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WPA Delaware Dishes
 Photo Courtesy of the LIbrary of Congress

Photo Courtesy of the LIbrary of Congress

Here is a wintertime recipe description from the Great Depression era WPA Delaware folder housed in the Library of Congress archives in Washington DC. These are recipes that appear to have been collected among the state’s African-American community. They appear to be dishes that culinary entrepreneurs using pushcarts and/or roadside stands sold to travelers along the Ocean Highway in the state during the Great Depression.  It’s unclear how long this tradition had existed along the highway.

In the winter time travels along the highway in Delaware could stop and purchase a chicken or ham supper made in a large baking dish. One would alternatively layer deboned and boiled chicken or ham in the dish along with “Spanish chestnuts or boiled sweet potatoes with ham, raw oysters, chopped celery hearts,” and a turkey like stuffing seasoned and moistened with “chicken or ham liquor.” It is baked on a low heat in an oven and “served directly from the baking dish on hot plates containing endive with French dressing or light greens.” The description goes on to say, “a variation of the super dish is called skippers pie made with the meat of boiled blue fish or other large fresh fish and raw saltwater oysters. The dish is lined and covered with piecrust and the turkey [like] stuffing omitted.”

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