, worked the entire day, didn’t sit down, but it was the most marvelous day, with me in charge of burning down wood, and Jim basting the pig. Visitors were coming by excited to see what we were doing. Seriously, we were there at dawn and we sliced at dusk. That was the best and finest experience that I sometimes flash back to, especially when I think about how much we all miss Jim.”
Known for her gregarious nature and welcoming smile, Susan was an integral part of the Foodways team. We wish her the best in her retirement. She will be greatly missed!