What is a “Coalcracker” and what the heck are you doing in the kitchen?
“Coalcracker“: Affectionate term for a resident of Northeastern Pennsylvania, but particularly of the Anthracite (coal) Region (Scranton to the Lehigh Valley to Schuylkill County).
With the expansion of the mining and railroad industries. English, Welsh, Irish and German (the “Dutch” (Deutsch) in Pennsylvabia Dutch) immigrants formed a large portion of the population, followed by Polish, Slovak, Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Hungarian, Italian, Russian and Lithuanian immigrants.
The influence of these immigrant populations is still strongly felt in the region, with various towns possessing pronounced ethnic characters and cuisine. Throw in some influence from the Pennsylvania Dutch of the Schuylkill County and Lehigh Valley areas and you have a sampling of Coal Region comfort foods!
The “Coal Region”
The Coal Region is a historically important Anthracite (“hard coal”) coal-mining area in Northeastern Pennsylvania in the central Appalachian Mountains, comprising Lackawanna, Luzerne, Columbia, Carbon, Schuylkill, Northumberland, and the extreme northeast corner of Dauphin counties.