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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 money." 

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.

The Pennsylvania 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 least expected. 

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.

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