Reading Terminal Market hosted the Festival of Forgotten Foods last weekend.
The idea was to introduce to our spoiled modern palettes some of the erstwhile culinary specialties of the region. We’ve got the cheesesteak down pat (or is it Geno?)—but what came before?
I missed the festival, but it got me thinking: What are some of your favorite local or regional goodies?
Think of those old secret family recipes, childhood treats that are no longer available—or stuff you love right now that you don’t ever want ot see go away.
Here are some of the items they had on hand at the market:
Wilbur buds. Think of a Hershey’s Kiss, but from Philly
Fried catfish on a waffle with pepper hash. I’m told it was the 19th-century equivalent of the cheesesteak, but I’m not convinced. Folks pulled catfish out of the Schuylkill?
Pepper pot soup. Believe it or not, this was known by American revolutionaries as “the soup that won the war.”
Raspberry shrub. A vinegar-marinated raspberry smoothie? (Don’t tell the kids, but it goes great with rum.)
Paw paw ice cream. A paw paw is somewhere between a mango and a banana, but less popular than both, and it grows wild only in North America. This fruit is just begging for a good PR machine. It’ll catch on.
Snapper soup. No, not red snapper. We’re talking turtles. Or beef, in a more modern take on the recipe.
Fried apple pie. Apple pie isn’t Americana enough. We must fry it as well. And this is less likely to burn your tongue than a fiery McDonald’s pie.
Reading Draft. Who doesn’t love a good root beer?
Liverwurst. Think of it as paté. Just… from a pig.
Oh, go on. Try it…
What are your favorite regional treats?