Delicious Pennsylvania Dutch Egg Recipes
"Never take eggs with you when
you move," runs the Pennsylvania adage, "for if you do and any
break, it will bring you bad luck."
"Set hens between eleven and
twelve on Sunday, when the preacher is pronouncing the
benediction," says another.
And, "Set hens on an odd number
of eggs." This helpful hint may have been the one that so
baffled the hapless serving-maid, who was, in local folklore,
"so dumb she couldn't tell eleven from even."
The Rhinelander's always crushed
their eggshells to prevent witches from using them as boats. It
was safest, really, to burn the shells to keep the witches from
"putting spells on the hens." Eggs laid on Good Friday
would never spoil, but spring would be delayed until the last
Easter egg was eaten.
To the forebears of the
Pennsylvania Germans, the egg was the symbol of life, and the
egg and the rabbit (for fertility) became in time a part of
Pennsylvania's Easter observance, just as the Christmas tree
became part of Christmas. There are said even to have been
Easter egg trees, decorated with brightly painted eggs.
Eggs were of great
importance to the farmer, both as food and as a source of
revenue. In the 1910 Horne's Pennsylvania German Manual
listed eggs as the top "crop." Certainly for years eggs
have meant much more on the farm than just the farm wife's "pin
One of my earliest memories is
when visiting my grandparents; I got up early Saturday and
Sunday morning to help Granddad feed the chickens. I'm
sure they had a little sideline business selling the eggs. Then
as they got older and unable to raise their chickens, eggs
always came from a local egg farmer.
Dutch cooks have always had a lavish hand with eggs,
have used them by the dozens in cakes, turned out great
varieties of dishes using eggs, and added them where they were
As for eggs pickled in
beet juice-Pennsylvania soldiers are said to
have carried the news of them right across to California during
World War Two, demanding them with their beer. It seems
fitting that the pickled eggs should join the pretzels on bars.
Pennsylvania Dutch Did You Know?
Pennsylvania Dutch are a people of various religious
affiliations, most of them Lutheran or Reformed, but many
Anabaptists, non-Christian, and non-religious as well.