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Harry R. Schwartz

Software engineer, nominal scientist, gentleman of the internet. Member, ←Hotline Webring→.

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Pork Cake

Published 05 Feb 2009. Tags: food.

Gumdrop

Pennsylvania Dutch cooking is incredible. Recipes often consist of a permutation of organ meats, butter, lard, and molasses, all either smoked or fried in more butter. Here’s a representative sample recipe:

Pork Cake

  • 1 pound of ground pork
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 1 pound raisins
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon each of cloves and nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 1¼ teaspoons soda
  • ¼ pound citron
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup gum drops, chopped

Pour boiling water over pork and allow to stand until almost cool. Add soda to molasses and mix with sugar, combine with pork and blend. Sift flour; measure and add salt, soda and spices. Sift again. Add dry ingredients. Mix well. Fold in chopped fruits, nuts and candy. Pour into large, greased loaf pans. Bake at 275° for 2½ to 3 hours.

— from Mary Emma Showalter’s Mennonite Community Cookbook

This recipe mixes ground pork, raisins, and gum drops. I’ve noticed that almost every ethnic group has some sort of distinctive food that members of the group eat with great gusto and everyone else finds atrocious. Scrapple would probably be the best PA Dutch example, though there are plenty more. Examples in other cultures include nattō in Japan, grasshoppers in parts of Mexico and China, and British food in Britain. What’s up with that, people?