Monday, August 2, 2021

The PA Melting Pot - Part 1 - Germany - German Sects 1-1

If you missed the Introduction to this series
please click on this link below:
The PA Melting Pot - Introduction

Also DON'T MISS the link below
"Link to 282 German Recipes. 

Now to Part 1 - 1 - German sects 

(NOTE:  Pennsylvania has the largest population of German-Americans in the U.S. and  home to one of the group's original settlements, Germantown (Philadelphia), founded in 1683 and the birthplace of the American antislavery movement in 1688, as well as the revolutionary Battle of Germantown. The state of Pennsylvania has 3.5 million people of German ancestry.)
(NOTE 2:  13.68% of American population is of German ancestry)
(NOTE 3:  44,164,758  of Americans stated they are of German ancestry in 2018)

Pennsylvania Dutch refers to immigrants and their descendants from Alsace, SW Germany and Switzerland. 

(If you want to read about east of the areas click on the orange links directly below. You will ALSO find an audio file on each section with national anthems)
who settled in Pennsylvania originally but also emigrated to 
West Virginia 
and Ohio in the 17th & 18th centuries
and to other parts of the US.  

Historically they have spoken the dialect of German known as Pennsylvania Dutch or Pennsylvania German (Deutsch) which also includes the Amish and the Mennonites. (I personally lived 5 miles from an Amish community and on Saturday mornings they would hitch up the horses & buggies & go to town to shop for the week.)

 According to Wikipedia:

German Americans established the first kindergartens in the United States, introduced the Christmas tree tradition,
 and introduced popular foods such as hot dogs and hamburgers to America.

Very important in the cuisine were Noodles that can be served with anything: (flat noodles, spaetzle noodles, etc.)
    • in soups
    • as a side dish with any fish, beef or fowl
    • as an appetizer
    • as a dessert with a rich sweet sauce

  • They had many soup recipes.  Soup making was considered an art:  hot & cold soups, fruit soups, light broths, chowder soups and more!!

 Chow-Chow is a German relish made with green tomatoes and more!!  I love it!  You can make it sweet, hot and mild.  We like semi-hot and not sweet.  You can put it on beans or hot dogs or anything you like relish on.  

Root Beer and Birch Beer (not Beer beer - that's a
 different pack of Germans)


Photos below part of the faspa or Sunday Dinner or day of rest.  
Prepared on Saturday. 
Meats, cheeses, zweibach rolls, mennonite sausage, 

Check out Rhonda Nickel of Mennonite Foods
She has a nice presence on Pinterest.  Here is a link: You need a Pinterest account!!


The Pa Dutch, Mennonites, Amish liked sponge cake. I think they would have liked this one!!

Pies were a big part of the Germanic ethnic cuisine in America. 
Homemade whoopie pies

Photos of Colmar, Germany

I have been to Alsace (Colmar and Strasbourg, etc) and believe it is part of my German heritage.  It is a mixed province along with Lorraine which was conquered several times by the Germans and then given back to the French.  Legally part of France it is VERY MULTICULTURED because of the many occupations by the Germans.  The menus are in both languages; you can hear both languages being spoken and the food is a mixture of French and German.  You must check out this webpage I found below and you will see what I mean:




that are shared with Austria and Switzerland

Northern Switzerland
North eastern Switzerland and Liechtenstein
Zurich area
Basel Area (I was married in Basel, Switzerland)

Photos of areas above:  

  Recipes from the German part of Switzerland

Älplermagronen: (Alpine herdsman's macaroni) is a frugal all-in-one dish making use of the ingredients the herdsmen had at hand in their alpine cottages: macaroni, potatoes, onions, small pieces of bacon, and melted cheese. Traditionally Älplermagronen is served with applesauce instead of vegetables or salad.

  • Fotzel slices: Nobody really knows how this dish got its name. Literally, "fotzel" means a torn-off scrap of paper, but in Basel dialect it means a suspicious individual. Stale bread can be used to make fotzel slices, which made it an ideal recipe for homemakers accustomed to never throwing bread away.

"Birchermüesli" was invented by Dr Maximilian Oskar Bircher-Benner (1867-1939), a pioneer of organic medicine and wholefoods.

  • Riz Casimir is a preparation of rice with curry sauce and minced pork blended with tropical fruits: pineapple, banana and cherries, sometimes with currant grape. It was first served in 1952 by the international chain of hotel and resorts.
  • LINK TO RIZ CASIMIR with photo step by step

Rösti: This simple dish, similar to hash browns, is traditionally regarded as a Swiss German favorite. It has given its name to the "Rösti ditch", the imaginary line of cultural demarcation between the German and French regions of Switzerland. However, it is also eaten by the French-speaking Swiss.

Tirggel are traditional Christmas Biscuits from Zurich. Made from flour and honey, they are thin, hard, and sweet.  
  • Zopf (bread): There are dozens of types of bread in Switzerland. However, Zopf is a typical Swiss specialty for Sundays.  

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

THE PA MELTING POT - Introduction to Ethnic CuIsine in western PA and more!

THE PA MELTING POT - Introduction to Ethnic Cuisine...:  A look at the evolution of food in southwestern  Pa. RECIPES - Introduction This introductory post contains recipes from early Southwestern PA

THE PA MELTING POT - Introduction to Ethnic Cuisine in western Pennsylvania: Recipes, Photos and Videos

 A look at the evolution of food in southwestern Pa.
RECIPES - Introduction

This introductory post contains recipes from early Southwestern PA before all the LARGE ethnic food groups became a major part of this area.  The dates under the recipes' titles show when the recipes actually occurred in print. There is a modern day counterpart link for each recipe. 

As a native (German, PA Dutch, Scotch-Irish & Welsh) of Southwestern PA & many time resident, visitor & student to Northwestern W VA & Southeastern Ohio, I have found many commonalities and much diversification in cuisine from this area.  

I grew up on Italian, German, Polish, PA Dutch (Deutsch) & other foods.  In this area your next door neighbor could be a a German or an Italian or a Serb, etc.  

There were lots of festivals for ethnic groups.  Some of the Native American residents who inhabited our region early on were the Eries, Senecas, Iroquois and Shawnees.  

Pre-1700 foods were nuts, berries, and roots. They hunted (bison, elk, deer, beaver & wild turkey) & fished. Common vegetables raised were corn, beans & squash.  As you can see these foods had an influence also on the foods of the area. 

14 ETHNIC immigrant groups have been identified as making up the “melting pot” of the area which is probably THE MAJOR “melting pot” in the USA.  These groups immigrated to the US from the 1700’s to the 1960’s.  These groups were the 

  • (1) Germans (from Bavaria, Alsace, Moravia, Switzerland, Bohemia, Holland, PA Dutch from several areas) 
  • (2) British (from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales), 
  • (3) Russians, 
  • (4) African-Americans (from the southern US), 
  • (5) Ukrainians, 
  • (6) Macedonians, 
  • (7) Bulgarians, 
  • (8) the western Europeans: Slovaks or Slavs (parts of countries of Slovakia, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Moravia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia ), 
  • (9) Italians, 
  • (10) Polish, 
  • (11) Jews from Poland, Germany 
  • (12) Native Americans 
  • (13) Scandinavian 
  • (14) Indians & other minor groups:  Swedish, French (first to settle but most immigrated to other areas after Washington chased them out), Spanish (Basques), Syrian, Chinese, etc. (These minor groups also contributed to the ethnic food of the area.)
This series of articles will focus on these immigrant groups and their cuisine THEN and NOW!!

(Remember, they didn't measure anything back then)

Potato Balls 1894

Mash some cooked potatoes with salt, pepper, butter and a little chopped parsley.  Roll into balls, dip in beaten egg, roll in bread crumbs & fry for a few minutes in hot butter. 

LINK to Modern Day Potato Balls

Stewed Celery 1894

Scrape & wash one or two heads of celery, cut the stalks into 2 " lengths & boil half an hour, or until tender, in salted water.  Drain off the water, pour over the celery sufficient cream sauce to cover; simmer a few moments & serve. 

LINK to Modern Day Stewed Celery

Squash 1796-1882

Take young, tender summertime squash & boil whole without peeling.  Use as little water as possible and cook until tender. Drain thoroughly, mash & set aside to dry out remaining moisture.  Stir occasionally, then season with salt, butter, pepper and a little cream.  If using old squash, remove the peel, take out seeds & slice & season and season as above.  Serve hot.  

LINK to Modern Day Squash Recipe

Cranberry Sauce 1893

 Wash & pick the berries, removing all imperfect ones. Put them in a porcelain kettle: to a quart of berries allow a pint of sugar.  Boil 10-15 minutes taking care not to mash the berries.  Pour into a deep dish or a mold.

No Link but here is my EASY personal recipe:
1 package frozen cranberries
1 orange
1 cup sugar or to taste (I make mine tart)

Put the defrosted cranberries and the cut up orange (skin and all after removing seeds, if any) into the food processor.  Process.  Add sugar and mix.  This is so simple it is unbelievable. I get asked to take it to every Thanksgiving & Christmas invite!!

Corn fritters 1893

  For corn fritters, either cooked or raw corn may be used. 
With 4 eggs (separated) and 8 ears of corn are needed.  Strip the corn from the cob.  
  • 1 TBSP of sugar
  • 1 TSP of salt
  • 1 pint of sweet milk
  • 1 TBSP of melted butter
  • 3 TBSP flour
  • NEXT
  • Whisk egg yolks until smooth
  • Stir the corn in slowly and
  • then the sugar, salt, flour, melted butter, milk and last of all the whipped egg whites (whipped into a stiff froth).
  • Heat a griddle
  • grease it lightly with butter, 
  • & drop the batter in tablespoonfuls.
  • Turn with cake turner (spatula).
  • NOTE:  The fritters must be quickly cooked and served very hot. 

LINK to Modern Day Corn Fritter Recipe with VIDEO

Oyster Stew 1700's

1 pt. oysters
2 cups milk, scalded
1 tablespoon butter

Put shucked oysters and liquid into a saucepan.   Heat about 5 minutes, or until oysters are plump and edges begin to curl.  Stir oyster mixture into the milk.  Add the butter and season to taste.  Serve immediately. 

Apple Dumplings 1700's

  NOTE:  Cooking was an adventure for people back then since they didn't always write down recipes nor quite follow modern day methods. 

Rich baking powder (no measurement given)
(couldn't find a definition for "rich" baking powder so I would just use what you normally use)
Biscuit dough (remember they didn't measure anything)
6 apples, medium size (I like tart so I would use Granny Smith 
but use any apple that will hold its shape)
1/2 cup brown sugar (Up to you whether you use light or dark; it certainly will affect the color)
1/2 TSP salt
1 TSP cinnamon
1 TSP nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins (use white or dark or a mixture for color)
1 TBSP butter

Prepare biscuit dough.  
(After looking at recipes this appears to be recipe for a two crust pie or your favorite recipe for biscuits.) 
Roll 1/4 inch thick and cut into squares: 6 x 6 (depending upon size of apples).
Pare and core apples & place one in each center of square. 
Fill each with a portion of the seasonings, sugar & raisins & dot with butter. 
Bring corners of the dough to the top of the apples & seal by pricking with a fork.  Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve with cream or milk.  

Sponge Cake  1890's

One large cup of sugar, four eggs beaten into a foam, three tablespoonfuls of milk, two teaspoonfuls of baking power, one large cup of flour, flavor with lemon.
This makes a small cake. It should be baked in a shallow, square pan and eaten fresh. Rich and delicious according to grandma.  Again no time frame for the  baking. 

Lemon Butter Late 1600's

Lemon butter is good for sweets and other foods.  I would spread on the pound cake or on the plain tea cakes or plain cookies.


Pumpkin Pie 1890's

One quart of pumpkin pressed through a sieve
Eight eggs (separated) beaten separately
Two scant quarts of sweet milk
One pint sugar
A teaspoonful each of butter, cinnamon and nutmeg. 
Beat together and bake in pie pans lined with rich pastry.  (No time frame on this)

Tea Cakes 1756


NOTE:  Recipe as written:  Of flour, sugar, a quarter of a pound of each and as much yolk of egg as will mix into a stiff paste.  Make them into round cakes the size of half a crown.  Below this line is a photo of a half crown (a British coin)

NOTE: I couldn't find an American coin that compared to it. 
I am guessing they are small or about the size of this coin!

Bake them in tins. Put some caraway seeds in them. 

Next part of The PA Melting Pot will be German Sects Part 1.  (The Germans from various parts of Europe were the largest immigrant group to this area.)