Pittsburgh is a city with a diverse and interesting group of people and neighborhoods. When people mention Pittsburgh food, it brings to mind a few things: Italian, Polish or German foods such as pastas, pierogi or bratwurst and any food topped with French fries and/or coleslaw. Pittsburgh foods, however, are really much more ethnically diverse with recipes handed down through generations. If you are looking to experience some great Pittsburgh dishes, here are some phenomenal cookbooks with recipes developed by natives to show you how to do it the right way.
“Three Rivers Cookbook” Series – Child Health Association of Sewickley
The “Three Rivers Cookbook” series began in 1973 by the Child Health Association of Sewickley as a fundraiser for the organization. The first volume was a huge success, which led to publications of volumes II, III and the latest Renaissance volume IV, published in 2000. This cookbook series has sold over one million copies and has won several awards including Southern Living Community Cookbook Hall of Fame and the Walter S. McIlhenny Hall of Fame Tabasco Award. The recipes in these cookbooks are timeless, so even copies of the original continue to be sold, given as gifts and passed down from parents to children. Volume IV has recipes from famous Pittsburgh venues such as the Duquesne Club, Pittsburgh celebrities such as Franco Harris and Pittsburgh chefs such as Chris Fennimore. A boxed-set collection of all four volumes is also available for the suggested retail price of $39.95. The books are available at major book retailers such as Barnes and Noble, as well as online at sites such as Amazon or Renaissance News.
“Pittsburgh Cookbook Series” – Mark Bentz
Mark Bentz, owner of Bentz’s Pizza Pub in Daphne, Alabama, has published three cookbooks so that everyone can cook with some Pittsburgh flavor. Originally from Pittsburgh, Bentz relocated to Daphne in 2004 when his wife accepted a new executive bank position in Mobile. He honed his cooking skills working for Tessaro’s American Bar & Hardwood Grill in Bloomfield and the Treesdale Country Club. Soon after opening Bentz’s Pizza Pub, Chris was made aware of all of the Pittsburgh transplants living in the area and all over the country. For that reason, he wrote the “Pittsburgh Cookbooks” in order to spread Pittsburgh flavor to cooks everywhere. The first book in the series, “Appetizers & Soups,” focuses on Pittsburgh-style soups and appetizers that can be made with many things that people already have in their pantries. The second book, “Tailgate Specials,” focuses on Pittsburgh’s favorite dishes that are perfect for tailgating and can easily be made in crock pots such as barbecue ham sandwiches. The third book, “Sauces and Side Dishes,” is a focus on sauces that add new flavor to pastas and side dishes that can make your old favorite recipes new again. The Pittsburgh Cookbook series is an e-book series available for Kindle on Amazon.com, Nook on Barnes & Noble.com and in pdf and other reading formats on www.pittsburghcookbook.com.
“Heinz Field Cookbook” – HJ Heinz Company
This cookbook created by HJ Heinz Company features Pittsburgh-inspired recipes for tailgating, backyard barbecues and family dinners. Many of the book’s recipes were contributed by former and current Pittsburgh Steeler players, their wives and even coaches. The recipes are simple and hearty down-to-earthy favorites, such as “Rap Wraps” a recipe for cheese-filled, biscuit-wrapped hot dogs served with Heinz ketchup, of course, and more formal dinner recipes such as grilled steak. The book’s football theme takes you from Tailgating Temptations to Pre-Game Warm-ups, Halftime, Highlights, Two Minute Warnings and finally, Victory Celebrations, so that you can enjoy fun Pittsburgh recipes no matter the occasion. Bite into the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwiches, Mema’s Lasagna or Jumbleberry Pie from the comfort of your own home. The book includes 120 recipes and color photographs. It is available from WQED or Renaissance News Inc. for $19.95 and also from Amazon.com. Proceeds from the sale of this book benefit A Glimmer of Hope, a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer research.
Related: Best French Fries In Pittsburgh
Jennifer Stockdale is a native of the greater Pittsburgh, PA area. She is a restaurant marketer and wine enthusiast and one of the hosts of the East Coast Wine Geeks Podcast. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.