Tableside: Dann Woellert Explores Cincinnati Food Origins

Why does grandma call bell peppers “mangoes”? How did Procter & Gamble ruin Jewish cooking? Find the answers on Dann Woellert’s blog, The Food Etymologist.

Why does grandma call bell peppers “mangoes”? Why would a German never put sauerkraut on a sausage? How did Procter & Gamble ruin Jewish cooking? Find the answers on Dann Woellert’s blog, The Food Etymologist.

Dann Woellert, Food Etymologist
Dann Woellert, Food Etymologist

Illustration by Jungyeon Roh

What got you inspired about food history and culture? I come from a foodie family. As I began working and travelling the world, I realized the importance of food to connect and inspire—and how passionate people are about the history and legacy of their food traditions.

If you could bring back one local eatery, what would it be? Honey in Northside. I still dream about Binkle Fries with chili sauce, and marvel at how their vegan goetta tasted so much like the real thing.

What’s your favorite Cincinnati dish? Mom’s goetta. There are actually two versions my Mom makes, the “easy” slow cooker version—it still takes several hours—and the one from my great-grandmother, which uses pork shoulder and the meat is not ground so fine.

Has anything truly surprised you? There are so many amazing stories: How the bagel came to Cincy, the legacy of our Opera Cream, how Chinese food first arrived, how chili found its way here, how the nonnas of St. Antonio in Fairmount spawned the Cincinnati pizza industry. I have been writing my blog for over two years and still haven’t scratched the surface.

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