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2011, 2018

Whoopie Pies

Is it a cookie? A cake? A pie? A dessert sandwich? When it comes to the Maine whoopie pie, the answer is all of the above. In its most basic form, a whoopie pie is made up of two dark chocolate cake discs about the size of a hamburger bun with a layer of sweet, creamy, thick white frosting sandwiched between them. While the origins of the treat are up for debate, Maine claims to be the birthplace of its invention: The first whoopie pies came out of a Lewiston, Maine bakery in 1925.

1511, 2018

Datil Peppers

One ingredient with mysterious origins pops up in dishes across St. Augustine, Florida. In the early 1500s, Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon sailed his Spanish galleon through choppy coastal waters in search of the legendary Fountain of Youth. Ponce de Leon was the first documented European to explore Florida’s northeast coast. In 1513 he traveled to a territory inhabited by Seminole Indians. After the Spanish settled what is now the city of St. Augustine, the oldest continuously-inhabited city of European origin in the United States, along came the French, English and free Africans. During that migration, at least one ship contained what has become St. Augustine’s favorite pepper: the datil.

1311, 2018

Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine

I’ve been happily munching on Pennsylvania Dutch food for almost 50 years. My parents, and their parents before them, and on back, were born in central Pennsylvania, more or less ground zero for the cuisine. But trying to classify it isn’t easy, even for me. To begin with, the name is a misnomer: Pennsylvania Dutch fare has spread to Maryland, Virginia, Ohio and the Midwest. Tomake it more confusing, it’s not Dutch, either. The term evolved from the word “Deutsch,” the German word for German, which referred to German-speaking settlers who immigrated long ago to the Keystone State.

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