(Originally Posted 10/27/2014) Pennsylvania is a large state with a large range of signature dishes to choose from – the Boilermaker is a cocktail invented in Pennsylvania, Heinz ketchup is from Pennsylvania, there are THREE (at least) kinds of Pennsylvania sandwich, I once had really delicious biscotti in Pittsburgh (where, also, hipster food is making inroads for yet another cooking style), the Pennsylvania Dutch are a culinary world unto themselves (okay, technically unto themselves and also Germany), and the state is Midwestern enough to have its share of dishes involving Jello. Here is how my friend Erika gives the recipe for a salad: “Red Jello, Pretzels, Cream Cheese and Spinach.” I don’t know what you with those things to make a palatable salad (I’ve tried before and I will try again) I can only assume that it mimics in its own way a spinach salad with strawberries and chevre.
It’s difficult to come up with just one Pennsylvania menu. Here is a set of options:
Drinks: Boilermakers (that’s beer with a shot of whiskey), Yuengling Beer (if you can find it), Birch Beer
Sandwiches: Oh someone will be offended no matter what you choose – Hoagi? Philly Cheesesteak? Primanti Brothers? After hearing complaints that Primanti Brothers had lost its mojo through franchising (including even an NPR Salt Blog post) I’ve prioritized a homemade version of that one: soft white rolls from the grocery, freshly fried French fries, slaw tossed with Italian dressing, and a shaved pork roast. See the picture at top.
Side Dishes: Butternut Soup or Homemade Broth (needs to be super flavorful) over Dutch Style egg noodles (see my rough cut egg noodle recipe at the bottom of this earlier post), Coleslaw (without a sandwich attached), Chow-Chow (or if you don’t have any of that, sweet overnight refrigerator pickles – instead of cucumbers use a mix of veggies like cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, peas, zucchini, green tomato, etc. – quickly blanch the sturdier veggies to make sure they pickle).
If you can find it: Scrapple
You could also do a clever homage to Heinz Ketchup (founded in Sharpsburg PA) with Mark Bittman’s Ketchup Chicken recipe.
And of course, when in doubt, serve Kielbasa and Ambrosia.