When visitors travel to Pennsylvania Dutch Country, they are encouraged to consume the local culture by way of "regional specialties" such as cream-filled whoopie pies and deep-fried fritters of every variety. Yet many of the dishes and confections visitors have come to expect from the region did not emerge from Pennsylvania Dutch culture but from expectations fabricated by local-color novels or the tourist industry. At the same time, other less celebrated (and rather more delicious) dishes, such as sauerkraut and stuffed pork stomach, have been enjoyed in Pennsylvania Dutch homes across various localities and economic strata for decades.
Celebrated food historian and cookbook writer William Woys Weaver delves deeply into the history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine to sort fact from fiction in the foodlore of this culture. Through interviews with contemporary Pennsylvania Dutch cooks and extensive research into cookbooks and archives, As American as Shoofly Pie offers a comprehensive and counterintuitive cultural history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, its roots and regional characteristics, its communities and class divisions, and, above all, its evolution into a uniquely American style of cookery. Weaver traces the origins of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine as far back as the first German settlements in America and follows them forward as New Dutch Cuisine continues to evolve and respond to contemporary food concerns. His detailed and affectionate chapters present a rich and diverse portrait of a living culinary practice-widely varied among different religious sects and localized communities, rich and poor, rural and urban-that complicates common notions of authenticity.
Because there's no better way to understand food culture than to practice it, As American as Shoofly Pie's cultural history is accompanied by dozens of recipes, drawn from exacting research, kitchen-tested, and adapted to modern cooking conventions. From soup to Schnitz, these dishes lay the table with a multitude of regional tastes and stories.