Sunday, August 15, 2010

old world german at goschenhoppen, part one

As if it wasn't already apparent, being a full-blown PA Dutch gal, I love to honor my heritage. So, of course, when the Goschenhoppen Folk Festival took shape this weekend, I was found waltzing around the historic displays, tastes and enactments, praising my old world ancestry.

Recently, around late June, Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern was found trekking the same historic property of the Upper Frederick Antes House. While I personally would have preferred Zimmern to have instead taped a Bizarre Foods during the festival, I do understand what sort of chaos having such a television food celeb present in such a small space.

But, being that attending the Goschenhoppen is a tradition in my Germanesque book, from when my parents used to take me as a lil' one (which, one occasion came with a story how I snuck from my stroller and thought another bearded male was my dad) and also, used to work there when I was employed by Bauman's Apple Butter, it was appropriate B and I take the time to experience such a shindig together.

Heading over to their fairly new location on the Antes Plantation, just as the grounds were open to guests at 10 a.m., we delved deep in a time way beyond our combined years. While I was thoroughly entertained scoping out practices of antique gardeners, cigar rollers, mead makers, blacksmiths, wheel constructors, brick oven builders, and much more, obviously what I found must appealing was the traditional food scene.

From displays of bakers and cooks sculpting sauerkraut, pepper cabbage, chicken pot pie, toy candy, fasnachts, pies, apple butter, pig stomach, jams and canned veggies, the sea of samples and slurps were what made our morning complete. While I can't say that I was inexperienced on any of these tastes, it is satisfying to see the original origins of how these recipes came about, how they were typically structured, even down to the construction of an 18th century kitchen garden, with hops included.

Better yet, what I found most impressive is uncovering how PA Dutch dwelled, dined and passed the time prior to all of our current technological advances. Stay tuned for part two of my frenzied festival retelling, where I detail to you about watching a step-by-step 19th century farm butchering of a pig.