Recently I was able to make a quick trip to Pennsylvania to see my Amish friend Ruth (fictional name to protect her privacy). I first met Ruth when I was researching A Gift of Grace, the first in my Kauffman Amish Bakery Series.
Ruth lives on a dairy farm and has seven children. Our first encounter consisted with sitting in her kitchen for two hours and talking, and I found that she was soft-spoken, warm, and patient person I’d ever met. She never lost her patience with her children. And, since she has seven children, I was impressed. I have two boys, and I find myself constantly raising my voice. I knew when I met Ruth that I could learn to be a better person by following her example.
My friendship with Ruth has grown tremendously during the past five years. We’ve moved from occasional phone calls and visits to more regular calls. She and one of her daughters read my manuscripts and help me with the details and accuracy of my books.
During my most recent visit, Ruth invited me to come to a dinner that she was hosting in her home. Some Amish women host dinners for Englishers (non-Amish) as a way to make extra income. It gives Englishers an opportunity to experience an Amish home and meal. While I had visited Ruth many times, I had never had the opportunity to attend a meal like this.
There are approximately two dozen visitors who attended the meal. Ruth had a small table and also one long table set up in her kitchen. She invited the guests to come into the kitchen, and she asked me to sit at the head of the long table. Before the meal began, she said a prayer, thanking God for the beautiful day and the opportunity to host her new friends in her home.
She then began to serve the meal. Normally, Ruth hires two fifteen-year-old girls to help her since her daughters are busy working and her sons help with the farm. This evening her helpers were busy, so I did what I could assist her with her meal, which included fruit salad, barbecue meatloaf, green beans from her garden, and homemade chicken and noodles. The meal was serve family style. For dessert, we served coffee, chocolate, and coffee-flavored pudding. The food was delicious!
After we ate, Ruth sat on a stool and asked the group where they were from. There were visitors from as close by as New Jersey and as far away as Europe. Ruth answered questions about the Amish culture, and she and her youngest daughter sang a beautiful song for us. She then led us in a verse of Amazing Grace.
I stayed after the guests had left and helped her wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. We talked about our families while we worked.
It was a blessing and an honor to experience a meal in Ruth’s home. I look forward to visiting Ruth again soon.
If you are able to visit Amish Country, I highly recommend that you have a meal in an Amish home. I’m certain you’ll have a wonderful time!