Friday, June 26, 2020

The PA Melting Pot - Part 4 - African Americans


The largest influx of African-Americans (1910-1930) from Virginia, Georgia, Alabama and the Carolinas increased the black population 115% in the southwestern PA area. They immigrated because they were recruited by northern industries to break white workers' strikes.  They didn't get paid much and were allotted minimal amounts for living.

Even though the Wagner Act in 1935 was passed which gave workers the right to collective bargaining and blacks were allowed to join unions, there was still much discrimination and often they were not eligible for government housing for misplaced families.  They lived frugally as they had in the South.  More immigration occurred from World War II to 1950.

FOOD HISTORY:  From the south they brought the knowledge of wild greens cooked with ham hocks and other slave dishes. What was discarded from the main house by their masters was eaten by their slave ancestors.  This was where the term “soul food” originated.  Castoffs from the main house included:  pigs’ feet, hind-parts, jowls, intestines, cow brains and tongues and others.  The southern slaves cooked the bitter collard, mustard and turnip greens with pork leftovers.  This “make-do” or “soul food” which was the mainstay at that time and its transformation now has become part of white and black households today.

Collard Greens, Shrimp Pilau (bacon, onion, tomato, hot pepper, parsley, rice, shrimp stock, shrimp), Cornbread, Cracklin’ Corn Bread (cracklins are pork rinds), Sweet Potato Casserole, African Chicken (chicken breasts, onions, tomatoes, garlic, ketchup, peanut butter, cayenne, hard boiled eggs), Shrimp Creole (green pepper, garlic, butter, tomatoes, lemon juice, Tabasco, shrimp, rice), Sweet Potato Pone (sweet potato bread) and Old Fashioned Hoecake (corn meal, flour, bacon fat, etc.  – NOTE: This was called Hoecake because out in the fields often they didn’t have cooking pots so they baked the bread on a hot hoe over a fire!!)

Scalloped Pineapple (sugar, butter, eggs, white bread, milk, crushed pineapple baked in casserole & topped with whipped cream or as side dish to meats), Sweet Potato Pie (I think everyone knows what this is), Southern Ham & Brown Beans, Fried Okra, Okra-Corn-Tomatoes, Buttermilk Fried Chicken, Black-eyed Peas and Gumbo, Sausage Biscuits and Gravy, Grits in various ways, Hoppin’ John (a thick, hearty stew of black-eyed peas, ham, and rice served on New Year’s Day for good luck), Pinto Beans with pork, Chow-Chow (not really from the South although they claim it – from the PA Dutch who immigrated to the south), Black eyed-peas, Hush puppies, Corn pone and the list goes on.




LINK TO All Recipes - Soul Food



Thursday, May 21, 2020

THE PA MELTING POT - Germany: German Sects: Part 3 Germany-Austria


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

Due to their proximity/history the countries of 

Germany and Austria were and are tied together as is their  culture, food, beliefs, religions and more!!

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 (the largest ancestry group in America) and 735,138 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,, aromatisoups, 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.

Photos of Germany


Photos of German Food

 Photos of Austria

Flag of Austria

  Photos of Austrian Food

(Note:  I have chosen older videos that don't have so many ads!!!!!!!!!)

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