First National Thanksgiving and York County Filling

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 11/22, 2011 at 02:35 PM

First National Thanksgiving and York County Filling

I grew up in York, PA. Christmas and Easter were at my grandma’s, but Thanksgiving was at my parents’ house. There was typically a crowd of 12-15 relatives, but it always felt to me, as a kid, like 50 people because my childhood home is pretty small.

I have a lot of fond childhood memories of those Thanksgivings. Everyone thinks their family is weird, and mine is definitely weird, which is part of the reason why I love them so. Many of my relatives from that time have passed on, and I miss them. My Aunt Dot and my dad’s warped senses of humor, my grandma’s combination of naivety and sweetness, and the decibel level of my loud talkative family are as big a part of Thanksgiving memories as the food.

Speaking of that food, York is in Pennsylvania Dutch country (and home of the first national Thanksgiving, see photo), and there are some dishes that are found only in that area. At Thanksgiving, a traditional side dish is Cope’s Dried Corn. To get an idea of what dried corn taste like cooked, imagine a fairly intense corn flavor that’s quite nutty. Some people make baked corn with it, but my mom and my grandma made it on top of the stove with just salt and butter. Grocery stores in the area sell it, and I cannot recommend it enough.

The other dish is filling. You may know it as stuffing, but a lot of people in York don’t call it stuffing. To them, it’s filling, and if you dare call it dressing, you may get stared at longer than you ever thought possible. The other aspect of this side dish that is unlike many other kinds of stuffing: filling is HEAVY. We’re talking lead bread heavy. But man, is it ever good.

What dishes make you think of home?

York County Style Filling

1 cup milk
½ medium onion, chopped fine
3 tablespoons dried or 4 tablespoons fresh parsley
2 tablespoons butter
3 eggs, beaten
8 cups bread, broken or cubed, including crusts
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Mix all ingredients together, making sure bread is evenly moistened. Put into oven-proof bowl and bake in 350-375 degree oven until light brown crust forms.

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{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA


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