Good coffee (or a decaf americano for me). Bread with some chew. A place to sit and read the free weekly for a few minutes.
Locavorism has become quite the catch phrase recently (locavore gets nearly 1.3 million hits on google), but, let’s get real. There are lots of people and cultures who have practiced locavorism for a long time now, not just in response to foodie faddism. I’m talking, of course, about the Amish, the religious sect that eschews buttons and cars, has problematic pet raising policies, and may or may not act like the mafia on occasion. But with its rural culture and with each family having its own garden plot, local eating is more than a slogan for the Amish.
Pennsylvania Dutch food has long been a tourist draw. I remember squealing with glee when, on a road trip through Lancaster County, we came across a roadside stand selling shoo fly pie, which I had only ever heard about in a song that my mother liked to sing in her rare happy moments. Reading Terminal Market, with its large Amish section, clearly is using a similar strategy. From whoopie pies (Beiler’s Bakery) to candy (Sweet As Fudge), one can get a substantial taste of Amish cooking.
But maybe what the Amish do best is making simple, everyday fare tastier by using high quality, local ingredients. The Grill at Smuckers is a mini diner, specializing in eggs and pot roast sandwiches, which are raved about everywhere. Even though it was well into the afternoon when I stopped by recently, I decided to go with a breakfast sandwich. Down Home Diner, you have been dethroned as my go-to breakfast at RTM.
The egg sandwich I received was nearly perfect. A fluffy scrambled egg was nestled between sharp white cheddar and crisp bacon on a kaiser roll. Egg sandwiches are a dime a dozen (to mix food metaphors), but this was what they all strive to be: greasy, salty, creamy, filling. I washed it down with a diet root beer, like a good American should.