Only in York County

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Mmm, hogmaw!

So one of the things I promised when I started this blog was a post on the proper way to make hogmaw.

But first, you have to put up with a little reminiscing about how I came to learn about this local delicacy…

Growing up, my family went to Mount Royal United Methodist Church on Old Carlisle Road in the Mount Royal area of Dover Township. It’s known as “the little church with the green roof,” and it’s also well-known for its public hogmaw and fried oyster suppers.

From the time I was about 7 until at least middle school, I went to work with my mom and dad at each of those monthly suppers held up in the church social hall. The youngest of us rolled silverware; one grand year I got to work the coffee tap; and most of the time I bussed tables.

They always had some kind of chicken or other meal suitable for us kids, and I wasn’t very “culinarily adventurous” at the time, so I have to admit I never tried the hogmaw or fried oysters. But I remember how popular those suppers were, and I think a goal of mine might be to attend a supper with my family as an adult and try out the local treat.

Last night, while cleaning out some things in my house, I found my copy of “A History of the Mt. Royal United Methodist Church,” published in 1992 and compiled by local history researcher Dr. Charles Drawbaugh, a family friend of ours and a member of the church.

And while I was reading through it, I found the “Hog Maw Recipe for Family” used for the suppers. The history says the recipe “was contributed by Mrs. Mary Dentler, a member of the church for more than 30 years. The recipe was used by her grandmother and passed down through the family.”

What’s even more “Only in York County” about that is, Mrs. Dentler was our next-door neighbor at the house I grew up in, and I didn’t know until yesterday that it was her family’s recipe.

Here it is:

Hog Maw Recipe for Family

1 nicely cleaned hog stomach
3 quarts of raw potatoes diced in small squares
2 pounds of sausage meat
1/4 pound of hamburger
1/2 cup of finely cut celery
Small amount of parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix the ingredients and fill the stomach. Bake in oven for 3 to 3 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. When done it will be lightly brown on top.

Now, I’ve heard there is a debate as to whether you cut it up and eat the stomach as part of the hogmaw or whether you eat the filling and use the stomach only as an unusual sort of baking parchment paper.

Here’s my challenge: Comment and tell me which way is the “right” way, and, when I do get brave enough to try it out, I will eat it whichever way you guys decide is “the most York County.” And if you know of other places that serve it, let me know!

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