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“Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French; sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good.” 
That wonderful quote comes from Alice May Brock, the woman immortalized by Arlo Guthrie’s song “Alice’s Restaurant. Here’s my version:
Fedon, my maiden name, makes me Northern Italian; Wrobleski, my mother’s maiden name, makes me Polish. Lynch, my vowel-less and vow-less name, makes me Irish; and Fleur-de-Lys makes me French (in spirit).  And 13 varieties of garlic growing in our field make me … good and stinky!
(Yes, that’s me in the white garlic costume with my cheery tomato friend Audrey.  Some people will do anything to raise money for a worthy cause.)
Seriously now — well, sort of — the other day I got into a discussion with a bunch of Pennsylvania Dutch types and we started talking about … you guessed it … food.
One woman posed the question: “What are the most popular herbs and spices used by the Pennsylvania Dutch?”
The collated, tabulated, conglomerated, amalgamated, integrated, incorporated, and collaborated answer was:
1. Salt
2. Pepper
3. Butter
4. Lard
Ah yes, this is the land of Maxatawny (and our big-city neighbor Kutztown) where you can go to the Grange for a heaping helping of potato filling or to the coin-op laundry for a distant view of 80 grazing buffalo, a container of Buffalo BBQ, and a couple bales of straw to mulch your garden.
Food is always a topic in these parts where the mealtime motto is Eat Yourself Full! My friend Diane is contemplating retirement and began daydreaming of how she might combine two of her favorite cuisines into a second-career, niche restaurant with a Chinese/Pennsylvania Dutch menu:
Scrapple Fried Rice
Pork and Sauerkraut Szechuan-Style
Sweet and Sour Boovashankle
Bok Choy with Bacon Dressing
Moo Shu Tripe
Brain Lo Mein
Hunan Pig’s Stomach
Sweet and Sour Souse
Subgum Pot Pie
Curry Schnitz and Knepp
General Trexler’s Chicken (for Lehigh County residents)
Pickled Red Beets Pu Pu Platter
and finally, Moo Goo Chow Chow or Chow Chow Chow Mein.
And for dessert? Fastnaughts with Plum Sauce.
Then, there’s my friend Em whose mother is such a thrifty Dutchy that she can’t bear to toss the noodle water out when she boils noodles. “She says it is pouring nutrients down the drain.” Instead, Mom boils noodles in whatever the liquid is and prefers to not drain them. This includes, when she makes spaghetti, boiling the pasta in tomato sauce, watered down, of course!
Gee, I’m going to miss this local flavor! If you’d like to join in the fun, tell me about your favorite regional cooking story, via email or the blog comment section (which is still a mystery to me and others).  Laurie Lynch
At Fleur-de-Lys Farm Market this week: The Lenten roses are bowing their heads, the skunk cabbage is poking up through the muck, and Bleu the Great Blue Heron has come back to the Fleur-de-Lys meadow. Eggs and daffodil bunches in the shop!
Looking for a Good Home: Griffey, our retired Mennonite buggy horse and old graying Standardbred gelding, needs a good home. He would make a low-key companion to any pastured animal, has no vices, and is an easy keeper. Please give me a call at (610) 683-6418. 
Lost and Found: A pair of pink fuzzy leggings with a black waistband must have fallen out of a customer’s car. Size 2-Toddler.
Written on Slate: We get too soon old and too late smart. – Pennsylvania Dutch proverb

4 thoughts on “Fleur-de-NoodleWater

  1. I'm not sure if this is proper blog etiquette, but I wanted to share emails with the rest of you.

    Valerie says one PA Dutch spice that shouldn't be forgotten is cinnamon … as in apple dumplings … to go with the Mu Shoo Fly Pie!

    Karen says she loved Diane's menu but she should be legally forbidden to open a restaurant! (And I think Diane would be the first to agree.)

    Next, Karen's story, bound to become a classic:

    I once overheard two women in the now defunct Schmeck's Diner near Hamburg ordering dinner. When each was asked to specify her choice of three included vegetables, the first replied in a heavy PA Dutch accent: “I'll have the potato filling, the french fries, and the baked potato.”

    Mixing it up, the second chose: “Mashed potatoes, Dutch fries, and potato salad.” Clearly she was more health-conscious than her friend, since she ordered a salad …

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