Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Pa Melting Pot - Part 8 - 1 - Belgium, Luxembourg and France

This is the column written for the Uniontown Herald-Standard and to be published on 11/28/2013.
Below the article you will find photos and links for information and recipes on three western European Countries:  Belgium, Luxembourg and France. 


Part 8 – WESTERN EUROPEANS - Part 1 - The Melting Pot
A look at the evolution of food in southwestern Pennsylvania – Western Eastern Europeans Part 1
BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG AND FRANCE

I have included these three countries together because they have similar cuisines, proximity and confusions in immigration records.  Early immigration records weren’t very accurate.  There are no records of immigrants from Luxembourg because they were lumped in with the French and Belgians.  The French (who were the first to immigrate) records were tarnished with people who had moved to France from Germany & other countries due to wars and weren’t really French.  The Belgian-American population is the greatest of the 3 in western PA at 1-4%.

Languages of Belgium are Flemish and Walloon which influence their cuisines. Cuisine of Belgium:  Belgian cuisine is very hearty and often accompanied by beer (2nd beer producers in Europe).  They are famous for their breads and Belgian waffles (of course).  Flemish cuisine (Germanic) features sweet-salt and sweet-sour mixtures (sauerkraut and pickles). Nutmeg is a favored spice. Walloon cuisine is based on French cuisine. Garlic is a favored seasoning.
A Belgian-American family meal includes thick vegetable soups, meats and vegetables such as: Boulettes (meatballs), Djote, or "jut" (cooked cabbage and potatoes seasoned with browned butter and nutmeg), Potasse (made of potatoes, red cabbage and side pork) and Cheeses: Kaset (spreadable homemade cottage cheese cured in crocks) is used like butter. Desserts are Belgian pie (open-faced tart filled with custard or cottage cheese topped with layers of prunes or apples) and the Belgian waffle (Gället), has been Americanized.
Flemish (German) foods include Flemish Stew (beef cooked with beer), and Olie Bollen (raised doughnut made with apples, and Advocaat, a liqueur made of grain alcohol, vanilla, eggs, milk, and sugar).  Walloon (French) cuisine is more meat-based than the Flemish cuisine. Desserts include cougnou (sweet Christmas bread) and Liege waffles (the Belgian waffles we know).

Languages of Luxembourg are French and German.  Cuisine of Luxembourg:  Traipen or Moustraipen is a sausage consisting of hog's head, pork blood, cabbage, and spices. It is similar to (German) Blood pudding which is often served after midnight mass on Christmas Day.  Thuringer (spicy German bratwurst), Gromperekichelcher (spiced deep-fried potato pancake with chopped onions and parsley), Tiirteg (potato pancake with sauerkraut) and Pate (French) are popular foods.

Main language of France is French.  Cuisine of France:  The French are also famous for their breads:  the baguette, ficelle, flute and pain de campagne (sourdough bread).  The French delight in their differences in provincial cuisines.  For example, in Alsace-Lorraine (near Germany) foods are Germanic such as sausages and sauerkrauts.  Moules a la Crème from Normandy (near the ocean) are mussels cooked with white wine, cider, garlic and cream.  Brittany (surrounded by water) dishes are seafood, cider, crepes and flan.  In the Burgundy (wine area) area you will find Boeuf Bourguignon (beef stewed in red wine), Coq Au Vin (chicken with wine) and Escargots de Bourgogne (snails baked in shells with parsley butter).  Rhones-Alpes brought us raclette (melted cheese served with potatoes, ham and mini pickles), fondues and gratins (browned melted cheese and or bread crumb dishes).

Next column will be Part 9 Southern Europeans Part 1 Sicilian Italians

For recipes from 1700s to 1960s and modern day links versions, visit www.ThePAMeltingPot.com .
Christine Willard, a native of western Pennsylvania, researches and blogs about the food unique to western Pennsylvania.  She currently resides in North Carolina.  Her blog can be found at www.ThePAMeltingPot.com.

 PHOTOS AND LINKS FOR BELGIUM

    

    

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Belgian food photos

  

    

  



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