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~ When You Say PA Dutch, Why We Say PA Deutsch ~

IMG_5895Let me make it clear that Pennsylvania Dutch cookery does not belong solely to PA and it is not Dutch either.  The term "Dutch" was the early English settlers slang for the German word "Deutsch".  So:  When most people incorrectly say "Pennsylvania Dutch", they should be saying "Pennsylvania Deutsch", crediting the Germanic or German-speaking immigrants from Germany and Switzerland for this cuisine.  The majority of these people were either Amish, Mennonite or Brethren, all of which were considered "Anabaptist".  They were fleeing the mountains of Switzerland and southern Germany to avoid religious persecution and established several communites in the Lehigh Valley. Pennsylvania in general was a haven for them  Why?  Thank William Penn for his free-thinking, open-door, equal-opportunity-for-all of any religion or race politics.  Pennsylvania set an example for the other colonies, who all had established an official "State" religion. Pennsylvania was the first to welcome people of all beliefs and walks of life.

Pennsylvania - America's first "melting pot":

6a0120a8551282970b019afff1e930970cWilliam Penn (the man our state is named after), a Quaker, believed that everyone had the right to seek God in his or her own way, calling it "liberty of conscience".  He and other free thinkers of the time felt it would create a stronger government and a wealthier society.  Imagine that.  While all of the other colonies had established an official church, Mr. Penn decided not to do this with his. Instead, he extended an open invitation to any and all religious groups suffering oppression in Europe.  When they arrived, he gave everyone land, and, while only Christians could hold political office, any person (from any ethnic, racial or economic background) could take part in all the social activites and economic benifits PA offered. Pennsylvania became known for being America's diverse colony.

Folk-art-valentine-s-day-heart-love-wedding-birthday-greetings-card-vector-black-flowers-birds-isolated-white-72340859The first groups to arrive in Pennsylvania were German Quakers and Mennonites. They arrived in 1693 and named their settlement Germantown. Lutherans, Schwenkfelders, Dutch Reformed, Moravians and Swiss Amish soon followed.  By 1730, a large populous had established communities in Lancaster County. All these peoples fall into the category of PA Dutch because they were Deutsch (German) speaking. They arrived with food staples of their heritage that were brought because they would survive unspoiled over the long voyage:  pickled and fermented eggs and vegetables, various dried meats, grains and cured sausages, milled flour, brown sugar, molasses, lard, salt and various spices.  Upon their arrival in their new home, especially if it occurred in the Fall or Winter, they came prepared to make due with what they had in the larder until the next growing season.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)


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