I’ve mentioned before that my mom is Pennsylvania Dutch, which means that she is a descendant of Germans (Deutsch) who settled in Pennsylvania centuries ago. Some people confuse the Pennsylvania Dutch with the Amish, which is understandable as many Amish are also Pennsylvania Dutch–however, most Pennsylvania Dutch are and were Protestant in one form or another, usually Lutheran or Reformed.
My mom’s Pennsylvania Dutch heritage comes through in some of her fabulous recipes from sauerkraut to breaded veal cutlets, but from an artistic standpoint, the Pennsylvania Dutch are widely known for their folk art design, especially as it appears in “hex signs“ like the one on the left, which my mom sent me for my house in Italy.
One of the things I love best about Pennsylvania Dutch art is the use of symbolism–especially the heart, which of course represents love. The “double distlefink” (two birds) offers a double dose of good fortune, the tulip represents faith, and the red rosette protects from harm.
Quite ironically, my Italian grandmother always had a tea towel hanging from the oven door that was Pennsylvania Dutch in design. As far as I know, my mother hadn’t given it to her. When my grandmother asked me what I wanted of hers once she was gone, one of the few things I asked for was that towel. To me, it was the centerpiece of her kitchen–our family’s room of love.
And yes, it’s in Italy with me, and that’s it up there on the right: lovingly used and therefore faded, but anchored by hearts in each corner.
Happy Love Thursday everyone!