PENNSYLVANIA

Number 2

The Keystone State

So-called for its pivotal role in the development of the USA, the Pennsylvania delegation to our Continental Congress cast the deciding vote for Independence.  Were it not for them, we might all be sipping Pimms.  Thankfully, not.

A mere 333 years ago, King Charles II handed over a chunk of land to William Penn to satisfy a debt owed to Penn’s father.  The younger Penn set sail to North America and founded what would become today’s Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.  Under his guidance, the city of Philadelphia was planned and built.  It seems fitting we focus our attention on the City Of Brotherly Love not only because of historic links between your land and our land, but because we’ve been there a time or two.  One of us may have actually lived in Philly for say about seven years or so.  With the exception of a delightful organized street grid, anyone who’s ever been can easily see similarities between here and there including mews and a city chock full of public squares and hidden gardens.  And just like London, when they laid out the streets in Philly, they didn’t exactly plan for cars and trucks.  Horses, yes.  Four or more wheels and wide bodies, no.

Historically Philadelphia was the second largest port in the British Empire just behind London.  It was the meeting place for our Founding Fathers and both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed into law in Independence Hall in 1776 and 1787 respectively (though they’re still kinda tweaking that last one just until it actually includes everybody).  While Washington, D.C. was under development, Philadelphia acted as the American capital until 1800.  Thought to be “The First American” one of the Founding Fathers, Benjamin Franklin, dabbled with inventing the lightening rod and bifocals whilst helping define the ethos of an emerging nation focused on thrift, hard work, education, community spirit and opposition to authoritarianism of any kind.  It is because of his immeasurable contribution to American history we are forced to endure unending appearances of “Mr. Franklin” at just about any function with or without any excuse for “him” being there.  FYI, it gets really creepy, really fast.  

To be honest, with the springtime holidays, we weren’t exactly sure how to play this one.  We’re not sure if people are about (it sure seems like they’re not) and we’re not sure who might want what to eat given holiday menus.  Do we have lamb?  Do we have anything with yeast?  Do we fast?   Do we eat?  Do we wrap the taps in foil or just not bother?  It’s so confusing.  We opted to stay very low-key and informal because we figured more complicated dishes would be had at home when celebrating.  It also gives us an easy excuse for doing Philly Cheesesteaks.  Now before anyone in the know takes aim, we fall firmly in the cheese camp not the Cheez Whiz camp so simmer it down.  At that, we take inspiration from the very heart of cheesesteak territory, South Philly (say sailth for south and you might come close to sounding like a local), and we add provolone.  Smothered with onions, peppers and mushrooms?  Optional.

Another ditty from my past is when I challenged my 6th grade English teacher who told a story about dialect and pronunciation.  He maintained an entire conversation was had in a mere two seconds and I maintained that was impossible given the time it takes to utter and process sounds in both directions.  Logic was lost on Mr. Drabek but thankfully double-knit slacks were not.  However, in his honor, we offer up in our best Philly-ese this query to which we also offer up some suggestions to help with resolving the issue at hand:

            DJA IT YET?

            NO.

            DJEW?

 To toast the Quakers...

1776

The Colonist

Mason Dixon – the north/south boundary line is the southern Pennsylvania border

The Lightening Rod

Franklin’s Lament

Liberty Bell

Penn’s Pleasure

Independent Spirit

Bottled and Bond

And to break the fast (and solve the above riddle)...

Goats Cheese and Asparagus Quiche Cups

Philly Cheese Steak

Vetris Ruben Sandwich

Hershey Chocolate Chili

Lamb Pizza

Greens and Beans

Shaved Sprouts

Shoo Fly Pie