From David Walbert’s Garden Spot: Lancaster County, the Old Order Amish, and the Selling of Rural America, on what it’s like having ‘Lank-ister’ in the blood:

I grew up in Lancaster County, a fact that helps only a little in understanding the place. The first time I recall thinking about what it meant to live in the Garden Spot of America was in the fifth grade,when my teacher read us an article from a local newspaper on “How to Tell If You’re a Real Lancaster Countian.” The article’s author listed several questions to which a “Real Lancaster Countian” would answer in the affirmative; the one that struck me at the time—and the only one I can now recall—was,“Do you turn up your nose and hurry past an Italian restaurant, but inhale deeply when driving past a freshly manured field?”

At the time it seemed a ridiculous question: manure stank, and I liked spaghetti and meatballs as much as any kid. So, no doubt, did the author of the article. Cuisine wasn’t the point; rurality was. An Italian restaurant was new, a bit exotic (at least in Lancaster in the1970s), fashionable, very much of the city. Manure, by contrast,symbolized a traditional way of life close to nature. It was a point that even at the age of nine I grasped easily. To be a Lancaster Countian was to live in the country, and to live in the country was better than to live in the city…

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