By Laura Tucker-DeVries
“First we eat, then we do everything else”
When you think of Pittsburgh, you may think of the Steelers football team or perhaps the unusual, yet delicious Primanti sandwiches.
Let’s talk about that sandwich for a moment. It is built between 2 slices of thick Italian bread, your choice of meat, provolone cheese, sliced tomatoes, an oil and vinegar based fresh coleslaw, and fresh cut French fries—RIGHT ON THE SANDWICH!! Anybody up for a trip to the City of Bridges?
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But I digress. It was also in Pittsburgh, around 1908 that “mock chicken” was introduced. It’s first cousin, City Chicken came a little later, having been discussed in newspapers and cookbooks just prior to and during the Great Depression era, it was basically pork and veal cubes on a stick, then baked or fried.
Well, fast forward to the ’60s and the first time I was introduced to City Chicken. Prepared by my dad, Ralph Cummings, it tasted like a breaded pork chop, but so much better! Our family recipe calls for strictly pork butt, and trust me when I say it is the very best!
Here’s the recipe:
5 lbs. pork butt (cubed)
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 c. unseasoned bread crumbs
Garlic powder (to taste)
salt & pepper
wooden skewers (ask for at meat counter)
Thread meat onto skewers, leaving approximately 2 inches at the bottom as the “handle”. Dip sticks of meat into beaten egg, then into the breadcrumbs seasoned with the salt, pepper and garlic powder. Brown in canola oil and arrange in roasting pan. Cover and roast in 350* degree oven. After the first 20 minutes, add enough water to cover ½” inch in the bottom of the roaster. Check periodically to maintain that water in the bottom while cooking. Bake for 11/2 to 2 hours. Makes approximately 32 City Chicken.
Until next time, remember… “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
I have always loved food. Luckily for me, I have been able to turn this love of food into a career of food and nutrition, and have spent the last 30 years sharing this passion with clients, friends, co-workers, and now online visitors! As a child, I watched my mom and Aunt run a very successful restaurant inside of a building in downtown Detroit which fed the folks that worked there. I was intrigued from the start, watching them prepare grill items, fabulous soups, and daily “blue plate” specials. I have tons of experience in the food industry—starting with working as a salad girt position in high school, a waitress in college, and later food sales for about 20 years. I serviced many of the top Italian eateries in the tri-county area surrounding Detroit and learned a LOT about preparing delicious food. This was much more than a culinary encounter—it was a passion awakened. It was then I consulted on food trends and helped clients create exciting new menu items—so exciting! Additionally, through the years I have worked in various upscale restaurants in both front and back of the house operations. I have put together cookbooks for volunteer organizations to raise funds for their causes to benefit the community and those less fortunate.
I am currently a part of the team in the Food and Nutrition Department at Ascension River District Hospital. I very much enjoy the work there, feeding patients and creating meal offerings in the cafeteria most evenings. This past summer, I did a food segment on CTV at Niemann’s Market in St. Clair, where I prepared an avocado shrimp salsa, which was widely received and gobbled down pretty quickly after the show! Please visit and join my Facebook food page, Tucker Inn & Friends Tasty Treats! We want to see your fabulous creations and don’t forget the photos!
Also, I have been a Realtor in this area since 1989, I am a part of the Frank Real Estate team in Marine City—so I could help with that, too! I am excited about contributing to the Blue Water Healthy Living website—watch for my articles which may involve recipes, restaurant reviews, real estate tips/trends, or anything else that is on my mind at the time! Looking forward to reaching out to all of you. Thank you, in advance, for reading my articles.
To reach Laura, contact her at email@example.com