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apple butter, laht varreck, apple paring, cider flagon, singing, shovel plow, barracks


Handwritten notes copied from a book entitled, Guide Book to the Tiled Pavement in the Capitol of Pennsylvania by Henry Chapman Mercer. The notes were written by Alfred L. Shoemaker, circa 1950. Within, several methods of apple peeling are detailed, along with notes on the cooking of apple butter and various farming implements.

Corresponds to:

Packet 353-9


Guide Book to the Tiled Pavement in the Capitol of Pennsylvania by Henry C. Mercer

pp 35-36 Cooking Apple Butter. 58. After paring and cutting the apples, boil down the pieces in cider all night. Let the whole able family stir by turn, with the perforated arm of a pole, as the mosaic shows, or with a cranked paddle, reducing the liquid to the consistency of a dark brown thick sauce. Thus you make the famous laht varreck or apple butter of the Pennsylvania German, derived from the less universal latwerge (fruit sauce) of Germany.

p. 38 Paring Apples. 67. Turning a small crank which causes a skewered apple to revolve, you make the apple skin fly off in a long spiral as you press a spade-shaped, strap-fastened knife to the whirling fruit. Thus working in Pennsylvania until about 1860, you anticipated the modern apple paring machine, and prepared the fruit for the neighborly “schnitzing” frolic, when a score of many neighbors cut up the pared apples to be boiled in cider for apple butter. Before county steam mills suspended the practice, songs were sung in English, not German, among Pennsylvania Germans, who having abolished secular singing long ago, are at last perforce by the phonograph, strangely introduced to the ignoble song tune of the city concert hall.

p. 43 Cider Flagon. 106. A large wooden flagon, hooped and lidded, brought up cider from the cellar of a Saturday night, or in early apple season carried refreshment to the thirsty reapers, who toiled with grain cradle or sickle at wheat, rye or oats harvest, before the days of the reaping machine.

shovel plow p. 25, 36

Still used in 1908 to turn out potatoes, and surviving through the middle ages from a Roman [illegible]

barracks p. 69 a moveable roof clasping four posts, pried up or let down upon iron pegs at the four corners, covers the hay stack. Common in Pennsylvania. Almost unknown in New England.


English and Pennsylvania German

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Notes from Guide Book to the Tiled Pavement in the Capitol of Pennsylvania



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