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Jan 5, 2004 02:30 PM

Pennsylvania Foods

  • b

What foods are either unique to Pennsylvania or are, if not unique, are intimately associated with the Commonwealth and/or reach their perfect expression here?

For the purpose of this discussion, let's leave out pretzels and Philadelphia cheesesteaks.

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  1. How about Lebanon Bologna? I guess scrapple is around in other areas but I think of it as a PA thing. Lots of PA Dutch things I guess. Chow-Chow, pepper cabbage, shoo fly pie and many others

    1 Reply
    1. re: MikeW

      For PA, I'd have to say scrapple is definitely unique. As for Philly, nobody does sammiches better.

      Roast pork sandwich?
      Defintely, the hoagie.

      Not a grinder, not a sub, not a hero.
      No mayo, no mustard, no sprouts, no avocado.

      Good meat, sharp provolone. Thinly sliced onions and hot peppers, preferably of the cherry variety.

      You know you can hardly find hot cherry peppers (diced or whole) in California? I used to bring them back on trips when I lived in SF.

    2. I know my hubby would say Boscov's Coconut Cream pie. It is the pie against which all coconut cream ies are measured, and inevitably fall short.

      I remember Jim Leff saying something about a ginger cookie that rocks his world and is only available in central PA.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Chris VR
        Lynne Campbell

        The cookie admired by the head chowhound, is, if I'm not mistaken, a spiced ginger wafer, made by Sweetzels of Skippack, PA. I have enjoyed them every autumn since childhood and didn't realize until reading it on this site that they're not available outside of this area. They're a delicious harbinger of fall for me and are packed, fittingly, in a Halloween-colored box.

        1. re: Lynne Campbell

          stop and shop supermarket in nj sells sweetzels' ginger wafer as its house brand. also, i saw the ginger wafer being sold near sandy hook, nj in a dollar tree store. the ginger ones are great, but i like the "spice" ones even better. i have seen the spice ones for sale at shop-rite, not consistently though.

          1. re: piney

            I was hoping somebody would get this thread into some spice! Those cookies are wonderful!
            I posted something (from Florida) on the Pennsylvania Chowhound board last August, to gear up for the Fall season. My wife and I had visited Valley Forge area in the Fall about 6 or 7 years ago and the locals said we had to try these spiced wafers. We did, and they were great...but available only in the Philadelphia area! So, in August, 2003,I got the name of the cookie from friends on the Chowhound boards, and thought I was off and running with a mail order.
            Nope. The prevailing brand is apparently Ivins Famous Spiced Wafers, sold only in Philadelphia Acme Markets in the Fall of the year. I had several pleasant (and frustrating) long distance phone conversations with managers of Acme's in the Philly area who promised me the world, but would never get me a final order price. Then, out of the blue, I found the Sweetzels Spiced Wafers (the brand Jim Leff likes!)on the shelf at my local Publix--this is Florida!!! On the spot, I bought all 15 boxes, and gave a box to each person in the office. And next August, I'll just hook up with my local Publix manager to re-stock, and not bother the Acme managers who stock the other brand for the locals up in Philadelphia! Win-win!
            The cookies are great in their own right, but a large part of their appeal is their association with Autumn, the crisp change in the weather, the special availability only once a year...

          2. re: Lynne Campbell

            My wife and I came across an online store Aruntx Premium Shopping Marketplace and have been very happy with ordering, they packed our shipment of spiced wafers very carefully and they arrived within a few days.
            Hopefully this will help you.

          3. re: Chris VR

            Boscov's has coconut cream pie? I see this post is from 2004.
            Is the Boscov's department store? Is the pie still sold there?

            1. re: Displaced California Foodie

              Yes, Boscov's the department store. It's been a long time since I posted that, and I don't live in PA, but I'm fairly sure the Boscov's he brought me to in order to try it was in/near Reading. It was one of those old fashioned cafe in a department store kind of things.

              1. re: Chris VR

                Thank you--I really hope they don't have it at my Boscov's which is only 2 minutes from my house.....I don't need to be that close to an unlimited supply of coconut cream pie. I gained too much weight eating Ben and Jerry's coconut cream pie ice cream (lowfat!) when I was expecting! But of course I will call Boscov's to inquire.

          4. I can't leave out pretzels, Pennsylvania's contribution to world cuisine. I'm from Erie and we eat hard pretzels there, large ones that are cut in half, so one can put in cold cuts and cheese to make a pretzel sandwich. If you ever get to Pennsylvania's winter wonderland, try a pretzel sandwich, you'll love it!

            1. Isaly's chipped ham and Klondikes(Ohio also), Heinz pickles, Primanti's sandwiches, Hershey's chocolate, scrapple, birch beer...

              5 Replies
                1. re: Aimee

                  Clark Bars left Picksburgh and went to Massachusettes when they were bought by Necco :(

                  Eskimo pie used to be a 'burgh thing too until they were bought out.


                  1. re: Aimee

                    And Wilbur Buds (dark). Try one, and you'll understand what a Hershey's kiss isn't.

                    1. re: Susan H

                      Yes Wilbur chocolate is good stuff!I occasionaly visit Lititz Pa,the home of Wilburs.They have a store and museum directly below the factory.Yum.

                  2. re: Aimee

                    Try to find Boars Head oval spiced ham loaf, and have them shave it. Then enjoy your chipped ham.

                  3. ChowChow (corn relish). Scrapple. Shoo-fly pie. Primanti sandwiches. Old Forge style pizza. Halupki, pierogies. Kielbasi. Cheesesteaks. Pretzels.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mosca

                      Pierogies and kielbasa are well-loved in many areas with large Polish populations, including Chicago, Detroit, Baltimore...