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THE AMISH COOK

BY LOVINA EICHER

Church services were held here at our house on Sunday. Our church district has around 175 people, with over 100 being children under the age of 16. We had very nice weather on Sunday and now today it is rainy. The rain took laundry off of our list. It is a relief to have all of the cleaning done for now. Our garden is doing very well so far. Corn has really grown and is pretty tall already. I had enough lettuce to serve with the church lunch. The services were held in our basement. After the services, tables were set up and lunch was served to everyone.
Our menu consisted of egg salad, peanut butter spread, red beets, hot peppers, lettuce, freezer pickles, dill pickles, rhubarb jam, butter, homemade wheat and white bread, and chocolate chip, sugar and oatmeal cookies. We also served ice cream to everyone in honor of Father’s Day. Along with the lunch, coffee and iced tea were also served.

Sister Emma made the tea fresh from her garden. The flavors were spearmint and peppermint. It is a good thirst-quencher on a hot day. She also made the rhubarb jam fresh from her rhubarb. We made the egg salad using 15 dozen eggs and 15 pounds of hot dogs. Some say that it resembles a ham salad. We had plenty of leftover egg salad. It is nice having our own chickens, so I didn’t have to buy any eggs. I cooked a kettle of chicken noodle soup for the younger children and older babies. Our church has a container that they call the “cookie jar.” The last lady who hosts services has to fill the container with some kind of homemade baked goods. They then have to deliver it to the next house where church services will be held. This helps the next lady preparing for church services to have a container of goodies on hand. The baked items can be used as either a snack for helpers , something to put in her husband’s lunch pail or just to feed to her family. I think it is a very good idea since it is hard to find time for baking while preparing the house for church.

The lady that brought the container to our house had whoopie pies and monster cookies in it for us. This was a treat for us all and was a good snack to put in my husband Joe’s lunch for work. Needless to say they did not last long around here. We made cookies to fill the container to pass on to the next person.

This is late afternoon now and I need to finish this. The sun is shining and it turned out to be a nice afternoon. The clothes might have dried after all but I am glad we have the basement back in order again. We cleaned it up instead of doing laundry. The bench wagon stores all of our benches and the church dishes. I remember when I used to hold church services in Indiana we had to use our own dishes. That was a lot of coffee pots, coffee cups, plates, glasses, and silverware to store every time in between. Now when the ladies help wash dishes after church they go back in the containers and into the bench wagon again. Sure saves a lot of work.

I told the children they can have the afternoon off to do whatever they want. They all did a good job helping with the work the last few weeks. Daughters Elizabeth, 17, and Susan, 15, were to help clean a house in town today but it has been rescheduled for another day. I think they were glad not to have to go today.

Corn de-tasseling will probably be starting soon. It is hard to believe it is that time of year again. Here is the recipe for egg salad that we served for church.Published with permission from Oasis Newsfeatures.Richard from Amish Stories.

Egg Salad

6 pounds of hot dogs

5 dozen eggs, hard-boiled

6 c. salad dressing (Miracle Whip could be used)

2 c. mayonnaise

Salt and ground pepper

Grind the hot dogs in a meat grinder. In a large bowl, stir the ground meat, eggs, Miracle Whip, and mayonnaise together. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Can be stored.     New post on Friday. 

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THE AMISH COOK

BY LOVINA EICHER

On June 14 our oldest child Elizabeth will turn 17. We were still living with my parents at the time she was born. It was nice having my mother there to give advice on how to care for a little newborn for the first time. And I still had 3 sisters living at home, too, so Elizabeth never lacked for attention those first couples of years. When Elizabeth was just 3 or 4 months old, we moved into a trailer house across the driveway but it was close enough that she saw grandma, grandpa, and her aunts almost daily. My husband Joe would help my father with milking the cows and doing the chores morning and evening. Mother and I would do a lot of our chores together while my sisters were at work during the day. Now those are just memories and it is hard to believe how fast time has gone by.

Elizabeth has moved into her new bedroom and is excited about it. It feels like we have accomplished something to have another bedroom finished.

On Thursday sister Emma and family assisted me with my work, there‘s just so much to do still with church services being held here this coming Sunday. After lunch sisters Susan and Verena also came to help. The walls and ceilings in our bedroom, living room, dining room, and kitchen were all washed off. Some of the windows and furniture were also cleaned. Emma’s husband, Jacob, came here after work and helped Joe with his outside chores. Jacob and Emma and family stayed for an early supper before heading for home. Joe grilled some chicken and I cooked some potatoes to go along with it. A lot of jobs were marked off my list that day. We appreciated all the help. And, once again, on Saturday Jacob and Emma’s family came to help and also Elizabeth’s friend Timothy. Manure was hauled, the pasture field was mowed, plus a lot of odd and end jobs that Joe needed done. Here in the house we did a very huge laundry, more windows were washed and the upstairs bedrooms were all cleaned.

We had told everyone to come for breakfast We had a breakfast casserole which I will share the recipe for at the end of the column. We really like this casserole. Our noon dinner consisted of mashed potatoes, beef and gravy, macaroni and cheese, corn, fresh peas, radishes, green onions, and lettuce out of the garden. We have had a few hot peppers, green peppers, and a cherry tomato out of our garden so far. Also the strawberries are really ripe. All these goodies have been just enough for a taste and makes us hungry for more. That time will be here before we know it. I would like to go to a u-pick strawberry field since I don’t get enough from our patch. Our family loves strawberries but they are not my specialty in growing. The children enjoy my homemade strawberry freezer jam, strawberries on ice cream and strawberry pie.

Yesterday, Sunday, Jacob and Emma told us to get away from home for awhile and come for dinner. So we all headed over there using different means of transportation. Daughter Susan and some of the children took Tiger, our new miniature horse to Emma’s. That was the first time Tiger had done such a long trip (4 miles each way). He did really well and gave Susan a lot more confidence in his ability to share the road with cars. I took the horse and buggy with Verena and Kevin, while Joe and the rest of the children rode their bicycles. This was the longest bike ride ever for Lovina.

Emma’s had fixed a good meal consisting of mashed potatoes, gravy, grilled pork steak, ham, and we also took along some t-bone steak to put on the grill. Also on the menu: radishes, green onions, rhubarb, dessert, ice cream cones, fresh lemonade, and iced tea that was made from Emma’s garden herbs.

Daughter Verena is still on crutches She was seen last week by a rheumatologist and also a sports doctor. They think her foot needs therapy. It comes from an injury three years ago when she sprained her foot really bad. It was painful for a long time and doctors said she should have hadtherapy on it back then. They said the therapy should allow for a 100 percent recovery. This week we will find out how often she needs to go for therapy. They want to get her off the crutches as soon as possible. Her foot is still numb so she does not have pain in it. Verena soaks it in warm water and massages it several times a day. She is determined to get back to walking on her own.

This is the breakfast casserole I mentioned earlier. I make my own homemade biscuits and gravy for this and use eggs, potatoes, and pork from our own supply. You could, though, use canned biscuits, gravy and store-bought ingredients to make it. If you make your own homemade gravy or use store-bought, you want the gravy to be on the thinner side.

ALL-IN-ONE BREAKFAST CASSEROLE

12 biscuits

2 dozen scrambled eggs

Potatoes or 1 32-ounce package of frozen hashed browns

2 pounds of bacon, fried and crumbled

2 cups Cheddar cheese

1 gallon of sausage gravy

Bake biscuits and break into bite sized pieces. Put into bottom of a greased roaster Next, layer potatoes, eggs, bacon, and cheese on top of the biscuits. Take a spoon and make holes in the casserole so gravy can run down into the rest of the ingredients. Pour gravy over the top. Bake at 350 until thoroughly heated, about 30 minutes. Optional: you can add green peppers, onions, and mushrooms whatever you wish can be added.

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THE AMISH COOK

BY old order Amish LOVINA EICHER

We have entered the fourth month of 2011. Only nine weeks are left in the school term and it just always amazes me how time seems to go faster as the children get older. Without having to take time to sit and feed a baby or having to sit and rock a toddler for their daily nap I always figured there would be more time to get caught up. But instead ife seems to get busier as the years fly by. While taking care of the little ones it was always a good time for me to catch up with my reading. Often times I snuck a little nap in myself with one of the little ones. Now this year our youngest child, Kevin, will turn 6 years old. This week my husband Joe doesn’t have any work at the factory and the children are home from their spring break. We are hoping for warmer weather because we would like to get the yard cleaned up and get the painting done upstairs. We will be holding church services here in June so there’s always a rush to get the place in order before then.

It was 7 years in March that we made the move from Indiana to Michigan. Six days after our move our horse Itty Bit had her colt, bay-colored Ginger. I remember that we were afraid that Itty Bit would decideto deliver during the journey to Michigan. All worked out well and she waited until six days after our move. We have watched Ginger grow over the years into a dependable horse. We still have our oldest horse, Diamond, who will be17 years next month. He was born on my Mom and Dad’s place, Joe trained him and we have had him ever since. We have two buggies now so some of the children will take one of the horses with the one-seated buggy and the rest will take the surrey (two seated buggy) with another horse. Itty-Bit isn’t a big horse so she just usually pulls the one-seated buggy, while we’ll use Ginger or Diamond for the surrey.

This coming week daughter Elizabeth, 16, will be traveling to Kentucky with her friend Timothy and family. Timothy’s cousin is getting married on Thursday which they plan to attend the wedding (editor’s note: according to long-standing tradition, many Amish churches hold weddings on Thursdays) This is another part of life – having a child old enough to go away overnight – that is new to us, makes us think how fast the time goes and the children grow older. We will be glad once they will be home safe and sound. It teaches us to always put our trust in our Heavenly Father.

Joe and I attended the local consignment sale that is an annual event in this community. The lunch stand proceeds went to an area Amish school. A bake sale was also held to help out a young Amish couple with hospital bills. Helping one another with the burdens of life makes the load a lot easier for the ones carrying the burdens. There was anything from farm machinery to buggies and horses for sale. It was a cold, chilly day for the sale but it was well-attended.

Daughter Verena has been excited to still be receiving pieces of her puzzle. Joe and I have also greatly appreciated the letters from cousins, uncles, aunts, and friends that we hardly ever see. May God bless everyone of us that helps Verena with encouragement and cheer through this trial in life. Only God knows what the future holds and may we accept His plan whatever it may be.

Joe’s 97 year old grandmother continues to recover from her fal. She still needs lots of care and has a lot of pain yet. Our thoughts and prayers go her way. May God comfort her. We would like to go visit her but gas prices are soaring high. When the gas prices rise it makes the Amish drivers have to raise their prices on trips (Editor‘s note: while the Amish take buggies for local travel, they will hire non-Amish drivers fr longer trips). But we shouldn’t complain because we do have many blessings that we too often take for granted. I think this is God’s way of reminding us what matters most in life.

I will share a recipe for homemade chocolate pudding with you readers, it was always a favorite to us children when mother would make a big pot of it.

Lovina inherited the column from her mother, Elizabeth, who penned it from 1991 through 2002 . Anyone with cultural or cooking questions can send them to: Lovina Eicher, The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 2144, Middletown, OH 45042.Lovina Eicher, a member of the Old Order Amish, hand-writes this column from her Michigan home.

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

1 1 /2 cups sugar

4 tablespoons cocoa

1 1 /3 cup flour

8 cups milk

Heat 6 cups of milk over medium heat until hot but not boiling. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar, cocoa, and flour and add the two remaining cups of milk. Mix with spoon until smooth and stir into the hot milk letting it come to a good boil. Remove from heat and cool. Can be used to fill baked pie crusts or served as a pudding.

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