In this combination memoir and family cookbook blogger and novelist Kathleen Valentine combines 30 posts from her blog with nearly 400 recipes collected from family and friends. Growing up in a "mostly Pennsylvania Dutch" family she collected and recorded recipes from grandparents, great-grandparents, aunts, cousins, friends, etc. which were combined in the first Valentine Family & Friends Cookbook published in 1981. This was expanded in the 1992 edition and now, in this third edition, nearly 400 recipes combine with essays recording memories of growing up in rural Pennsylvania and photographs from six generations.
Essays topics include making sauerkraut and soltz (sultz)
(a German pickled meat loaf), toasting marshmallows and catching fireflies, the old-country Christmas traditions of making stollen and visits from Belsnickle, old world ghost stories, their grandmother's quilts, and more.
Traditional family recipes include schmarn, panhaas, moultasha
, a variety of sausage recipes, hassenpfeffer
, and liver dumplings, a wide variety of pickles and relishes, as well as keuchels
(a type of fried dough), apple dumplings, and rhubarb crisps and pies. Contemporary recipes from the younger generations of the Valentine family expand the collection with everything from dips and cocktails to chowders, cakes and cookies. Among the more popular recipes first featured on Valentine's blog are:
- three maple syrup pies
- apricot-apple crisp with maple cream
- caramel peachy-pear pandowdy
- honey & white peach pie
- Pennsylvania Dutch hot and sour soup
Though this collection is a memoir in food of the Valentine family it could be the story of any first, second and third generation immigrant family.