Wednesday, September 7, 2011


The list.
Our daughter Sarah invited us to spend Labor Day weekend with her, Cole, and Chloe at her house in New Brighton, Pa., northwest of Pittsburgh. We had not seen them since earlier this summer except for a short visit to see Cole when he was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix.

I asked Sarah is there was anything she needed or wanted from her Pennsylvania Dutch homeland. She asked for Gazebo Room dressing, ring bologna, Lebanon baloney, a shoofly pie (she was willing to settle for one of those factory-made pies but I found one from a Mennonite baker), and Wilbur Buds from Lititz. All the good stuff from our neck of the woods!

The only thing I could not get was a pepperoni pizza -- the pizzeria opened after we left. Susanne added a couple of items, and I was off and running in the Box!

First stop, post office.
My first stop was the US post office, where I weighed and bought stamps for some thank you notes to the families who had hosted French students this summer. They deserve so much, but this is all I can give them as a final communication (until they get my LEC Christmas card!).

The next stop was Zimmerman's candy and nut shop in Penbrook. Don't ask me where it is. I just look for a nearby church steeple and aim for it. I usually come across Zimmerman's on the way. If you have ever been to Penbrook, you know that it was laid out by a evil genius bent on making sure no outsider could ever navigate it.

Crazy quilt pattern of Penbrook.
Sarah wanted the Wilbur Chocolate Company's famous milk and dark "buds," their answer to Mr. Hershey's kisses. I could have driven to Lititz for them, but knew if anyone had them in our area, it would be Zimmerman's.

They also have an extraordinary selection of every kind of candy known to mankind. I drooled over the non-pareils and malted milk balls until I located the buds over by the window.

Outside on the porch was growing a Spanish peanut plant. I had forgotten how much foliage there was to a plant and that the peanuts grow below the ground, like a potato, carrot, or beet. The plant was, as you can see below, pretty decorative, too.

Hundred of candies call out to me at Zimmerman's.
Soon we were on our way to the historic Broad Street Market in midtown Harrisburg. Founded in 1860, the first of the buildings was completed in 1863. There were more than 700 vendors, indoors and out, at its height many years ago. I remember going along by bus with my uncle Bob when he was older and got to carry the goodies home. He had a set patterned and bought pretty much the same things from the same sellers each week.

Well, the market "ain't what she used to be" these days, but there are some great meat and fruit or vegetable stands, as well as some interesting ethnic foods.

The Box outside the market.
I could not find the two kinds of baloney I needed. Can you believe it? There are Mennonite and Amish vendors and no baloney! It was there, however, that I found a shoofly pie. Again, it was a Mennonite family who ran that stand. I did notice that the bakery portion of their stand had shrunk (boo!), and there were now more prepared foods for sale.

Just for fun, I walked the aisles of the brick building after buying the pie, then crossed the plaza into the stone building. There I found what I'd call a food court, with everything from Indian, to African-American, to Middle Eastern fare. But no baloney there, either.

I climbed into the Box and set course for another farmer's market I know east of Harrisburg near Grantville in Lebanon County. Now how could they not have Lebanon baloney?

Too little for me!
Well, they did, and I bought it all from a young Amish boy with straight blond hair who was working behind the counter. I also bought a nice ring bologna. (Why are bologna and baloney spelled differently?) Both products were made locally. Just for fun, mind you, I strolled down the aisle to look at the chocolate shoofly pies and whoopies pies. All they had was their mini pies, very small, and not that good. I took a picture, of course, but I am laying off the whoopsters for a while. There's a penny on a pie to show you how small they are. Don't worry, though, as there will be full-sized whoopies later in this entry!

On the way home from the Grantville farmers market, I stopped at the Honda dealership to see if they had the new model similar to the Box. No one looked at me or spoke to me, so left rather quickly. It was a waste of time, but I find it's always a good idea to scare the Box once in a while so he'll behave himself.

Mr. McPheely.
My last stop that afternoon was at Ollie's Bargain Outlet ("Good Stuff Cheap!") to buy some books for grandchildren Cole and Chloe. For Cole I found a book with a million dots spread out on its pages, along with fascinating facts using numbers on each page. The one millionth dot was alone on the last page.

For Chloe I found a book on various breeds of horses. She is now into horsing around and will be taking riding lessons starting next week.

When I got home the postman was ringing twice, so I handed him my thank you notes for a speedy delivery.

Ken and Cheri.
For dinner, we went to Crossroads, a restaurant we like on Rt. 22, again near Grantville. There we met, by coincidence, good friends Ken and Cheri. Ken and I worked together at the Historical and Museum Commission. Now we are both retired. Ken just finished a biography of former Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader. At any rate, we enjoyed a meal together and then spent a few moments ogling the delicacies in the pastry and dessert case.

The Box waits patiently at Zimmerman's.

The Buds Department.

Loose candy galore!

The Spanish peanut plant is on the front porch.

An new enterprise at the Broad Street Market -- and the first
time I ever saw a French accent mark on a 'p.'
These plums looked delicious!
This vehicle was parked at the farmers market entrance.
I have seen pictures of it giving kids a ride around the place.

A dwindling Lebanon baloney supply.

Meaty red tomatoes await a BLT.

As fall approaches, a floral display appears.
Who doesn't love the rich look of an eggplant?
Lettuce for that BLT.

Ollie greets us from over the door.

I rejected this book at Ollie's. I think it has a
rather unfortunate title, don't you?

Here's part of Crossroads, where we like to eat.
Susanne flashes a big smile.
She got a gyro.
I got a personal pizza. I swear I ate only half of it!
Ken and Cheri came over to say hello, then joined us.

Ken recommends this 'creamsicle' cake.
I promised you real (read: big) whoopie pies, and here they are!

Chocolate chip cannoli, probably not a genuine Sicilian recipe.

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