Jennifer Knepper shares memories of Dutch food in Pennsylvania, and Lancaster restaurants in Food is Love [Q&A] | life and culture

Food, love, warmth, family, friends and stories are the main ingredients in Jennifer Knepper’s life.

Memories of steam are flying from her Italian grandmother’s kitchen, her Dutch grandmother’s “Best Devil’s Eggs” in Pennsylvania, her father’s endless search for the perfect filler fly pie (not too dry and not too much crumb), the honey she’s harvested using her husband’s beekeeper, Chad And the stories and recipes that Lancaster County restaurants have shared with her over the years all find their way into her book Food Is Love.

Food is Love features 20 short stories, including a number of recipes from Lancaster County favorites, food trucks and culinary entrepreneurs, as well as memories from her childhood.

For the past 15 years, Knepper, who lives in the Centerville/Rohrerstown area, has helped host Gifts That Give Hope Lancaster, the alternative gift fair event that supports the world of local nonprofits.

“We’ve always had food vendors and I’ve always been very keen on presenting kitchens from all over the world and promoting food companies with a social enterprise mentality,” Knepper wrote in an email.

There, she met several people who would eventually make their way to her book.

“Most of the participants included recipes for love,” Knepper wrote in an email. “Rachel from Rachel’s Creperie included her grandmother’s tart recipe, which always holds a special place in my heart because it was one of my dad’s favorite cookies.”

Her father was a baker at the former Oehme bakery in Lititz, a family business, and she remembers baking with him at home.

“I’ve spent a lot of time baking with my dad,” Knepper wrote in an email. “He loved donuts. He had a spice cake that he would make and we try to make the perfect angel food cake, and even though they didn’t make it in the bakery, we were always on the lookout for the perfect Shaw fly pie.”

For Knepper, sharing food with someone is more than just eating a delicious snack, it’s about a deep and meaningful experience.

“Associating people with someone who may offer us new food or insight is one of the most beautiful things you can experience in life,” Knepper wrote in an email.

Knepper responded to a few questions about “Food is Love” (featuring the promising subtitle “Volume One”) before her book signing Friday at Aaron’s Books at Lititz, which takes place during the Taste of Lititz event.

How did you decide on the premise of this book?

“My brother wrote a research paper in law school about our paternal Italian grandmother called ‘Food is Love,’ and when I thought about the fact that most of our conversations at family get-togethers revolved around food, ideas kept coming back to me building on that concept. Our grandmother would stop what she was doing. At any time of the day she does whatever we ask, so her tangible actions forever cemented that idea in our heads that food was love. When I had my children, or when my father was sick and died, and people would bring food to offer their support and condolences which meant the most to me.”

What kind of things did your Italian grandmother and Dutch grandmother make in Pennsylvania for you to eat as a kid? What did you learn from her?

“One of the things that I regret is that I didn’t learn Italian from my grandmother. She wasn’t really making traditional Italian dishes. I immigrated in 1946, expecting the group mentality to be assimilation, doing what you want to do to suit them, so I quickly learned to make traditional Dutch food.” for Pennsylvania.It sounds very simple but one of the things my siblings remember is cream of wheat.I can picture it with its wooden spoon, stirring it over a stove as the steam rises.It’s a gesture,especially when you speed things up in today’s world,you’ll just stand there and move until you reach the right consistency Then she served it on these blue plates and told us to eat outside because it cooled faster. My grandmother made my mom a pot pie, mashed potatoes and the best scrambled eggs, one of my comfort foods. I learned from both of them to take the time to appreciate doing what you put in food but Al so in general, they were present with me and with what they were doing. The phrase we often quote from my grandmother Elizabeth to my mother is ‘If you don’t eat, it’s your fault’ always brings a chuckle.

What are some of your favorite things to cook for others?

“I love making peanut butter bars with our honey — my husband Chad is a beekeeper, and we have a small Honey Ridge Chestnut business. I love making soup for people, as if they are going through surgery (or) are going through a hard time. There is chicken enchilada soup that I would really like to make. Baked oatmeal. (Using) Crystal from Prince Street Cafe recipe.Often, if I’m gathering something for someone who might be going through a rough time, I do what I do remember you were useful to me when my dad died; items that are nutritionally dense, so if you Not really feeling like eating, you can have a peanut butter ball (peanut butter, honey, coconut flakes, cinnamon, vanilla, chia seeds).”










What are some of your favorite stories from the book?

“I would like to say that my interview with Mustafa (Noor) really affected me and strengthened the foundation for what I really wanted the book to feel. I read his article in LNP about being a refugee and as he said ‘we had a good life and they were taken from us, which is a point I think is the best’ To remember her all and sit with her. Mustafa told me that in response to his article, someone wrote critical notes, so Mustafa reached out and invited a man for coffee. He said they met for two hours and talked for half an hour about the refugee situation and the rest of the time they talked about how they lost their parents.”

What makes Lancaster County a special place for foodies?

“The Lancaster feels like a melting pot, and that, in my opinion, is what makes everything in life better – when we can bring together people, customs and tastes from all over the world and give each other those experiences. Lancaster has been recognized by the BBC for welcoming refugees and classified As a welcoming city in terms of providing an environment to welcome immigrants as they start over after living in war torn countries/refugee camps for years before I was able to move in. I have been fortunate to meet a lot through my work with the annual Gift Show and my book tries to honor and realize the way in which Food builds bridges and helps us see our similarities.”

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