Friday, February 04, 2011

New Pennsylvania Dutch

Yeah, you read that correctly. New. Pennsylvania. Dutch. Classy, huh?

Here's the thing: I've been talking to a lot of people lately and a common question that comes up is 'what kind of food do you cook'? While 'new american' is a popular catch all term, it doesn't really say much or create much anticipation or differentiation. After some serious thought, we all settled on 'New Pennsylvania Dutch'. Why? Here's your answer.

I'm a south central PA boy, working with growers and producers who are proudly from south central PA, cooking food inspired by south central PA. So......why try and be anything other than south central PA? It informs the way the menu is written and honestly, it informs the way we cook. The chocolate chewy caramels that you get with your check? My great aunt's recipe. The corn fritters we serve in summer? Another family gem. The fact that we churn our own butter? Yep, my family was in the dairy business in Hanover for many years. You see, you can take the boy out of Dutchy-land, but you can't take the Dutchy out of the boy, awhile.

I've cooked in many different locations, traveled throughout Europe and happily call Hanover, PA my home. I've gathered much from my work experiences and travel, but when you get right down to it, I'm inspired on a daily basis simply by walking out my front door. Many chefs hop a plane and go to France, Vietnam or Italy for their inspiration. I hop on my bike and ride out to my garden or take a quick trip to the apple orchards in Adams County.

When most people think of PA Dutch foods, one of the first things to pop into their head is buffets filled to the hilt with food. While the Lancaster area has popularized this idea, PA Dutch food is actually a very nuanced cuisine and is done a little bit of disservice by the perception that it is simply mountains of hearty 'farmer food'. As a cuisine, it has as rich a background as the foods of New England, New Orleans or the American Southwest. I'm exploring those flavor profiles. The tastes that bring back memories of my childhood and hopefully the childhood's of folks from the area. If you're traveling to the area, I want to give you a taste of the area. You see, I'm crazy proud of this area. If you're coming here from out of town, I want to give you an expression of the area. I actually think of this restaurant as a love letter to south central PA because it is.

So, what can you expect from a restaurant that calls its cuisine 'New Pennsylvania Dutch'? Well, why don't you let me let the photographs below lead really have to taste it to know it!

GREEN, EGGS AND HAM - Asparagus, country ham, caviar, brown butter mayonnaise




That's just a little taste. We're always batting around ideas about how to best express the area that we love so much. Who knows what familiar flavor profile we'll unlock next....I suppose the only way to figure that one out is to make a reservation....

How about everybody give their Dutchy a little work out....anyone familiar with this gem? My grandfather used to say it....

'Heile heile hinkle drecht bis morgen früh und alles recht'

Here's to asparagus wishes and warm sun dreams!!!


Anonymous said...

Great ideas to tweak traditional PA dutch dishes. So often we only think of these dishes as heavy, fat, gravy smothered foods (not that they aren't good!)But, it's good to have these foods brought up to the current desire for eating better. I am new to facebook, but I do enjoy reading your blogs.

Anonymous said...

Man you make me homesick.

Emily said...

I love this, and it is the thing I love most about your restaurant and your blog! I am so proud of my roots too, and often have to urge my friends to appreciate the bounty of our region and see the great foods our ancestors have passed down to us. Instead, they choose to reject it as "unhealthy" or "unsophisticated" While my family members certainly love the traditional foods we eat, even they don't look at it as cuisine.

I am sad to say that most of us "thirty-somethings" (unfortunately, myself included) don't know the first thing about making the foods grandmas, aunts, and even great-grandma's brought to family gatherings over the years. I worry about the death of a food culture . . . here's to you keeping it alive.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in Lancaster, but had the good fortune to be schooled in New Orleans. Although I am the first one to stand up for many things South Central PA; I am also the first to acknowledge that our PA Swiss/German cuisene is no match for the Spanish/French/Creole/Cajun flavours that South Central LA is famous for. I think what you are doing is wonderful, but our culture is what it is and as my grandfather said..."wishing won't make it so."