Homeboy Food

coopersburgI live 500 miles from the town where I grew up.  The hamlet of Coopersburg (and our house was 4 miles from the hamlet!) is in Southeast Pennsylvania, just 10 miles from the Delaware River which separates Pennsylvania from New Jersey.  Yes, Kentuckians, I am a Damn Yankee!

There are two things I return to PA for:  visits with family and the FOOD.

This is Pennsylvania Dutch country, and I am  descended from Pennsylvania Dutch people.  Dutch does not mean from Holland (they are Dutch) but from Germany (they are Deutsch).  As Americans often do, the “Deutsche” was Americanized to Dutch, and so all my ancestors were German. (which accounts for my introverted stoic nature, but that’s another story)

There are three German foods that I ALWAYS have when returning to PA – if at all possible:


scrappleScrapple is top on my list.  If you don’t know what Scrapple is, think a poor man’s sausage.  You take all the parts of a pig that no one would normally eat, cook it and grind it up real fine, add cornmeal to stretch it, and spices (mostly pepper). Pour it into a square mold and let it congeal. It is one of those foods that you don’t want to see made, or you would never eat it.

But slice it thin, fry it til crispy in a little oil, smother with ketchup and VOILA!  A taste treat that only Pennsylvania Dutch people would appreciate. (My sister reminded me that true Penna. Dutch style is to smother it in Applebutter… she’s right, but I AM more a fan of the ketchup approach.)

So I ate half a pound myself in two meals (well, I think my Mom had one piece). My annual quota for Scrapple has been fulfilled.

shoofly pieMom also made a Shoofly Pie while I was visiting. Without going into the details, it is a wet-bottom cake-like pastry in a pie shell that uses lots of molasses for the wet bottom, plus crumbs on top.  If you don’t like molasses, you won’t like Shoofly Pie.  But all Pennsylvania Dutchers were raised with molasses, and so we love it.

Girl climbing a tree

When I close my eyes and eat Scrapple and Shoofly Pie, it brings back memories of being ten years old, wearing Keds and ankle socks, and having the whole summer free to play outside all day.  Mud pies, treehouses and forts, climbing trees, and running through the orchard. Ah, give me Scrapple every day just to conjure up those memories.

8 thoughts on “Homeboy Food

  1. Karen, for what it’s worth on the calorie counting.. no, didn’t count calories and shoofly pie and scrapple weren’t the only high cal stuff I ate! And even with all the work I did at Mom’s house, I gained a pound! Back to fruits and veggies….


  2. I was waiting on baited kitchen stool for the description of Funny Cake Pie! Is that another name for Shoo-fly Pie? I love that too and would sing a song about it as I was washing it down with warm milk (cold milk would make it stick in your throat.)
    I assume you weren’t counting calories while visiting! (not that you needed to worry)


  3. Who wulda thunk that there would be so much discussion about Shoofly Pie?? Or is it Quakertown Pie? Marilyn, I haven’t read your definitive article, but that’s the nice thing about blogs, even the ignorant can throw out their opinions! LOL


  4. I would like to weigh in on the shoofly/ Quakertown Pie issue, since I haven’t touched scrapple since the last time I was forced to, and that was when my age was somewhere in the single digits. I have a recipe for Quakertown pie that I much prefer to the shoofly pie that is found in most of the markets where Amish and PA Dutch foods are sold. It has a much higher goo/crumb ratio and is so much better! Regular shoofly and funnycake seem to have so much bland doughy substance to plow through and not nearly enough goo to make it worthwhile.
    The picture of the little girl in the tree reminded me of that short interlude when you lived across the driveway and we played under the two giant elms in the front yard. Were you thinking of the Keds sneakers with the rubber toes? I had red ones!


    • Yes, great memories those foods bring back. Don’t know if you were shown the definitive article I wrote on shoofly pie for the new Church of the Brethren cookbook… thought it was interesting that in the previous cookbook, now about 60 years old, there were two recipes for shoofly pie, the other one being called “Quakertown Pie.” It really is a pretty local food. Even here in middle PA you rarely see it. I agree with Ellen, scrapple with applebutter is best, and since you need applebutter to eat with your cottage cheese, it’s always in the PA Dutch kitchen. Now all we need are some good pickled eggs in the refrigerator! Glad you had a good trip in our home territory!


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