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As American as Shoofly Pie: The Foodlore and Fakelore of Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine Hardcover – April 5, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (April 5, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812244796
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812244793
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #169,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Weaver seems to have had a ripping good time unmasking the fake Pennsylvania Dutch tourist culture, with its hex signs (bogus) and windmiills (faux) and buffets designed to fill up busloads of tourists on a budget. . . . At the same time, Weaver has taken seriously his mission to rediscover the foods of his ancestors, interviewing hundreds of people over 30 years."—NPR's The Salt

About the Author

William Woys Weaver is an independent food historian and author of numerous books, including Culinary Ephemera: An Illustrated History and Sauerkraut Yankees: Pennsylvania Dutch Food and Foodways. He also directs the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism and maintains the Roughwood Seed Collection for heirloom food plants.

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Customer Reviews

Like the historical background information presented.
James Giamotti
Also interesting to learn about the way the PA Dutch cuisine was represented by the Amish, largely due to tourist promotions.
petals
One cannot simply buy whatever Pa Dutch cook books catches one's eye without first reading this book on the subject.
s. kovacs

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By SandrasKitchenNook on April 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By s. kovacs on June 24, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent history and background on PA Dutch/German cooking. Recipes appear to be an accurate reflection of traditional local foods. I have been trying for 3 yrs to understand what is Pa Dutch cooking -I've eaten an unbelievable variety here in SW Pa. This well written book answers my search. One cannot simply buy whatever Pa Dutch cook books catches one's eye without first reading this book on the subject. I don't think the local PA Dutch themselves understand the impact of tourism eating that has affected them and their cooking! I can't wait for Fall to seek out the church/fire house dinners to taste the real PA Dutch cooking. The Kutztown Festival next week will be a real eye opener for us.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am PA Dutch by heritage and there were so many things I didn't know about where the foods originated and all the different variations. Going to Dietrich's Meats in Berks county to get some good homemade smoked meats. Yummy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Critic at large on August 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the third book by William Woys Weaver on PA Dutch (German) cooking. It's not just an historical cookbook, nor is it a look at the culinary aspects of Palatine-derived German regional culture that arose in southeastern PA during the 19th century. It's both of these and more. Weaver, a PA based noted food historian and heirloom gardening expert of Mennonite background, gives his take on the foodlore and fakelore associated with the cuisine.

Where to begin? The dust jacket is a good place. Pictured are iconic items relating to popularized versions of PA Dutch (German) culture and cuisine. By the time you finish reading the book, you should be able to understand his choice of the items pictured. You will also come away with an appreciation of the diversity of PA Dutch food and the many ways in which it has been falsely or incompletely represented. You will learn of the association in popular culture with the Amish, who are a religious sect, and one that in many ways is atypical of the broader range of PA Dutch sub-cultures. You will become aware of the various social forces and history that have shaped the views of many to give the ludicrous highly marketed (and frequently inaccurate) image of the PA Dutch cultures and their cuisine(s).

As documented by Weaver, the subcultures that gave rise to this regional culture and cuisine were all Germanic (aka High Dutch) in origin, but diverse, arriving in PA over a period of time, and included not just German speakers from the Palatine, but also from Swabia, Hesse, Alsace and Switzerland. One learns not just about Mennonites and the Amish subgroup, but also about the church people (Lutheran, Reformed and Moravians) as well as sectarian groups no longer commonly known to the general public.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Victoria Rumble on June 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't recommend any of Mr. Weaver's books highly enough. This one was no exception - well researched and well written
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Betsi Campbell on April 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Being Pennsylvania Dutch, I always like to read new treatises on the subject. This book taught me a lot about my background and made me realize that my grandmother's cooking was pure Pa. Dutch. The recipes are some of the most authentic I have ever seen and I have many cookbooks on this subject.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By petals on November 13, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Received this as a gift and it was a fascinating read. I wanted some recipes, but I was really more interested in the history of the cuisine. Weaver is a gifted write, using what I like to refer to as "personal academic" style: very thorough, well researched, but with a touch of his own self (writing in the first person, commenting on some incidents in his own personal history). I haven't tried the recipes yet, but I plan to! Having grown up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, I was startled to find that some of my own beliefs about the food were simply wrong. Whoopie pies, for example, are thought of as PA Dutch or Amish, yet they are from New England. I was also fascinated to learn about the way that the food reflected socioeconomic class (as in the discussion of the Buckwheat Dutch). Also interesting to learn about the way the PA Dutch cuisine was represented by the Amish, largely due to tourist promotions. This is a book for anyone interested in food history.
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