As an author, one of the things I like to do for research is experience the food the culture I’m writing about cooks and eats. That’s easy to do with the Amish! I don’t cook as much as I used to. I’m usually writing right up until dinnertime and then pull together something quick and easy, although healthy.
But every once in a while I’ll take some time and cook something special, including a dish from one of my Amish cookbooks. My collection ranges from oversized picture cookbooks to little pamphlets that are photocopied. Here’s a glimpse of three of my favorite:
1. The Amish Cook at Home by Lovina Eicher with Kevin Williams is one of the oversized, picture book cookbooks I have. It’s a beautiful compilation that, besides recipes, includes insights into Amish life, amusing anecdotes, beautiful photos, and lovely sayings. Lovina, following in her mother Elizabeth Coblentz’s footsteps, writes the column “The Amish Cook.” This is the kind of book that makes a great gift—for yourself or someone you love.
2. I purchased Amish Country Cooking by the Amish of the West Kootenai, Rexford, Montana, when I was writing my novel Minding Molly. One of the characters was from Montana, and I was looking for some insight into the settlements there. Amish Country Cooking, published in 1988, is full of recipes like finger steaks (using deer, elk, or antelope), vanilla pudding made from scratch, and zucchini soup. There are over 600 recipes and all were originally cooked on woodstoves. Verses and poems are also included. I love this book!
3. The Homestyle Amish Kitchen Cookbook by Georgia Varozza includes Plain favorites such as recipes for sticky buns, shoo-fly pie, and chunky beef vegetable soup to feed a hundred. Georgia compiled family recipes handed down for generations and recipes from members of the Conservative Amish Mennonite Church she attended into her book. Her introduction that’s all about food and her family is worth owning the book, not to mention the other 260 pages of recipes.
What is your favorite Plain food or old-fashioned recipe? Please share any recipe books that you would recommend!
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