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(Cookbook/Memoir – 67k words. NOW WITH INTERACTIVE TABLE OF CONTENTS. Please note: the Kindle version of this book contains all of the text and recipes that are in the print version but does not contain all of the family photographs. Please note, this is a FAMILY cookbook with recipes contributed by many people. No guarantees are made.) 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 (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, an apricot-apple crisp with maple cream, caramel peachy-pear pandowdy, a honey & white peach pie, and her own 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.
From the book: “Most Pennsylvania Dutch families evolved from immigrants who were peasants in “the Old Country”. They learned, out of necessity, to use everything they could to feed their families and they devised ways of preserving those things through the long, harsh winters. Pickling, preserving, smoking, canning were necessary to get a large family through the bitterly cold winter months. As I worked on this cookbook I was continually aware of how so much of the food that was part of family tradition was also making good use of commonly available food sources that were abundant and cheap. My Gram Werner used to say that the reason pigs were so valuable was because you could use every part of them except the squeak. In the cold hill country of Pennsylvania maple trees grew in such abundance, that maple syrup was a frequently used sweetener. Cows were kept for milk, cream, butter, cheese and sour cream. When I read these recipes now some seem so rich and loaded with calories but back then people needed those rich, calorie-laden foods to see them through long days in the fields or the factories or lumbering in the forests.”
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