April 30, 2013
"As American as Shoofly Pie" by William Woys Weaver
I have to admit, this book was not really what I expected. I thought it was going to be a cookbook covering Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine with history scattered throughout. It is more like a history book with lots of recipes in the back half of the book. Pretty much everything you ever wanted to know about the history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is covered in this book. The origins are traced back as far as the first German settlements in America, and then followed forward as it evolves throughout American history. This book covers the roots, regional characteristics, communities and class divisions of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine.
The recipes are in alphabetical order, which felt very odd to me. You go from Almond Fingers to Amish Roast to Apple Schnitz and Dumplings. There is an index that lists the recipes by category on pg 276. The recipe themselves are very interesting. Some of them made me want to get into the kitchen and start cooking them immediately, while others made me want to turn the page as quickly as possible--Stuffed Pig Stomach, anyone? If you're looking for an actual cookbook of Pennsylvania Dutch recipes, you might want to look elsewhere as this is a pretty thick book, but if you want the history of Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine, this is the book for you.
I received a copy of this book from University of Pennsylvania Press for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.