Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Food: Recipes, cookbook reviews, food notes, and restaurant reviews with a heavy emphasis on San Diego. Unless otherwise noted, I have personally tried each recipe that gets its own page, but not necessarily recipes listed as part of a cookbook review.

Mimsy Review: The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking

Reviewed by Jerry Stratton, December 27, 2016

Every bride used a starter yeast that was given to her by her mother or neighbor. From this she made her own, always reserving a bit of dough or keeping the scrapings of the dough tray to use as a starter for the next baking.

If you’re on a diet, you want to avoid this book. But, as the saying goes, “Neither a fat wife nor a full barn ever did any man harm!”

Year1968
Length262 pages
Book Rating7
The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking

Yes, this book has seen a lot of use.

The cover of The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking has radishes, sugar-covered filled donuts, what look like cinnamon rolls, green beans with, I think, ham, and some sort of a corn stew.

The author’s photo on the back has Edna Eby Heller wearing very familiar glasses: I remember them from the high school photos on the walls of my mom’s high school, from the year my mom graduated.

This looks, in other words, to be a very good old-school Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook. Lots of good thick vegetable soups, cream of vegetable soups, pea soup, and so on. And recipes with amazing names like hog maw, scrapple, hex waffles, and snavely sticks. And also recipes with names like schmierkase, boova shenkel, kasha kucha, and gschmelzte nudle.

Probably my favorite recipe in here is the cinnamon drop, which is very easy to make. It’s basically a very simple cake sprinkled with brown sugar and butter so that, when cooked, the middle “drops”, making a sweet, chewy, semi-crunchy cake.

I’d like to try the rhubarb upside-down cake. It sounds like it’s going to be caramelized rhubarb with cake on top, like a pineapple upside-down cake but better! Unfortunately I can’t find rhubarb around here. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen it in stores; growing up in Michigan, it was always traded by housewives, who grew it around the house.

I’m still looking forward to potato soup, peas and dumplings onion pie… and Montgomery pie, which is “a lemon-flavored molasses custard with a cake-like top”.

I can’t say whether the recipes are authentic or not, but they are certainly good. If you’re looking to add a Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook, I’d take a look at The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.

Union Pies

  • 1 cup sugar,
  • 5 tablespoons butter,
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda,
  • 1 egg, beaten,
  • 1 cup molasses or Blue Label Karo,
  • 1 cup sour cream,
  • 2 cups buttermilk,
  • 2 nine-inch pastry shells, unbaked.
  1. Mix the sugar, butter, and baking soda.
  2. Add the beaten egg.
  3. Add the remaining ingredients in order, mixing well after each. Add the buttermilk slowly.
  4. Pour into the pie shells.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes at 375°.

The Art of Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking

My cost: $2.00

Recommendation: Good down-home cooking