Historic Germantown serves up cuisine from the past as it looks toward the future

Storm clouds and heavy rains didn’t keep more than 180 people from gathering at Saturday night’s “A New Taste of Germantown” fundraiser, the first of its kind for Historic Germantown (HG).

Having merged with the Germantown Historical Society last Spring, the co-sponsored event was held at their 5501 Germantown Ave. base.

“We wanted to bring people together to celebrate history and food, and we’ve promoted local Germantown businesses as a result,” said Barbara Hogue, HG’s executive director. “We’re demonstrating to people that you can get to Germantown, it has a lot to offer.”

Something for taste buds, too

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The idea for the fundraiser was to give guests a “taste” of Germantown’s best dishes, made by local chefs including those from The Flower Cafe at Linda’s, The Nile Cafe, Heart to Hearth Cookery and Earth’s Elements Foods and Products.

Susan McLellan Plaisted, owner of Heart to Hearth Cookery, was dressed in colonial garb at the event and brought “Florentine Pudding,” a Wyck recipe, and “Portengall Cakes,” a Stenton recipe.

“The Portengall Cakes are dated back to 1715,” said Plaisted, who cooks and presents 17th, 18th and 19th century foods.

Elizabette’ Andrade, owner of Earth’s Elements and NewsWorks contributor, brought an Uba-Yuba dish and whole-grain carrot cake to represent her “all-natural gourmet plant-based cuisine.”

“I was excited to be invited. I’m meeting people who probably wouldn’t have known about my work otherwise,” said Andrade. “I have a passion for it.”

Neighborhood past and future

The event included music, views of historic relics and a signature cocktail created by Center City’s Vedge Restaurant called “The John Trower.” The drink was named after a local entrepreneur considered the wealthiest African American man in Pennsylvania in the 18th century.

Dennis Pickeral, board president, spoke about creating more community-focused programs that connect HG to the neighborhood.

“Germantown is a unique and extraordinary and special place,” Pickeral said. “If we’re going to survive into the next century, we need to extend our reach.”

HG board member Lee van de Velde said it was essential that the event included the community, and that next year’s event will also have such a tie-in.

“We’ll always have Germantown people involved,” said van de Velde. “All the people here love Germantown and care about this community.”

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