Sharing the love of Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks

Today’s letter comes in response to this February post on a cookbook I borrowed from friend and local 4-H helper extraordinaire Mary Jo Kraft, who is as Dutch as they come.

The letter is from Polly Meisenhelder, who has the same cookbook!

She writes, “My husband gifted me ‘The Art of Pa. Dutch Cooking’ on Nov. 5, 1977. The paper cover is gone except for the title and picture glued on. The spine is broken, lots of pages loose but/and it is still used almost every day. Friends think I’m a good cook!!”

I’m going to have to get my own copy of this book, it sure sounds like!

Just for fun, here’s a recipe from the aforementioned book that I’m going to try soon with the cornmeal in my pantry.

If you try it – let me know what you think!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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2 Responses to Sharing the love of Pennsylvania Dutch cookbooks

  1. Jim Fahringer says:

    Oh, I love corn meal mush with milk and sugar. I actually like it better than oatmeal. My mother and grandmother would also pour it into those small metal loaf pans and let it dry for days until it became solid. They would then slice it and fry it in a skillet and pour molasses or corn syrup over it. Sometimes they would add “puddin” -ground up meat from the butcher shop into the cornmeal mush and fry it. It was then called “Pan Haus” sp.

    During my first year of teaching at North Hills Elementary School we were studying a unit on American Indians and talked about the gift of corn. I found out that most of my kids never tasted cornmeal mush. So I decided that I would buy cornmeal and prepare mush for every student in my class. Not being a cook, I did not know how much cornmeal to buy. I wanted to have enough, so I bought 15 pounds. One afternoon I took my class down to the school cafeteria’s kitchen and pulled out the huge stainless steel cooking kettle. I filled it three quarters full of water and proceeded to boil it. Once the water began to boil I added my first five-pound bag of cornmeal. The mixture didn’t look very thick, so I added another five-pound bag of cornmeal. The mixture still didn’t look thick enough. So I added my last five-pound bag of cornmeal and allowed the mixture to boil for several minutes. No one ever instructed me on the swelling ability of cornmeal. As the cornmeal continued to boil suddenly I realized than cornmeal expands to four or five times its original volume when boiled in water. The contents of the large stainless steel cooking kettle (almost three feet high) began to expand rather rapidly. Now I had a problem – the cornmeal mush began erupting out over the top of the kettle and down all over the top of the gas range. That day I recognized that I was not a cook and unfortunately I didn’t learn basic physic theory either. Little did I know that my cornmeal mush cooking experiment that day would turn into a perfect erupting volcano model for my students !

  2. DianneB says:

    This was standard breakfast food for many of us. Whether served as mush with syrup and a dot of butter or fan fried, it’s delicious. There is very little difference between PA Dutch mush and polenta. Ben Franklin thought it was lovely to eat this while sitting fireside.

    If you’re a bit more daring, LIGHTLY toast the cornmeal under the broiler before cooking. Cornmeal is FLAMMABLE, so be very careful if you decide to lightly toast it!!

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