This article deals with the creation of a new type of high-end Pennsylvania Dutch food tourism as packaged by Marjorie Hendricks (1897––1978) in her tastefully furnished Water Gate Inn which operated in Washington, DC from 1942 to 1966. Rather than draw on the Old Order Amish then emerging as tourism themes in places like Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Hendricks and her menu developer, Flora G. Orr (1893––1953) went back to original sources with the idea of showcasing some of the classic dishes for which Pennsylvania Dutch cooking was once well known. This included various pork-and-saurkraut recipes, the layered dishes called Gumbis (shredded cabbage with layers of fruit and/or meat), and a number of recipes invented by Hendricks but inspired by old, traditional preparation techniques. While Hendrick's restaurant won national acclaim for its high-quality fare and interior decorations composed of real Pennsylvania Dutch antiques, it had little effect on the menus then developing in Pennsylvania by the tourism industry, menus which were largely constructed around an inaccurate interpretation of both Amish foods and foodways and Pennsylvania Dutch culture in general.
The Water Gate Inn: Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine Goes Mainstream
william woys weaver is an internationally known food historian and the author of fifteen books and hundreds of articles. He is a contributing editor for Gourmet, Mother Earth News, and The Heirloom Gardener and is finishing a book on American culinary ephemera for the University of California Press. Weaver presently teaches courses in food studies at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
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william woys weaver; The Water Gate Inn: Pennsylvania Dutch Cuisine Goes Mainstream. Gastronomica 1 August 2009; 9 (3): 25–31. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2009.9.3.25
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