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German New Year’s Dinner

My informant, whose background actually features multiple nationalities, remembers her traditional dinner that they had every New Years day for good luck. It consisted of pork and sauerkraut. When she talked of this dinner she actually referred to it as a Pennsylvania Dutch tradition, the Pennsylvania Dutch actually referring to German Immigrants, a mispronunciation of the German word for Germans, Deutsch.

The sauerkraut is cooked in a crock-pot with the pork for the entire day, and my informant said that apples were sometimes included in the pot with the sauerkraut to make it sweeter. Considering the abundance of apples in the region, this is no surprise that they were used.

The Pennsylvania Dutch traditional dish from which my informant’s contemporary meal comes from is actually something known as hog maw, which was pork sausage and potatoes stuffed into in a cleaned pig’s stomach, boiled, and sliced.

My informant also mentioned that kielbasa, an Eastern European traditional sausage, was also included with the shredded pork and sauerkraut.  This influence comes from the Pittsburgh area, which features a large eastern European population that immigrated to the area for jobs in the steel mills around the turn of the century 1900s.

 

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