Monday, April 28, 2014

THE PA MELTING POT: Part 2 Great Britain - Part 3 England and Wales

The Melting Pot: A look at the evolution of food in southwestern Pa.  Part 2 -  GREAT BRITAIN: Part 3:  England and Wales.

The British were the first to settle permanently in western PA and early settlers included the English, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish, as well as German, drawn by mining, shipping, and manufacturing and escaping religious persecution.  These people formed the foundation of Pittsburgh, still physically visible in the oldest parts of the city.  

The combined English population in Allegheny & Fayette Counties is 17.44%.

The English breakfast is hearty and includes toast and great marmalade (orange, grapefruit, lemons, water and sugar).  Common foods include Oxtail Soup (appetizer), English Leg of Lamb Nelson, Beefsteak and Kidney Pie, Toad-in-the-Hole (Yorkshire pudding with sausage links), Trifle (vanilla custard with sherry, raspberry jam, almond macaroons, cream, cherries and almonds) and English teacakes.

A fancy 18th century dinner would start with beef sirloin, fish, veal shoulder and tongue served with claret and cider. Following that first course would be almond pudding, fritters, chickens, black puddings, (black pudding aka blood pudding in southern US aka blutwurst in Germany is a sausage with a blend of onions, pork fat, oatmeal, flavorings and pig blood.  As long as animals have been slaughtered to provide food, blood sausages like black pudding have been in existence.) and soup served with wine and beer.  The third course could include hot venison pastry, hare, rabbit, pigeon, partridge, goose and ham served with beer and wine.  A dram of brandy was served after this course.  The desserts might Bakewell Tart (a pastry with a layer of jam and ground almonds), Banoffee Pie (bananas, cream toffee, pastry) and Cherries Jubilee (wild cherries, liqueur which is flambéed & served over vanilla ice cream).  At the very end of the meal the women would retire to another room for tea and the men would enjoy cheese & burgundy. 

The first and second immigrations of the Welsh were to eastern Pennsylvania (counties of Montgomery, Bucks, Berks and Lancaster) & to central PA in Cambria County and were due largely to the desire of Welsh Quakers for religious freedom and escape from persecution and for the creation of a separate colony or “barony” in America.  Many were miners. They further immigrated to western PA since many Welsh were also skilled industrial workers who were eager to work in the steel mills.  There is a dedicated Welsh room in the Cathedral of Learning in Pittsburgh. The combined Welsh population in Allegheny & Fayette Counties is Co. is only 2% but significant in the development of western PA foods. 7 of our US presidents were of Welsh ancestry.

Their common foods were Crempog (crepes made with currants) which were served as dessert or at tea, Pelenni Cig (meatballs  made with pork or beef liver, onions, sage & thyme), Welsh Rarebit (sharp cheddar cheese, Worcestershire sauce, dried mustard) which was served over toast for a light evening supper or Sunday Brunch, Cennin Yn (Leek pie: leeks have a garlic/green onion taste), Cacennau (sweet currant fried biscuits), Sgons (scones with added cheese for savory and currants/raisins for fruit), Pastai Pork Oer (cold pork pie with onion, sage, Worcestershire) and Cawl Cennin a Thatws (leek & potato soup). Drinks (diodydd) include Meads (Medd) and a Beetroot drink (Gwin Betys).

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 is

The links are below the photos!!

English photos and food photos





 The links are below the photos!!

Welsh photos and food photos