Monday, April 28, 2014

THE PA MELTING POT: Part 2 Great Britain - Part 3 English and Welsh

This column will appear in The Herald-Standard May 1.  Here is a copy of the column and BELOW THE COLUMN are photos,
 food links and videos.  Enjoy!!

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

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 Ffrois (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












Friday, April 18, 2014

THE PA MELTING POT - Part 1 – German Sects: Part 3 German-Austrian


The Melting Pot: A look at the evolution of food in southwestern Pa.  German Sects:  Part 3 German-Austrian

Due to their proximity/history the countries of Germany and Austria were tied together as is their culture, food, beliefs, religions and more!!  German and Austrian Americans:  According to the 2000 US census bureau there were 50 million Americans (17 % of US population) either born in Germany or of German ancestry (largest ancestry group in America) and 735,128 Americans of full or partial Austrian descent.  However, again, due to the inaccuracies of the immigration records this is probably a low count as Austrians were often categorized as Germans because of their shared cultural-linguistic and ethnic origins and from where they immigrated to the US because of persecution (Austro-Hungary, Austria, etc.)

Prior to the 1850s, this Pittsburgh area was largely farmland, but was subdivided into residential lots, first for the growing German population and later for the Croats.  It was commonly referred to as "Deutschtown".  Known Austrian communities in western Pennsylvania are Sewickley Heights and Sewickley Hills, suburbs of Pittsburgh, which sport a 2% Austrian population.  Known German communities in Pittsburgh are Troy Hill, Mt. Washington and East Allegheny (aka Deutschtown).  The word German will be will be used to refer to the Germans and Austrians.

In Pittsburgh/Allegheny County there are five large white ethnic groups of which German is the largest at 19.7% or more.  Fayette County boasts a 19.8 % German population.

Historic places:  The Tuetonia Mannerchor Hall in East Allegheny (Deutschtown) which was constructed in 1888, the 1852 St. Mary's German Catholic Church and The Penn Brewery which is housed in the old Eberhardt & Ober Brewery (1882-1906) buildings. Penn Brewery makes the award-winning Penn Pilsner and a number of other specialty beers. The "tied house” (brewery and restaurant under one roof) features a full German menu and live music.  Penn Brewery and the Greentree area hold an Oktoberfest every year in September/October.

German-Austrian cuisine is based on central European cuisine.  General foods are sweet-sour dishes, aromatic soups, zestful sausages, delicious breads and coffee cakes, mouth-watering strudel, apple pancakes, dumplings and more!!

Suppen (soups) include: Erbsensuppe mit Saurer Sahne (Green peas & sour cream), Linsensuppe mit Wurstchen (Lentil and frankfurters), Gemusesuppe (Vegetable), Kartoffelsuppe (Potato) and Leberklosschen (Liver Dumplings).

Kuchen (Bread) include:  Coffee cakes:  Streuselkuchen mit Mandeln (Almond-Crumb), Pflaumenkuchen (Plum), Zimtkuchen (Cinnamon), Apfelkuchen (Apple) and Berliner Pfannkuchen (Filled Berlin Donuts).

Hauptgerichte (Main dishes) are made up of pork, veal, poultry and fish such as Gedampfter Rindsbratan (Beef Pot Roast with Wine), Sauerbraten (Marinated Beef), Ochsenschwanz-Eintopf (Oxtail Stew), Wiener Schnitzel (Breaded Veal Cutlets), Gewurzte Schweinsrippchen (Braised Spicy Spareribs) and Skampi auf Wienerische Art (Shrimp, Viennese-Style).

Beilagen (side dishes) are Reibekuchen (Potato Pancakes), Nudeln (Buttered Noodles) and Klosse (dumplings).

Gemuse (Vegetables) recipes include: Blumenkohl mit Senfsosse (Cauliflower and Mustard Sauce), Rotkohl (Sweet-Sour Red Cabbage), Sauerkraut mit Kummel (Sauerkraut, Caraway Seeds), and Kohlrabi in Rahmsosse (Kohlrabi, Sour Cream).
Torten und Desserts (Tortes and desserts):  Blitztorte (Vanilla Pudding), Walnusstorte (Walnut), Haselnusstorte (Hazelnut), and Schokoladentorte (Chocolate). Tortes and desserts are iced or filled with butter-cream, rum filling, sweetened whipped cream and more.

Getränke (Beverages) include Jagermeister (digestif made with 56 herbs and spices), Bier (beer), Wein (wine), Schnapps (distilled liquor not as sweet as liqueurs) and Kaffee or Mokka (coffee) among others.

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

Other comments:  

Since the First World War and until the end of the Great Depression, Austrian immigration was low until it slowed to a trickle during the years of the Depression. During the postwar period of 1919 to 1924, fewer than 20,000 Austrians arrived in the United States, most of them from Burgenland. Also, laws restricting immigration to the U.S. imposed by the Austrian government limited Austrian emigration, further reducing it to only 1,413 persons per year. However, in the late 1930s, a new Austrian wave of immigrants began arriving in the United States. Most of them were Jews fleeing the Nazi persecution which culminated in the Annexation of Austria in 1938. In 1941, some 29,000 Jewish Austrians had emigrated to the United States. Most of them were doctors, lawyers, architects and artists (such as composers and stage and film directors).
Much later, between 1945–1960, some 40,000 Austrians entered the United States. Since the 60s, however, Austrian immigration has been negligible, mostly because Austria is nowadays a developed nation where poverty and political oppression is scarce. According to the 1990 U.S. census, 948,558 people claimed be of Austrian descent, only 0.4 percent of the total population, when in the 19th century, a total of 4,2 million Austrians had immigrated to the United States.[3]

Photos of Germany






Photos of German Food










Photos of Austria






Photos of Austrian Food






Austrian Food Links

Austrian Informational Links

Austrian Food Videos

       Food from Vienna        

Food and Drink in Vienna  

A whirl around Vienna's coffee houses 

German food Links

German Informational Links

German Food Videos

  Spaetzle  (German noodles)

Top Ten German Foods         

Top Ten German Chocolates 

Austrian and German Food Video