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How do the Amish stay cool in the summer? What are the origins of the whoopie pie? [We the People]

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Whoopie pies

LancasterOnline is answering your questions through We the People, a public-powered journalism project. You ask, you vote and our reporters find the answers.

Here are a few answers to questions that had not yet made it to the voting round.

If you have a Lancaster County-centric question, submit it below and your question may be featured in a future article.


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How do Amish deal with heat without electricity?

Since Amish people have historically not used electricity on their farms, they have adapted their living conditions to meet the needs of the climate and weather conditions.

One blog based out of Ohio says that Amish will often build their houses so that the basements are in some type of hill. This keeps the basement cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so when the upper part of the house is too hot they can retreat into the basement.

That blog also says that since the Amish wake so early (around 4 or 5 a.m.), they get most of their work done before the brunt of the heat kicks in. 

A blog post from the Amish Furniture Factory says that Amish people may build their houses with concrete floors so the heat doesn't get trapped into the carpet. And, many houses have shade trees outside to prevent direct sunlight from coming into the home.

Question submitted by Kathy M.



Did the whoopie pie originate in New England or in Pennsylvania? And what makes them so sweet?

It depends who you ask. There are varying accounts about the origins of the whoopie (or whoopee) pie.

According to WhatsCookingAmerica, people in both Maine and Pennsylvania claim that the original recipe came from their respective locations. This website takes the stance that the recipe is Pennsylvania Dutch, but that the first whoopie pies were sold in Maine in 1925.

After gaining popularity in New England, a recipe for a whoopie pie made with marshmallow fluff appeared in a cookbook called "Yummy Book." It became a New England Mainstay after that.

Diane Stoneback, of the Morning Call, wrote that neither place really can lay claim to the famous sweet treat. There are solid origin stories in both locations.

LNP reporter Erin Negley takes a deep dive into the first question in this article.

The answer to the second question? Lots of sugar.

Question submitted by Matt L.


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