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The late Mildred Brown (Brownie) Schrumpf 

Mildred Schrumpf

As Home Economist, "Good Samaritan," Nutritionist, Newspaper Columnist, Food Judge, Author and Cook, Mildred "Brownie" Schrumpf can truly be called "First Cook" of the State of Maine. "Brownie's" spark, her stimuli for good, simple, "State of Maine" cooking influenced over three generations of Maine families. Consequently, their children and their grandchildren have grown up healthier and happier because of her.

Born in 1903 in Readfield, and a graduate of the University of Maine, Orono, with a B.S. in Home Economics, "Brownie" Schrumpf was assistant 4-H Club leader for the State of Maine (1925-32) and the Penobscot County 4-H Club agent (1932-39). In the 40s "Brownie" was a part-time instructor at the University of Maine, Orono, teaching foods, food preservation, and camp cookery to the forestry students at the University. For 42 years (1951-93), "Brownie" Schrumpf was food columnist for the Bangor Daily News. Deeply committed to the use of native, Maine-grown foods and simple methods of food preparation, she carefully changed her recipes to fit the seasons. Hers has been a constant quest for the new recipe, the new method, and the new concept of preparation.

Throughout the 50s and 60s, "Brownie" was the Maine Food Products Promoter for the Maine Department of Agriculture at the Eastern States Exposition. In addition, she ran a TV series of food demonstrations and worked on the staff of the General Alumni Association of the University of Maine. "Brownie" was also a member of the Board of the G.A.A., serving as Assistant Executive Director (1963) and as Acting Director (1968). She was president of the Maine State Home Economics Association (1952-54), a member of the Women's Legislative Council, and always an active member of the American Association of University Women.

During the 70s and 80s, "Brownie" acted as a food expert in another TV series titled "A Time to Live", and was a teacher for 20 years for the YWCA cooking classes. As author, she wrote two very successful cookbooks, The Flavor of Maine (BDN 1976, 164 pp.) and Memories from Brownie's Kitchen (BDN 1989, 230 pp.)

Since retirement, "Brownie" has never stopped. She lectured, wrote, and judged food exhibits wherever they took her. She took meals to the ill and elderly, chauffeured them and shopped for them, and visited local nursing homes and schools regularly.

Mildred "Brownie" Schrumpf has been honored with a variety of awards, including The Black Bear Award (University of Maine, 1957), Woman of the Year (Maine Press, Radio and TV Women, 1968), Unofficial Ambassador of Good Eating (Maine Department of Agriculture, 1970), General Alumni Association Pine Tree Alumni Service Emblem (1974), Kiwanis Recognition in Service Award (Orono-Old Town Kiwanis, 1976), and American Association of University Women Achievement Citation Award (Maine AAUW, 1989).

Dedicating her professional and personal life to the betterment of nutrition in the State of Maine, "Brownie" Schrumpf represents the entire 20th century's development of cooking as a science. In her mother's day, recipes were ambiguous, reading a 'pinch' of this and a 'dash' of that until your 'taste' was satisfied. "Brownie's" directions were precise, and a tasty, healthy diet was assured. She taught the women of Maine to use independent thought and scientific judgment to better their family's nutrition. "Brownie" has passed on her love of cooking the simple "State of Maine" foods to a new generation of Maine cooks, and the legacy of "Brownie" Schrumpf will live forever!

1989 Photograph

Inducted March 1997