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Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine is the typical and traditional fare of the Pennsylvania Dutch. According to one writer, "If you had to make a short list of regions in the United States where regional food is actually consumed on a daily basis, the land of the Pennsylvania Dutch—in and around Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—would be at or near the top of that list," mainly because the area is a cultural enclave of Pennsylvania Dutch culture.
Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine reflects influences of the Pennsylvania Dutch's German heritage, agrarian society, and rejection of rapid change.
It is common to find Pennsylvania Dutch cuisine throughout the Philadelphia/Delaware Valley region.
In the 18th century baking was still done in wood-fired ovens that produced inconsistent results and could easily become too hot. The Pennsylvania Dutch baked pastries on cabbage leaves to provide some protection from hot spots that could develop in the oven.
Soups, often featuring egg noodles, are characteristic of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Pennsylvanian Dutch homes have traditionally had many broths on hand (vegetable, fish, poultry, and other meats) from the saving of any extra liquids available: "The Pennsylvania Dutch developed soup making to such a high art that complete cookbooks could be written about their soups alone; there was an appropriate soup for every day of the year, including a variety of hot and cold fruit soups." Soups were traditionally divided into different categories, including Sippli or "little soup" (a light broth), Koppsupper or "cup soups", Suppe (thick, chowder soups, often served as a meal with bread), and G'schmorte (a soup with no broth, often like a Brieh (Brei) or gravy).
Pennsylvania Dutch soups are often thickened with a starch, such as mashed potatoes, flour, rice, noodles, fried bread, dumplings, and Riwwels or rivels (small dumplings described as "large crumbs" made from "rubbing egg yolk and flour between the fingers"), from the German verb for "to rub."