More comforting presents

(About my life, though with a linguistic note along the way)

From Ann Burlingham in Pittsburgh, locally sourced gifts to comfort me in very tough times. In particular, cookies from Barlow Bakes in Ford City PA; and a flour sack tea towel (from the “love, Pittsburgh” site) with text on Pittsburghese.

(A successor to my 10/21 posting “Three comforting presents”.)

Cookies. The Facebook page for Barlow Bakes (in Ford City, not far from Pittsburgh) tells us that

Barlow Bakes LLC is a family owned gourmet cookie business run by John & Pamela Howryla

They make a wide variety of cookies, of which Ann B. chose two, designed to please me during a period when I had lost my sense of smell / taste (experiencing only sweet, sour, bitter, salty, spicy, plus texture; most food was utterly insipid, and I ate very little — yes, a covid-19 symptom, but it passed away last week). Butterscotch toffee cookies, with a lot of texture; and Mexican chocolate, normally spicy with a lot of cinnamon, but in this case, powerfully supplemented by some form of red pepper.

Cookies aren’t particularly photogenic — you can’t really tell spicy chocolate cookies from bland ones — so I won’t provide photos here. But it turns out that there are plenty of recipes for spicy Mexican chocolate cookies on the net, for example from the allrecipes site, for such cookies goosed up by cayenne pepper.

I can attest that the Barlow Bakes Mexican chocolate cookies are really seriously hot. Like wow.

The tea towel. A Pittsburghese flour sack tea towel designed by Audra Azoury for the “love, Pittsburgh” site:

The text: main head HOUSE NEEDS REDD UP (with two dialect features). The superhead, supplying a gloss for one of them: PITTSBURGHESE 101: TIDY UP. And the subhead: YINZER [another dialect feature] PRO TIP: Run the sweeper and redd up the haus. [indicating the pronunciation [ha:s] rather than [haws]] You never know when your nebby [another local lexical item : ‘overly inquisitive, meddlesome’] mother-in law is gonna stop dahn. [stop down ‘stop by’, plus [da:n] for [dawn]].

All of these dialect features have a basis in reality, though of course their social and stylistic distribution among Pittsburgh speakers is quite complex, and most of them are not peculiar to Pittsburgh, but are shared with other dialect areas.

On the source. From their website:

love, Pittsburgh’s mission is to connect makers to shoppers, by serving the local community as well as the thousands of visitors who travel to Downtown and Mount Washington each year.  We do this by curating the best selection of locally made gifts and telling the stories of the artists and makers we support.

We are champions of local: We are here to support the makers, the dreamers, artists and risk takers.

We choose to source only from our neighbors, our community, our city.

… We have two stores in Pittsburgh located in the heart of Mount Washington and in the Cultural District of downtown Pittsburgh.

love, Pittsburgh sells a curated collection of gifts that represent the talent of over 100 different artists and makers living in the Pittsburgh region. At love, Pittsburgh you will find candles, cards, t-shirts, mugs, notebooks, jewelry, coasters, art, ceramics, personal care items, love, Pittsburgh merchandise, gift sets, and special edition gifts made exclusively for love, Pittsburgh.

Some of the items are Pittsburgh-oriented (ike Azoury’s tea towel), but many are just the products of local creators.

2 Responses to “More comforting presents”

  1. Stewart Kramer Says:

    My husband was born in Pittsburgh and went to CMU there, but grew up in New Jersey, so Don and Dawn are identically pronounced twins for him. I was baffled once when I heard him ask what I had done with the “R” in soda:

    I can’t imagine having an R in soda, but the orange soda is in the mini fridge. People from East Brunswick just don’t pronounce Orange correctly. “Aarrrr-ange” sounds like the Pittsburgh Pirates or something.

  2. annburlingham Says:

    The first time I heard a Pittsburgh “dahn” in the wild, I scurried across the store we were in to report to Jason. what a thrill. He and I have both happily adopted “needs washed” before we got here, but apparently Henry mentally “corrects” it.

Leave a Reply