By Fred J. Lauver
This article originally appeared in Pennsylvania Heritage Magazine
Volume XXXVIII, Number 3 - Summer 2012
Table at Pennsbury Manor.
PHMC Pennsbury Manor
One of the best ways to experience the Keystone State's history and heritage is to travel the Pennsylvania Trails of History®, a network of two dozen exciting historic sites and museums administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), the Commonwealth's official history agency. PHMC has organized its popular destinations into four main trails - Military History, Historic Homes, Industrial Heritage, and Rural Farm and Village History. For 2012 PHMC adopted "The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table" as its annual theme, and many museums and historic sites along the Trails are celebrating Pennsylvania's rich (and delectable) culinary traditions throughout the year with special offerings such as open hearth cooking demonstrations.
Visitors should consult each respective Web site or telephone the local site or museum directly to determine hours of operation, seasonal schedule, and special events and activities to time an arrival for the best possible experience. More information about these and other PHMC destinations is available on the Pennsylvania Trails of History website.
The Pennsylvania Trail of History Guide series, books published for each historic site and museum by PHMC and Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, brim with historic images, stunning contemporary photographs, themed histories, chronologies, and detailed information. Regional, ethnic, and traditional recipes were collected from Commission staff and volunteers for the Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook, published in 2004 by PHMC and Stackpole to accompany the series of guidebooks. Recipes in this feature originally appeared in this cookbook.
"It is really thrilling to be able to eat one's way across a state, especially one as long across and as historically rich as Pennsylvania," wrote internationally noted food historian William Woys Weaver, of Devon, Chester County, in his foreword to the Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook. "I cannot think of another place in America where we can taste the seventeenth-century flavors of a Swedish log cabin, the baroque delights of grand country houses, the steaming simplicity of coal miners' kitchens, the fare of oil fields, cloisters, or such politically important sites as Washington's Crossing or Bushy Run Battlefield." Weaver also observed, "No other state in America can claim the rich variety of regional dishes that have evolved in Pennsylvania; more than 100 foods are distinctive to the greater Philadelphia region alone, and that takes in only one small part of the state."
Readers are not only encouraged to explore the Pennsylvania Trails of History but to also sample the unusual fare at home.
Pennsbury Manor, the re-created country home of William Penn, Morrisville, Bucks County.
PHMC Pennsbury Manor
400 Pennsbury Memorial Rd.
Morrisville, PA 19067
Pennsbury Manor website
Pennsbury Manor, overlooking the Delaware River in Bucks County, was the country estate of William Penn (1644–1718), but Pennsylvania's founder enjoyed his American residence for only two relatively brief stays - from 1683 to 1684 and from 1700 to 1701 - totalling less than four years. In Pennsbury's kitchen gardens grew herbs, asparagus, carrots, parsnips, and flowers along with apple and peach trees. Red Devon cattle, sheep, chickens, and geese were also raised. The stately manor house was reconstructed in the late 1930s based on extensive archaeological investigations.
A bake and brew house at Pennsbury accommodates foodways demonstrations in the kitchen using seventeenth-century recipes to prepare breads, meats, and vegetables. The recipes of Penn's first wife, Gulielma, who died in 1694, were collected before Penn's second voyage to Pennsylvania.
Culinary events at Pennsbury include an Open Hearth Cooking Series on July 15, August 19, September 16, October 21, and November 18. Garden Highlights programs will be held on July 22, August 26, and September 23. (Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Sure to please even the most discriminating of palates are Shreed Pyes (Lamb Pies).
Shreed Pyes (Lamb Pies) recipe
- 2 cups cooked lamb, shredded in small pieces
- 3 dates, sliced
- 1 apple, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup currants
- 1 teaspoon caraway seed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons rose flower water
- 1/2 cup water or lamb broth
- 1 piecrust
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon water
Mix all but the last three ingredients in a large bowl. Put the mixture in a 11/2 quart casserole and cover with piecrust. Mix egg yolk with water and brush on the crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Makes four servings.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
Wine glasses at Washington Crossing. Craig A. Benner
1112 River Rd.
Washington Crossing, PA 18977
Washington Crossing Historic Park website
One of the most famous moments in American history was the crossing of the Delaware River by General George Washington and his troops on December 25, 1776, during the War for Independence. Visitors to Washington Crossing Historic Park in Bucks County can watch an annual reenactment of the famous crossing each year on Christmas Day. The 500-acre park includes two sections - McConkey Ferry, the location of the actual crossing, and Thompson's Mill, the location of the circa 1730s Thompson-Neely House, Bowman's Hill Tower, and the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve.
Continental Army soldiers were lucky to receive half of their daily rations of meat (usually beef or pork), bread, dried beans or peas, and rum or beer. Local farmers and residents helped augment scarce supplies by donating whatever they could spare. To help preserve the precious commodities, vegetables were dried and meats were heavily salted. Soldiers often boiled the meat and vegetables to make a stew and softened their hardtack in broth or hot water.
Culinary events include open hearth cooking demonstrations on July 4, 2012 and on future dates to be announced. The park has partnered with American Heritage Chocolate, the historic division of Mars Inc., to present workshops in autumn highlighting the use of chocolate in eighteenth-century recipes.
Martha Washington's Rum Punch is bound to quench a thirst!
Martha Washington's Rum Punch recipe
- 1 orange, quartered
- 3 lemons, quartered
- 3 cinnamon sticks, broken
- 6 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 4 ounces simple syrup
- 4 ounces lemon juice
- 4 ounces fresh orange juice
- 12 ounces boiling water
- 3 ounces white rum
- 3 ounces dark rum
- 3 ounces orange curaçao
- Lemon and orange wheels (for garnish)
In a container mash the orange, lemons, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the syrup and lemon and orange juices. Pour boiling water over the mixture. Let it cool. When cool, add white rum, dark rum, and orange curaçao. Strain the mixture well into a pitcher or punch bowl. Serve the punch over ice in goblets. Decorate it with wheels of lemon and orange. Makes six to ten servings.
Hope Lodge's kitchen is furnished in eighteenth-century style.
Craig A. Benner
553 S. Bethlehem Pike
Fort Washington, PA 19034
Hope Lodge website
Located in Montgomery County, Hope Lodge, built between 1743 and 1748, is one of the finest examples of preserved Georgian architecture in Pennsylvania. It offers two and a half centuries of fascinating domestic and social history. The original kitchen no longer exists, but a two-story kitchen addition was built in 1797-1798. In the cellar of the mansion, owners kept wine, beer, ale, cider, cured and smoked meats, cheeses, vegetables, and fruits. Another cellar room kept dairy products where a trough allowed water to flow through the room to cool the perishable items.
Special events include the annual Whitemarsh Encampment, which features Revolutionary War era cooking demonstrations, during the weekend of November 3-4, 2012. Virtual tours of kitchen and food storage cellars are available on Hope Lodge's website.
Enjoy this recipe for hearty Colonial Philadelphia Black Bean Soup.
Colonial Philadelphia Black Bean Soup recipe
- 2 cups dried black beans
- 2 quarts water
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 3 celery ribs, chopped
- 1/8 teaspoon thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon allspice
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard seed
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 ham hock
- 1/4 cup sherry
- 2 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
- 1 lemon
Soak the beans in cold water and cover overnight. Drain well and add the two quarts of water, vegetables, seasonings, and the ham hock. Bring it to a boil and cook over low heat for two hours or until the beans are tender. Remove the ham, cut it in small pieces, and set it aside. Puree the soup in a blender or food processor and return it to the pot. Add the sherry and meat. Taste the soup and adjust seasonings if desired. If the soup is too thick add water. Serve in a bowl with a slice of egg atop a slice of lemon floating on the surface. Makes six to eight servings.
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum enthralls visitors with demonstrations of nineteenth-century agrarian skills at the 100-acre living history complex in Lancaster. PHMC Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum
2451 Kissel Hill Rd.
Lancaster, PA 17601
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum website
Landis Valley Village and Farm Museum, one of Lancaster County's most popular attractions, offers the experience of rural and Pennsylvania German living history. Visitors will enjoy historic buildings, heritage farm animals and plants, about seventy-five thousand farm, craft, and household objects, and programs featuring crafts demonstrations, farming, an eighteenth-century log farm, the 1879 Landis House, and many exhibits.
Landis Valley's famous Heirloom Seed Project involves staff, volunteers, and experts who have preserved, tested, and documented more than two hundred varieties of vegetable, herb, and ornamental plants. A yearly catalogue offers heritage seeds for sale and includes detailed growing information, all at an affordable cost to gardeners.
Enjoy a number of activities at Landis Valley, including Civil War Days on July 28–29; Ice Cream Sundays on September 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30; Harvest Days on October 13–14; and ongoing tours highlighting gardens at the 100-acre complex. (Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Landis Valley suggests Chicken Pot Pie for cool evenings and family suppers.
Chicken Pot Pie recipe
- 3- to 4-pounds whole chicken
- 2 quarts water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch saffron
- 3 to 4 potatoes, diced
- 3 carrots, coarsely cubed
- 2 small onions, diced
Cook the chicken in salted water with saffron until tender. Remove the chicken to cool. To the boiling broth, add potatoes, carrots, and onion. Cook for 15 minutes. Debone the cooled chicken and set aside.
Pot Pie Dough
- 11/4 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons water
Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat the eggs with water. With a fork, work the eggs into the flour, salt, and baking powder to make a stiff dough. Add more water if the mix is too dry. Roll the dough out onto a floured board until thin and cut it into two-inch squares. Drop dough squares into boiling broth a few at a time and cook about 20 more minutes. Stir in chicken pieces and heat through. Makes six servings.
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
Traveling and dining in style on American railroads circa 1925. PHMC Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania
300 Gap Rd.
Strasburg PA 17579
Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania website
Railroading epitomizes the modernization and growth of Pennsylvania as an industrial power. The Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, also in Lancaster County, boasts a world-class collection of railcars, locomotives, and exhibits, objects, artifacts, and ephemera that tell the story of Pennsylvania’s railroads.
In the early days of train travel, eating was chaotic at best. During the first half of the nineteenth century, vendors sold chicken, hardboiled eggs, hams, locally grown fruit, peanuts, soft drinks, coffee, and desserts to hungry travelers reaching out of passenger car windows. Often the food was described as bad tasting and rancid, and lingering odors attracted flies. Although railroad companies built or licensed restaurants at station stops, the train schedule forced passengers to rush from trains, jostle one another to place their orders, eat quickly, and hurry back to their seats before departure. The stops were derided as “indigestion houses.”
The first railroad dining car appeared in 1862 and by 1927 the dining car, complete with kitchen, had become a regular part of train travel. The five-star hotel ambience helped make train travel enjoyable, with meals prepared by trained chefs, and served impeccably by courteous waiters on linen tablecloths. The passing scenery was a bonus.
The museum is presenting an exhibit entitled The Role of Railroads in Pennsylvania During the Civil War, on view through December 30, and the Members Day banquet speaker will be Stephen Fried, author of Appetite for America: Fred Harvey and the Business of Civilizing the Wild West – One Meal at a Time , on September 30. Rolling stock at the museum includes the Lotos Club car, an elegant eight-section combination restaurant and sleeper with a solarium lounge, built in 1913 by the Pullman Company and used on many railroads, including the Pittsburgh and Lake Erie. ( Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Chicken Creole Soup was a popular dish served by the Reading Railroad Company to its passengers.
Chicken Creole Soup recipe
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 green peppers, finely chopped
- 2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 quarts chicken stock
- 1 whole pimiento, julienned
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 cup cooked chicken, finely diced
- 1/2 cup flour
- salt and pepper to taste
In a 4-quart saucepan combine onion, peppers, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Bring them to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Then add pimiento, rice, and chicken and heat through. Add flour, stirring constantly to thicken. Season it with salt and pepper. The finished soup will be a creamy pink color, with red pimientos and green peppers floating on top. Makes eight servings.
Pennsylvania Military Museum
World War I rolling field kitchen on display at Pennsylvania Military Museum. PHMC Pennsylvania Military Museum
602 Boalsburg Pike
Boalsburg, PA 16827
Pennsylvania Military Museum website
Honoring and remembering Pennsylvania men and women of the United States armed forces and the wars in which they fought are among the primary roles of the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Centre County. PHMC is dedicated to interpreting Pennsylvania's military history, including the 28th Infantry Division National Shrine, and celebrating the courage and contributions of its citizen-soldiers.
During World War II, food rationing became a necessity on the homefront and encouraged creativity among cooks to prepare nutritious meals. Substitutions included poultry, fish, peanuts, and soybeans for red meat; honey, syrup, and sweet homegrown fruits for granulated sugar; and an increased consumption of cheese and eggs. Because fruits and vegetables were in short supply, citizens were encouraged to grow their own victory gardens. Scraps were less likely to be thrown out and, instead, used in preparing the next meals.
On August 4, the museum will host a Boot Camp for Kids with an MRE lunch (registration deadline is July 6), and a "Then and Now" military timeline program on September 8–9. A World War I rolling kitchen is on exhibit, and special exhibit cases and panels highlight combat rations from various twentieth-century conflicts. (Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
The Pennsylvania Military Museum's Spaghetti Sauce added to pasta is an ideal comfort food and helps stretch budgets.
Spaghetti Sauce recipe
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 can water
- 2 tablespoon butter
- onion salt
- salt and pepper
- grated cheese
Cook meat throughly in a large skillet and drain any grease. Then add tomato paste and water. Add butter, lots of oregano, a little onion salt, some salt and pepper and mix. Sprinkle grated cheese on top. Cook for about ten minutes on high. Lower heat and simmer for about fifteen minutes. Serve over cooked pasta. Makes six servings.
Somerset Historical Center
At Somerset Historical Center, the 1798 log house's main room is the kitchen, which the family would have also used as parlor, bed chamber, and workspace. Art Becker
10649 Somerset Pike
Somerset, PA 15501
Somerset Historical Center website
Western Pennsylvania, especially before 1820, represented the frontier for settlers. To understand the region's history, a visit to the Somerset Historical Center is essential. Historic log cabins, along with artifacts from past centuries are all part of the complex. Structures at the site include a 1770s farmstead and settler's cabin, a 1795 farmhouse, smoke house, detached kitchen, and barn; the Walter's Mills covered bridge, built 1859; and an 1860s maple sugar camp, the site of maple sugaring workshops held every February. Prior to the construction of a national memorial nearby at Shanksville, Somerset Historical Center collected and archived artifacts left by the public at the site of the September 11, 2001, horrific crash of United Airlines Flight 93.
Don't miss the exhibit Made in Somerset County, which opens June 23 and runs through the summer; Mountain Craft Days, September 7–9; and continuing exhibits on dairying, maple sugaring, food production, farmsteads, summer kitchen, gardens, cider press, and a maple sugar camp. (Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Maple Sugar Pie is guaranteed to please a sweet tooth.
Maple Sugar Pie recipe
- 3 eggs
- 2 cups maple sugar
- 2 cups white sugar
- 12 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups milk
- melted butter
Beat the eggs. Add the sugars, flour, milk, and a little melted butter. Pour the mix into an unbaked piecrust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes, until an inserted knife comes out clean.
Old Economy Village
Authentically costumed guides and interpreters at Old Economy Village harvest grapes as Harmonists would have done in the nineteenth century. PHMC Old Economy Village
270 Sixteenth St.
Ambridge, PA 15003
Old Economy Village website
In 1804, George Rapp (1757-1847), an immigrant from Germany, brought his pietistic group known as the Harmony Society to Butler County in western Pennsylvania where members settled the community of Harmony. The Harmonists then moved to Indiana for ten years but returned to Pennsylvania in 1824 to establish Economy in present-day Ambridge.
The Harmony Society was one of the most successful business and industrial stories in the Commonwealth’s history. Its silk factory and textile products earned enough cash for leaders to purchase sizeable interests in five railroads and to pioneer in the oil business. In 1921, the site was opened as a museum and today Old Economy Village and its buildings continue to offer a fascinating and accurate glimpse into early nineteenth-century Harmonist life.
One custom of the Harmonists was the practice of the Love Feast. Members would gather in the feast hall as a day-long observance of communal harmony. In 1832, to help heal a schism, a Love Feast took place as often as three times a week. It’s believed that feast dishes included beef stew, pork, or lamb, and rice or spaetzel.
Visitors won’t want to miss Erntefest Harmonist Harvest Festival, September 29-30; Oktoberfest, October 13; Breakfast with the Belsnickel, December 2; and Christmas at the Village, December 8-9. The site conducts ongoing tours of culinary-related buildings and structures and foodways demonstrations. ( Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Old Economy’s Roast Beef will grace any table.
Roast Beef recipe
- 4- to 5-pound beef brisket (or similar cut of meat)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bottle burgundy red wine
- 1 medium onion
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- bouquet of fine herbs, dried or fresh: tarragon,
- chervil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme
- 1 pound carrots, chopped
- 1 pound seedless grapes, any variety
- 2 tablespoons sugar
Season the meat with salt and pepper and place it in a pot. Cover the meat with wine. Add onion, parsley, ginger, and fine herbs. Let it simmer for two to four hours, depending on the size of the meat. Add carrots one and one-half hours before the meat is done simmering. To prepare a glaze for the meat, crush grapes and strain through a cloth. Pour the juice and sugar into a pan and dissolve the sugar. Heat until the juice thickens. When the meat has finished cooking, lay it on a serving platter and arrange carrots around it. Pour the glaze over the meat and serve. Makes six to eight servings.
Drake Well Museum and Park
Replica of Edwin L. Drake's engine house and derrick at Drake Well Museum and Park. PHMC Drake Well Museum and Park
202 Museum Ln.
Titusville, PA 16354
Drake Well Museum and Park website
On August 27, 1859, Edwin L. Drake struck oil at Titusville in northwestern Pennsylvania and so began the frenzied "black gold" rush. Pennsylvania led the country in oil production until the introduction of the internal combustion engine and demand outstripped the supply for crude.
Drake Well Museum and Park in Venango County interprets the modern petroleum industry and Titusville's role as the birthplace of the world's oil industry. The 240-acre site includes a replica of Drake's original first oil well, museum exhibits and dioramas, oil industry tools, machinery, and vehicles. The McClintock Oil Well No.1, located between Oil City and Titusville, drilled in 1861 and today operated by Drake Well Museum and PHMC, is the world's oldest continuously operating oil well.
As part of the Drake Well experience and just six miles away is Pithole City, a boom town which in less than a year burgeoned to a community of fifteen thousand residents with two banks, fifty hotels, and the third largest post office in volume in Pennsylvania. As the oil dwindled so too did Pithole and none of the original buildings and structures remain. Its culinary heritage centers on oysters, wildly popular during Pithole's peak. Patrons would step up to oyster bars and consume them as quickly as they were served. Packed in sawdust and ice that melted before arrival, the oysters survived the long wagon journey from the Chesapeake Bay to northwestern Pennsylvania in edible condition.
Events at Drake Well include the opening of a long-term exhibit There's a Drop of Oil and Gas in Your Life Every Day scheduled for late September 2012.
Recall the boom days of Pennsylvania's petroleum industry with Oyster Stew.
Oyster Stew recipe
- 2 quarts oysters and liquor
- 8 cups milk, scalded
- 4 tablespoons butter
- salt and pepper to taste
Heat the oysters in their liquor about five minutes until the edges curl. Skim off the top of the liquor. Combine the oysters and liquor with the scalded milk. Add butter to the broth and season to taste. Serve the stew immediately. Makes four servings.
Pensylvania Lumber Museum
The re-created mess hall at the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum in Galeton. PHMC Pensylvania Lumber Museum
5660 U.S. Route 6
Galeton, PA 16922
Pennsylvania Lumber Museum website
Great forests once covered 90 percent of Pennsylvania. The trees provided masts for ships, logs for cabins and dwellings, wood for furniture, and, of course, fuel for heating and cooking. Today little of the original old growth forests remain. Indiscriminate cuttings stripped the land bare in many places until conservation instituted sustainable logging.
In Potter County the Pennsylvania Lumber Museum, open seasonally from April through October, offers exhibits and demonstrations to illustrate the history of lumbermen and the logging industry. The museum grounds give visitors a sense of being in a lumber camp – everything from the train engine house, sawmill, and educational walking trail to the mess and bunk hall, log loader, blacksmith shop, and an original cabin used by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). In the 1930s Pennsylvania was a leader in establishing CCC camps and replanting state forests. The annual Bark Peelers’ Convention (this year on July 7-8, 2012) reenacts the Fourth of July gatherings by woodsmen more than a century ago.
Feeding lumberjacks meant providing 8,000 to 12,000 calories per man per workday. Bad food would drive lumberjacks away to other camps. Breakfast might include eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, biscuits, donuts, and coffee or tea. Lunches were taken to the men by sled or rail handcar close to the worksite. Generally, meat, potatoes, vegetables, and dessert were served for dinner. The men ate meals quickly in silence to help prevent fights in an ethnically diverse labor camp during which arguments frequently erupted.
Lumberjack Pancakes will satisfy even the hungriest of woodhicks.
Lumberjack Pancakes recipe
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
- 11/2 to 2 cups flour
Using a wire whisk, mix together buttermilk, eggs, and baking soda. Add salt, oil, and wheat germ. Mix flour to thicken. For thinner pancakes, add more buttermilk. Makes three to six pancakes.
Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
Eckley Miners' Village
Kitchen of a typical miner's house in a company town in northeastern Pennsylvania circa 1930. PHMC Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum
22 Bald Mountain Rd.
Scranton, PA 18504
Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum website
Eckley Miners' Village
2 Eckley Main St.
Weatherly, PA 18255
Eckley Miners' Village website
About 75 percent of the world's supply of anthracite (or hard coal) lies in four basins within a five hundred square mile area of northeastern Pennsylvania. In the late nineteenth century anthracite was the most important energy source in the country.
The Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum, Lackawanna County, interprets the history of the anthracite region, mining technology, immigration and ethnicity, organized labor, related businesses, and formation of communities. The museum also maintains an outstanding archive of primary and secondary research materials. Fifty miles south of the museum, Eckley Miners' Village in Luzerne County combines an 1870s coal patch town with a bit of late twentieth-century Hollywood. In 1969 The Molly Maguires, a motion picture starring Sean Connery, Richard Harris, and Samantha Eggar, was filmed at Eckley. Based on a novel by Pennsylvania native Arthur H. Lewis, directed by Martin Ritt, and scored by Henry Mancini, the movie is a social drama telling the story of undercover agent James McParlan (portrayed by Harris) dispatched by the Pinkerton Detective Agency to a nineteenth-century coal mining community to expose a purported secret society of Irish-American workers battling exploitation by mine owners and superintendents. Millions of dollars spent by Paramount Pictures - which also erected a coal breaker as a movie prop - saved the village from scheduled destruction.
At the end of each work day coal miners with ravenous appetites returning to their modest homes were greeted by the aroma of simmering beef and cabbage, sausage, sauerkraut, or pasta. The kitchen with its glowing coal stove was the center of family life and activities such as family talks, laundry, bathing, sewing, children playing, and school homework.
The Anthracite Heritage Museum will host Lithuanian Heritage Day on August 5 and a Gamanfa Ganu Welsh cookies fundraiser on September 1–3. Eckley Miners' Village presents Armed Forces Tribute Weekend on July 13–15, and a Living History and Civil War Weekend on August 18–19. (Note: all dates are for events in 2012)
Regional favorites suggested by the Pennsylvania Anthracite Heritage Museum and Eckley Miners' Village are Pierogi and Halupki.
- 3 1/4 cups flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup water
- Dash salt
- 1 pound farmers cheese
- 1 egg yolk
- dash salt
Mix the egg into the flour; add salt and as much water as needed to form a soft, pliable dough. Roll dough out very thinly and cut into 3-inch squares. Mix together filling ingredients. Place about 1 teaspoon filling on each square, then fold the dough over the filling to make a triangle. Pinch edges together. Cook for 5 minutes in boiling salted water. Remove and drain. Serve with 1 large onion, chopped and sautéed in 1/2 cup butter. Makes four to six servings.
1 head cabbage
- 1 cup uncooked rice
- 2 cups water
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vinegar
- 1 can tomato puree
- cabbage water
Cook cabbage leaves and drain. Set liquid aside. Cook rice in water for 5 minutes. Combine ground beef, onion, parsley, salt, and pepper. Add rice to meat mixture. Add eggs. Place small amount of mixture on cabbage leaf and roll up. Place in roaster pan. Mix vinegar into tomato puree and pour over cabbage rolls. Add just enough cabbage water to cover. Cook for one hour at 325 degrees. Makes six servings.
Hankering for potato scones? Raised buckwheat griddle cakes? Scrapple? Baked corn custard? Applesauce spice cake? Old-fashioned root beer?
The Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook contains 160 historically accurate recipes for traditional appetizers, relishes, salads, pickles, soups, breads, main dishes, vegetables and sides, desserts, and beverages. Some of the more unusual regional and ethnic recipes include fruktsoppa (a Swedish fruit soup), wigs (buns flavored with caraway seeds, nutmeg, cloves, and mace), gumbis (a layered casserole of cabbage, onions, and apples, to which is often added ham or bacon), lothians (barley pudding), and cherry bounce (a sweet alcoholic beverage dating to George Washington's day).
There are also recipes for dandelion salad with cooked dressing, onion dumplings, mush muffins, Cornish pasties, pig stomach, venison pie, kedgere, ginger beer, colcannon, burnt sugar cake, mixed fruit brulee and, of course, that iconic Pennsylvania German staple, shoo fly pie.
In addition to tantalizing recipes and stunning images, the cookbook also contains a menu for an eighteenth-century harvest dinner and sidebars discussing the feeding of Revolutionary War soldiers, Pennsylvania Dutch traditions, hunting with frontiersman Daniel Boone, Pennsylvania’s ethnic mixing bowl, Native American foodways, public houses and taverns, and food preservation.
Copies of the Pennsylvania Trail of History Cookbook can be purchased at the State Museum Shop, 300 North St., in downtown Harrisburg, or online at ShopPAHeritage.com. Guidebooks to the historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History, published by PHMC and Stackpole Books, can also be purchased on the Pennsylvania Trail of History Guides collection at ShopPAHeritage.com.
For Further Reading
Benson, Evelyn, ed. Pennsbury Manor Cookbook: Adapted from the Recipes of Gulielma Penn. Darby, Pa.: Diane Publishing Company, 2008.
Corr, Anne Quinn. Seasons of Central Pennsylvania: A Cookbook. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.
Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania Railroad Dining Car Department Cooking and Service Instructions. Strasburg, Pa.: Friends of the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania, 1994.
Hazan, Ann, and Irina Smith. The Reading Terminal Market Cookbook. Philadelphia: Camino Books, 2001.
Landis Valley Associates. The Landis Valley Cookbook: Pennsylvania German Foods and Traditions. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2009.
Matuszewski, Barbara Bell. Bounty on the Brandywine: A Heritage of Natural Beauty, History, Art, and Fine Food. Wilmington, Del.: Middle Atlantic Press, 1988.
Nunley, Debbie, and Karen Jane Elliott. A Taste of Pennsylvania History: A Guide to Historic Eateries and Their Recipes. Winston-Salem, N.C.: John F. Blair, 2000.
Ware, Mark D. Spotza, Keelers and Stirred Sugar: The Maple Sugar Industry of Southwestern Pennsylvania. Somerset, Pa.: Historical and Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania, 2006.
Weaver, William Woys. Country Scrapple: An American Tradition. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2003.
_____. Pennsylvania Dutch Country Cooking. New York: Artabras Publishers, 1997.
_____. Sauerkraut Yankees: Pennsylvania Dutch Foods and Foodways. Mechanicsburg, Pa.: Stackpole Books, 2002.
Fred J. Lauver is former assistant editor of and a past contributor to Pennsylvania Heritage.
The editor thanks Amy Killpatrick Fox of PHMC's Bureau of Historic Sites and Museums for her assistance in obtaining dates and times of special events and activities planned by the historic sites and museums along the Pennsylvania Trails of History.