Letters presents readers' comments and reactions to specific articles in Pennsylvania Heritage, the initiatives of PHMC, and other developments in the historical, cultural and museum communities of Pennsylvania.

A Culinary Crisis

In the article “Larger Than Life Along the Lincoln Highway” in the summer 1995 issue of your magazine, author Brian A. Butko described shoofly pie as “a traditional ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ dessert made with molasses, raisins, and brown sugar.” My ethnic background is Pennsylvania Dutch (without the quotation marks) and, happily, I grew up eating shoofly pies which my mother made, and still makes. Never once in my file – I am thirty-seven years old – have I ever had a shoofly pie with raisins, either homemade or store-bought. Neither of my parents have heard of shoofly pie with raisins. None of the four cookbooks I consulted, including the Mennonite Community Cookbook, published just after World War II, has a recipe for shoofly pie with raisins. I am puzzled. Is shoofly pie with raisins some western Pennsylvania variation of this delicious dessert, or has the author been fed (pardon the expres­sion) some erroneous information? Am I alone in questioning this, or are there whole groups of Pennsylvanians eating raisin-laden shoofly pies? I would appreciate any insight the magazine staff or the author can give about this ethno­culinary dilemma.

Thomas M. Reiff
Elkins Park, Pa.

Paul Stahl reminds us that his Lancaster-­area business in the windmill-shaped building is still called Dutch Haven and is, indeed, thriving. A larger complex that included the windmill building was once called Dutch Haven, but the adjacent non-historic buildings were sold and now comprise the Village of Dutch Delights. He also stresses that Dutch Haven’s Shoo-Fly Pies have never contained raisins or any other fruit, which accounts for their long shelf life. He retains the same recipe the original owners began using at the site in 1946. Since the article was published, the address of the Lincoln Highway Association has changed. Individuals should address correspondence to: James R. Powell, Treasurer, Lincoln Highway Association, P. O. Box 8117, St. Louis, MO 63156. Mr. Powell is also a well­-known authority on Route 66.

Brian A. Butko
West Mifflin, Pa.

Case – and cookbooks – closed. A thorough check of Pennsylvania German recipes to document the use of raisins in shoofly pie proved to be (and, please, pardon the pun) fruitless.

 

No Whitewash

When I happened upon a copy of your recent issue, I was amazed at your article on the late Daniel). Flood [see “‘Dapper Dan’ Flood, Pennsylvania’s Legendary Congressman” by William C. Kashatus III in the summer 1995 edition]. I was amazed because your writer told the truth about Congressman Flood. Even more so, I was flabbergasted that your magazine allowed the truth to be told. So many times I look at magazine articles only to find that the truth has been perverted to make people look good, but there’s no whitewash in this story. You’ve told the truth and for that I am proud to be a native Pennsylvanian.

Donna M. Lewis
Washington, D. C.

I congratulate you on the summer 1995 edition of Pennsylvania Heritage. I was particularly interested in the article on Dan Flood, whom I knew in the course of my work with the Commonwealth.

Victor R. H. Yarnell
Wyomissing, Pa.

Victor R. H. Yarnell represented Berks County in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives from 1963 to 1964, and served as deputy secretary for the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce in the early 1970s. He is now managing director of the Schuylkill River Greenway Association, headquartered in Wyomissing.