By Alan Keyser. Sauerkraut was one of the basic fermented foods prepared from a preserved vegetable. James Mease found, “In Pennsylvania it is a very fashionable dish among the Germans, and when prepared with neatness, is highly palatable, especially when eaten with salt pork.” (Don Yoder, “The Domestic Encyclopaedia of James Mease, M.D. 1804,” PennsylvaniaContinue reading “Sauerkraut”

The Pennsylvania German Herb Garden: Food and Medicine

By Diane Hollister. Title image: Drying lavender from the author’s garden. It’s early Autumn, and it’s time to collect and store the goodies from our garden. I’ve picked my lavender and hung it to dry. I’ve brought in basil, oregano, and other herbs to dry and store as well. I’m craving one more batch ofContinue reading “The Pennsylvania German Herb Garden: Food and Medicine”

Potatoes: The Dutchman’s Caviar

By Bob Wood. Title photo: Long rows of potatoes on the Wallace Moyer farm, Blooming Glen, Bucks County, 1931. Mennonite Heritage Center Collection. It seems that in the old days the Dutchmen lived on pork, cornmeal, and potatoes, with sometimes all three in the same recipe. In the folk-culture, the omnipresent potato was, and stillContinue reading “Potatoes: The Dutchman’s Caviar”

Apples, Apple Butter and Schnitz

By Sarah Heffner. Title image: Cooking apple butter, circa 1905. Photo by H. Winslow Fegley; Schwenkfelder Library & Heritage Center Collection. Living off the land Apples were one of the earliest horticultural crops grown in Pennsylvania by European settlers. An orchard of one to six acres was planted on each homestead as soon as landContinue reading “Apples, Apple Butter and Schnitz”

Remembering “Sunday Dinner”

By John Ruth. Title image: Dinner at the home of Marcus & Helen Clemens, circa 1952. Courtesy of John Ruth. The tradition of Sunday dinner with guests, thriving in our Mennonite (and larger) community as late as the early 1970’s, was an expression of a communal spirit. It was an equally culinary and sacramental SabbathContinue reading “Remembering “Sunday Dinner””

Modern Mending, Frugal Fashion

By Elizabeth Norris. Mending. A chore practically none of us do, or want to do, anymore. The thought of mending a piece of clothing conjures images of “little old ladies” sitting for hours, fixing holes in socks, worn knees and seats of pants. Maybe they’re sitting by firelight, kerosene lamp, or even candlelight, humming forgottenContinue reading “Modern Mending, Frugal Fashion”


By Candace Perry. When you consider the Pennsylvania Dutch as a people, some qualities readily come to mind: industriousness, practicality, and self-sufficiency. The one trait, however, that most often is attributed to them is thriftiness. From architecture to furnishings, to clothing, and of course, food, the Pennsylvania Dutch found frugal solutions to their daily challenges.Continue reading “Thrifty”

“Pennsylvanians call thee mush”

By Bob Wood. These words of the title appear in New Englander Joel Barlow’s 1793 satiric poem “The Hasty Pudding.” Corn meal mush was called “hasty pudding” in New England, “suppawn” in New York, and was a most common dish in all thirteen original colonies and later into the western frontier. Throughout Pennsylvania “Dutchdom,” mushContinue reading ““Pennsylvanians call thee mush””

A Bowl of Cherries

By Diane Hollister. Photos from Goschenhoppen Historians Pennsylvania Dutch Foodways Project, 2008 (unless otherwise noted). I don’t know about you, but in the middle of cold weather, I’m often thinking of warm summer days, my flowerbeds, my gardens, and being outdoors. I drool over garden catalogs and treasure my canned and frozen goodies. But there’sContinue reading “A Bowl of Cherries”

Pie for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner!

By Diane Hollister. Photos from Goschenhoppen Historians Pennsylvania Dutch Foodways Project, 2008. I’m married to Pie Boy. He loves his pie. He jokes that he’d eat it breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And that’s just what many of our Pennsylvania German ancestors did. In 1683, German immigrants began to arrive in the Penn’s colony seeking freedomContinue reading “Pie for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner!”