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~ The History & Four Recipes for Chicken & Waffles ~

Chicken and waffles might be well-known and popular throughout our American South and the Midwest, but, it does NOT have its roots in either venue.  It indisputably has its roots in the early Pennsylvania Deutsch communities that settled along the Schuylkill River.  Growing up in Pennsylvania Deutsch county, tender pulled-chicken served atop steamy-and-light hot-off-the-waffle-iron waffles all drizzled with gravy, it was a childhood favorite of mine.  Read on:

When you say PA Dutch, we correctly say PA Deutsch:

6a0120a8551282970b01a3fcafef88970bI am here to 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".  

In Pennsylvania Dutch country, chicken and waffles is a common Sunday supper (they call "dinner" "supper" there).  The concept most likely evolved from "fried catfish and waffle" dinners served in the Philadelphia area in eateries along the Schuykill River (whose supplying creeks were full of fresh catfish). The Schuylkill Hotel (founded in 1813) was the first well-known place, along with the Catfish and Waffle House, located at the Schuylkill Falls, which from 1848 into the early 1900's did a thriving business purely by word-of-mouth. It doesn't take much imagination to rationalize a reason for the people of the surrounding PA Dutch farming communities (a very close knit family-oriented people who kept to themselves and never went out to eat) to adopt this inexpensive style of hearty eating as their own by substituting perfectly-roasted or stewed farm-raised chickens served atop light and fluffy waffles.  It's a short leap to see them substituting fried chicken for fried catfish too -- to invent fried chicken and waffles --  and I am grateful for both.

Try my Pennsylvania Deutsch-style chicken & waffles...

6a0120a8551282970b01a73d6a5262970d... along w/my version of Southern-style fried chicken & waffles:

6a0120a8551282970b01a3fcb142e9970bKids & adults adore my easy RedHot chicken wings & waffles:

IMG_5302For a different twist, Thanksgiving turkey & stuffing waffles!

6a0120a8551282970b01b8d23f7cf3970c"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2022)


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