When I was a child, growing up in the Anthracite Coal Region, “vacation” was a rare event, certainly  not something that was guaranteed to happen annually. The budget was tight and my Dad’s work demanded he put in long hours in the summer. When a vacation opportunity did present itself, we d…

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Waldorf salad is a fruit and nut salad generally made of fresh apples, celery, grapes and walnuts, dressed in mayonnaise. The name comes from the fact that the Waldorf salad was first created for a charity ball given in honor of the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children on March 14, 1896 at the W…

This recipe for Polish potato drop dumplings (kartoflane kluski) uses raw, grated potatoes instead of mashed potatoes like Polish Kopytka does. These dumplings are something so very many of us in the Coal Region ate as a child — or make now in our own kitchens.

When I was a child, growing up in the Anthracite Coal Region, “vacation” was a rare event, certainly not something that was guaranteed to happen annually. The budget was tight and my Dad’s work demanded he put in long hours in the summer. When a vacation opportunity did present itself, we di…

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Before I came along in 1960, my Pop worked in the mines. Bootleg mines mostly, so when a devastating accident involving a falling boulder crushed his pelvis and did lots more damage throughout his body, he vowed to end his days of working underground — if he survived.

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As a child, I would only eat raw carrots. If my Mom could hide cooked ones in another dish, I would partake, oblivious to her perpetrated deception on this Coalcracker kid.

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Pampushki are starchy bites usually served with soup, such as borscht.  Much of the time, pampushki are yeast rolls, usually drizzled with butter and garlic. Pampushki (singular – pampushka) is common in Russia, Ukraine, and other parts in Eastern Europe. These pampushki are made with potato…

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Creamed chipped beef, known as “SOS” by many who served in the military, is a staple in many areas of Pennsylvania. In some households, it is known as “Dried Beef Gravy” or “Frizzled Beef”. 

As far back as I can remember, I loved lima beans; large or small, fresh, frozen, canned, or dried.

Growing up in Schuylkill County in the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeast Pennsylvania, I could barely turn around without bumping into a farm stand, roadside market, or farmers’ market filled throughout fresh produce season with the bounty of the fertile fields of our area.

When I was a kid growing up in Schuylkill County in the Anthracite Coal Region, one of the rituals my family participated in was a weekly (or almost weekly) visit to a farmers’ market/”auction” to pick up fresh produce, baked goods, flea market finds and other items the household needed for …

Chow chow is quintessential Pennsylvania. Dutch; a sweet and sour mix of pickled vegetables often served as a side dish next to other Pa. Dutch classic foods.

Growing up in the Coal Region during the ’60’s and ’70’s meant going to “markets” on a regular basis with my family during the summer and early fall.

My Dad, like any good “coalcracker” could never pass up a bargain. Although my family spent a lot of time together, occasionally we found ourselves going separate ways on Saturday afternoons. Dad had been running some errands and Mom and I had returned home to find he was not yet there. Bein…

As a child in the 60’s and early 70’s growing up in a very small town in Schuylkill County in the southern end of the Anthracite Coal Region, a “big day out” was a trip to Pottsville, the county seat to see a movie; the theater of choice for my family was The Capitol Theatre on Centre Street.

Nothing says summer has arrived and it is time to kiss the memories of the last winter goodbye like when the first of the fresh strawberries arrive in the Coal Region. Our area is blessed by an abundance of farmers’ markets and roadside stands at which you will find a plethora of harvest fre…

When I was young, my Nana (grandmother) worked in a clothing factory as so many other women did in The Coal Region.

For many of us in the Coal Region, halupki — cabbage rolls — are at the top of our comfort food list. They evoke fond memories of family dinners and holiday celebrations; our grandmother or “the church ladies” in the kitchen, boiling cabbage, stuffing and rolling the leaves — electric roaste…

The early years of my childhood connect to fond memories of hours in the kitchen, watching my Mom and Nana (grandmother) at the stove turning out dishes they were known for.

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In the Anthracite Coal Region of Northeast Pennsylvania, we enjoy a potato sausage known to many of us as Kishki. Kishki is not to be confused with Kiszka (Kishke); meat sausage, usually prepared with animal blood and buckwheat groats.

In many small towns in The Coal Region, the center of activity is the local fire company and its usually attached social hall/bar.