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Monday, November 29, 2010

PA's Rich Food History

Here in Bucks County, we're blessed with many wonderful culinary options--fresh produce, PA Dutch food, wines, Philly soft pretzels and cheese steaks, locally made delicacies.  The list goes on and on.  In fact, our whole state is full of food traditions and history.

William Woys Weaver, noted expert on Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking, is in the process of creating the Keystone Center for the Study of Regional Foods and Food Tourism.  He has broken our state up into 5 culinary regions: Philadelphia Region (includes parts of South Jersey), Pennsylvania Dutch Region (the largest region), Northern Tier Region (influenced by New York and New England), Allegheny Mountain and Southwest Appalachian Region (including Pittsburgh) and Northwest Lakeshore Region (influenced by the wine made there).  The map below (courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) shows how these regions are laid out.

According to a Post-Gazette article, PA has the most culinary regions of any state--mainly because of it's status as the "Keystone State".  From early in our country's history, PA has been physically and politically in the center--a mid-point from the South to the North--both influencing and being influenced by those cultures around it.  That, says Weaver, is what makes PA's culinary diversity so wide. 

Anyone who has traveled around the state knows that this is true.  Italian food in Philly, Polish food in the Northeast and Pittsburgh, PA Dutch food in the center of the state, etc.  For food lovers, PA seems to be the place to be!

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