At the top of my current “I want” list is that soda machine that lets people make their own carbonated drinks at home. I mean, how cool is that? But really how necessary is it?
The Amish are never more than a few heartbeats away from any given moment of my day. So as I stand in the store and stare covetously at the machine in its pretty box, I wonder: Would this be something the Amish would use . . . if there was a way other than electricity for them to run it?
The answer is both yes and no. It’s not the modern appliances or the convenience those modern appliances represent that is the reason why the Amish don’t have electricity in their homes. It’s not the coffee makers and blenders they have problems with, but how electricity can bring too much of the world into their homes and potentially tear apart their family. Things like radios, television, and computers.
I went to brunch with a friend today, and at some point (like always) the conversation turned to the Amish. It’s always fun when I have someone cornered, er . . . raptly attentive to my ramblings about the Plain people. Mostly because it helps me remember the details I need when I write, the little ins and outs of the culture, and how the districts vary.
To me that’s the most interesting part of the Amish. How one district can skate but not ride bikes. How some have phone shanties and others have phones in the barns and still others have cell phones. Gasoline generators or wood burning stoves, we still consider them Amish.
In the book I’m currently writing, I’m dealing with two districts of Amish states away from each other and even farther apart when it comes to their Ordnungs (or set of rules used for running the district). The Amish in Oklahoma are more liberal than most, the ones in Tennessee some of the most conservative around. I think that’s one reason why studying and reading about the Amish never gets boring.
So yes, perhaps the Amish in Oklahoma could use a gasoline generator to run a soda machine, which the Swartzentruber would absolutely forbid—both the generator and the machine.
And maybe the soda machine would be a ‘simple’ enough addition to my kitchen. Now If I could just find room for it…
What about you? What’s your favorite Amish tidbit?