Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm researching an article on Vanishing PA Foods for PA Pursuits magazine. One of my vanishing foods is something called Schniz und Knepp, which I have apparently eaten loads of times. I called my grandma for some research on this. Here is what happened:

Nanny: (loudly. Louder than you can imagine) Helllooooooooooooo?
Katy: (loud, right back at her) Hi! It's KATY! (some banter about how I'm doing this article and can she tell me about the food a little bit)
N: Well why the hell are you writing about it if you don't know nothing about it?
K: It was an assignment.
N: Oh. Well, you know, I use half sweet and half sour apples in mine. And I use apple juice instead of water. That's how I make it.

(She starts to tell me her recipe, how she pours the juice and dried apples (DRIED! NOT FRESH!) into the pan, sticks the ham on top, and bakes it until the ham is done.)

N: Then you drop in your biscuits. Like your raw batter. You must put the lid on! If you take the lid off, your biscuits will drop. That lid must be on. Because you know your juices are bubbling. From the apples.

(some of the recipe steps come at me a bit out of the fact that you are supposed to whip up biscuit batter while the ham bakes)

K: Now, my mom says you make pig stomach when you make this. Is this true?
N: I used to! I did it like Aunt Fanny. She would chop up the potatoes, like, and stuff it with spare ribs. Now most people use sausage. But not Aunt Fanny. I made it like her. Then you bake it in juices. Aunt Fanny always poured her juices off and then fried it so it was all brown on the outside. She kept turning it. You know.
K: That sounds gross.
N: No, it's good! Pig stomach is real good. I used to make it with the Schniz und knepp. Now I just do that alone without the pig stomach.

(We talk for awhile more and I finally ask if she knows where I can get such a thing at a restaurant)

N: Well yes, as a matter of fact I do!

(In the background, Nanny's husband, Leonard, starts screaming alternately at the Price is Right showcase showdown and at Nanny)

Leonard: Yer over, idiot! Risser's! Risser's!
N: Risser's diner. Now where is that? Ernie Risser is his name and he is a big man. Oh, he is a big man
L: It's five miles down 322. This asshole just bid $30,000 for a boat and a TV.
N: It's not on 322! It's on 422! What's the matter with you?
L: It's in Myerstown
N: It's more Womelsdorf, like. They serve all those foods there. Pig stomach, too.

Equipped with the information I needed, I let her get back to Drew Carey while I called up Ernie Risser, big man and restaurant owner. I learned that for only $10.95, one can purchase Schniz und Knepp with soup, salad, and a soft ice cream cone. Sounds like a good deal to me!

Gosh, I love my job.


Hannah said...

So is it on 322 or 422? Because I feel as though I would be interested in eating this. I feel privileged to live in a place where one can try such delights as these.

Katy said...

as it turns out, 422. risser's diner. they also sell fried pig can call ahead and ask when the schniz und knepp will be there i guess...if you google it, the info pops up

kk said...

You and Erie Risser should host a schniz und knepp dinner there some night for everyone who will be wondering what the heck you are writing about.

ellen said...

THAT was a great post. I enjoyed every word. You write fantastic dialogue!! I'm still not sure what schniz und knepp is. Ham and apples?? And what did that have to do with pig's stomach? Nanny and Leonard are gems.

Katy said...

ernie risser described schnitz und knepp as ham, apples, and dumplings. the knepp part of the name means dumplings.