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Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine Tour

Fri, 15 Mar 2013 09:15:23 CDT
By: Rachel Darling

Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine Tour Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine has long been a part of Anabaptist tradition and American history. Retired Illinois State Professor Robert Dirks has studied the curious history behind this cuisine and its evolution. Dirks says a classic example of this cuisine is Scrapple...


"Scrapple, people may know what that is, it's bits of pork, particularly from the head and the shank chopped up and mixed with cornmeal."

Dirks says Scrapple is often served for breakfast. Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine was brough to Central Illinois by immigrant, German-speaking farmers that adapted their rural recipes to North American frontier foods. He says those who brought the cuisine to the Midwest were not Dutch and not necessarily from Pennsylvania, but the name stuck as a catch all term for the recipes that developed among Anabaptist groups in America. Dirk says the unique cuisine has one commonality with others created in America...


"Well, Pennsylvannia Dutch tradition like all food traditions constantly changes."

Dirk says changes to Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine include switching from rye to wheat, using more sugar, and recently a form of vegetarianism has appeared. Prohibition profoundly effected the distilling culture of Mennonite groups and Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine by reducing its presence significantly. Dirks says the tourist industry has also had a clear impact on Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine...


"Increased use of sweetners in, in Pensylvannia Dutch and Pensylvannia and other parts of the Midwest has been due to commercialization."

Dirks says the changes come as an attempt to make the salty-sour element of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine more palatable to those outside of the tradition.

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