Amanda Stone's Tasty States

What better state to discuss after our big day of voting than Pennsylvania? After all, it was one of the 13 original colonies, the Declaration of Independence was signed there and it was where Betsy Ross made the American flag.

It’s also the chocolate capital of the U.S., and I’ll bet some of you could use a little chocolate self-care today.

The Keystone State has the cuisine corners covered: Pennsylvania Dutch comfort food, sandwiches stuffed with warm meaty goodness, salads with fries on top and, thanks to Hershey’s, chocolate.

Immigrants from southeastern Germany known as the Pennsylvania Dutch brought along their recipes, bless them. They really know their way around some baked goods. We have them to thank for soft pretzels, after all.

They also get credit for the aptly named shoofly pie, a sweet molasses cake made in a pie shell. It can be either dry-bottomed as cake throughout or wet-bottomed with a gooier consistency much like pecan pie. Either way, it was traditionally eaten with strong black coffee to cut the sweetness and possibly served with a flyswatter.

Philly cheesesteaks are no secret, but this is the first I’m hearing of salads topped with French fries. Actually they’re topped with an entire meal. In Pittsburgh, most restaurants have a version of this delicious monstrosity on their menu.

We’re talking lettuce topped with steak or chicken, some other saladesque veggies perhaps, cheese and then boom: pile of fries. I guess I’m all for it. Like the grandmas say, “It’s all going to the same place anyway.”

Try these recipes for a taste of Pennsylvania.


Lancaster County shoofly pie (wet)

  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda, dissolved in the hot water


  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, solid
  • 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix together the crumb topping ingredients into pea-sized crumbs. Set aside. Mix together molasses, corn syrup, brown sugar and eggs until smooth.

Dissolve baking soda in hot water. Slowly pour into the molasses mixture and stir until combined. Pour half of syrup into an unbaked pie shell, top with half of crumb mixture, then rest of syrup, finishing with crumbs on top.

Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until set. Allow to cool before serving.


Homemade Philly cheesesteaks

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 green peppers, thinly sliced
  • 2 red peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 slices provolone cheese
  • 4 hoagie rolls

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add peppers and onion and season with salt. Cook, stirring often, until caramelized, 12 to 15 minutes.

Remove onions and peppers from skillet and set aside. Add remaining tablespoon oil and cook steak until it has almost reached your preferred doneness, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Return veggies to skillet and toss to combine with steak. Blanket mixture with provolone and cook, covered, until the cheese is melted, about 3 minutes more. Divide mixture among hoagie rolls and serve.

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Amanda Stone is a food and gardening columnist for The Joplin Globe. Email questions to or mail her c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802.