Chow chow, seven sweets and seven sours, funnel cakes, and shoofly pie….all quintessentially Amish culinary creations. Right? Wrong! And, hooray, someone else besides me is saying this now:)
Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch are two terms which are often erroneously interchanged. Pennsylvania Dutch is a broad umbrella term which encompasses a wide swath of Germans, French, and Swiss who settled in the US (primarily the Keystone State) in the 1700 and 1800s. These are Lutherans, Catholics, Moravians, and Anabaptists. Most Amish can be considered Pennsylvania Dutch, but not all Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish.
Professor William Woys Weaver demolishes much of the “fakelore” behind the hijacking of Pennsylvania Dutch cooking by the Amish (or more specifically tourist entities who had a lot to gain by attaching the Amish image to PA Dutch). The demolition is conducted in his fascinating new book As American as Shoofly Pie: The Foodlore and Fakelore of Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine. In his book, which is also packed with a bunch of mouthwatering, authentic PA Dutch recipes, he explains the myth behind the “seven sweet and sours” supposedly found on Amish supper tables. I’m so glad to have found William Woys Weaver and his book because I’ve been writing for years about some of the mythology behind Amish cooking. I’ve never once encountered an Amish cook who espouses a table of seven sweets and sours. Most haven’t even heard the term. It’s food “fakelore” as Weaver appropriately calls it. As an aside, this is not to say that Amish cooking isn’t SUPERB…give me a plate of Lovina’s warm cinnamon rolls any day! But there’s a lot of misinformation out there and Weaver is in a great position to academically dis-assemble the myths.
30 Percent Discount on As American As Shoofly Pie for our readers! To order copies, they can call the Penn State Press warehouse at 1.800.537.5487 and simply give the promo code P5N6 to the customer service agent. You can also log on to www.pennpress.org and enter the code P5N6