Category Archives: Pies

Meat aplenty: Making pon hoss and cutting up beef

Saturday we left at 6:00 a.m. to go help sister Emma and Jacob butcher three hogs. One of the hogs was for Menno (Menno is a special friend of niece Emma, 19—Emma and Jacob’s daughter). Menno lives alone in the house Timothy (married to our Elizabeth) used to live in before he moved to the bigger place they have now.

My sisters Verena and Susan, Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) were all there to help too. Many hands make lighter work and we were mostly done by early afternoon. We made pon hoss from the broth and meat cooked from the pork bones. Flour, salt, and pepper is added to thicken it to make what we call pon hoss. After the pon hoss has firmed up in pans, you can cut it in slices and cover with flour and fry it. Our children love pon hoss fried for breakfast. I must say I do like pon hoss, but I’m always glad when the last of it is fried up. This year we did put a few pans in the freezer. We will see how it tastes after it’s been frozen awhile.

I think people in some areas call pon hoss “scrapple.” But we do not put any pork liver in our pon hoss—only the meat cooked from the bones. My parents would always make liver pudding and use some of the meat from the bones. We don’t make liver pudding because it seems Joe is the only one that cares for it around here.

My husband Joe took our meat slicer along and sliced all the ham, bacon, and pork chops for Jacob’s and Menno. Everything was bagged and put in the freezer. Some of the sausage was canned.

Beef will supply food for the family for many months.

Our big project for this week is to cut up our big beef that’s butchered and hanging out in the pole barn. We are glad the temperature has dropped. The thermometer is at the 30 degree mark and it should chill the beef well. We will start cutting it up tomorrow afternoon and finish Saturday if we don’t get it finished. The pole barn isn’t heated so it makes a nice big cooler for the meat.

Sunday evening Timothy, Elizabeth, Abigail, Mose, Susan, and Dustin were our supper guests. The men and boys played horseshoes outside. They were a gift Tim received at Christmas so he brought the game along. It was a very pleasant, warmer day so they were glad to be outdoors. The girls and I made supper, visited, and took turns spoiling little Abigail. She is growing so fast! She hugs us and holds her lips to our cheek like she’s kissing us. She will be six months old tomorrow already! She weighs fifteen pounds now and is twenty-six inches long. One day when we prayed before we ate, she put her hands together and acted like she was praying too. I will quit for now with stories about Abigail. Every grandma knows these feelings and knows how precious grandchildren are.

I am getting so many letters from readers asking where my new cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry can be purchased. I thought I would share in the column where it can be preordered. You can call 800-245-7894 to preorder from the publisher, or if you go online, you can order from Amazon and other stores online. It comes out April 17. I appreciate all the interest in the new cookbook. It was quite an adventure to make my first cookbook without a co-author. I have so many people to acknowledge in the book. Without them I could not have done it! God bless!

Sour Cream Apple Pie

1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups tart apples, peeled and sliced or diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 9-inch unbaked pie shell

Beat first 7 ingredients together until smooth and creamy. Stir in apples and pour into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients, mixing to make crumbs. Remove pie from oven and cover with crumb mixture. Return to oven for 20 minutes, or until crumbs are nicely browned. If necessary, cover crimped edge of crust with foil to prevent over browning.

 

 Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her new cookbook, The Essential Amish Kitchen, will be published in 2017. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Lovina details the joy and work of her daughter’s wedding

WeddingDawn

We had a nice but warm day for the wedding of Mose and Susan, our second oldest daughter. There was a light rain in the forenoon, but it didn’t last long. We are very much in need of rain. The grass is turning brown everywhere.

On the Monday before the wedding, we washed laundry and my friend Ruth took us shopping for the many, many groceries that we needed for the wedding. We bought 400 pounds of potatoes and have only 75 pounds left after the wedding. We bought 600 pounds of freshly butchered chicken but only grilled 500 pounds the day of the wedding.

Food2

Our menu for the wedding meals consisted of mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, barbecued chicken, green beans, corn, broccoli and cauliflower salad, cheese, bread, butter and strawberry jam.TurningBBQchicken2 Desserts were: strawberry, pecan and cherry pies (we had over 75 pies altogether); angel food cake; a fruit mixture of watermelon, musk melon, pineapple and green and purple grapes; and cinnamon pudding. Ice cream was added to the evening meal.

BridalParty2Wedding services were held at neighbors Joas and Susan’s. The couple chose to be married at 11:30 a.m. A meal followed soon after here at our place. All the guests came over to our house after the services were over. Supper was also served at 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. At 7:00 p.m. the table waiters, family and the youth ate and then stayed seated to sing the songs picked by the bride and groom. Sundaes and punch were served to the table waiters and family.

More than fifty cooks helped prepare the food. Some came Wednesday to bake pies and cakes and Nothings (see last week’s column for a description and recipe for Amish Wedding Nothings). The rest came Thursday to chop vegetables for dressing, salad, etc. They finished whatever else had to be done.

Mose and Susan gave these plaques to the table waiters at their wedding as thank-you gifts.
Mose and Susan gave these plaques to the table waiters at their wedding as thank-you gifts.

Sixteen couples were table waiters. Usually, those picked for table waiter are brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends. Six coffee servers served the coffee. The extra helpers passed out the guest book, and pens with Mose and Susan’s names and wedding date on it. Susan and Mose also appointed some girls as babysitters to help the cooks with their children.

Witnesses were Mose’s brother Alvin and his wife Suzy, and Mose’s brother Freeman and daughter Verena. As mothers of the couple, we wore sage color dresses. Table waiter girls wore mint green dresses, and the boys wore white shirts, black pants and vests. The bride wore a green dress with a white cape and apron. Suzy and Verena wore another shade of green. The family wore grass green–colored dresses. The cooks were asked to wear hunter green. By now you can tell that Susan’s favorite color is green! The groom and witnesses also wore black pants and vests with white shirts.

Susan had a local Amish lady make her three-tiered wedding cake. It was all white with white decorations. Fresh flowers were put on top for a cake topper. The tables were lined with mint green tablecloths. Grass green napkins with Mose and Susan’s names and wedding date were used. Mose and Susan made the centerpieces with wood and horseshoes and a vase of flowers in the middle.

This wall hanging hung near the table where the bridal party ate at Mose and Susan's reception.
This wall hanging hung near the table where the bridal party ate at Mose and Susan’s reception.

We could seat 360 people at one sitting for the meal. I still haven’t gone through the guestbook to count the total number of guests that day. I can write more in a future column.

Mose and Susan are both back to work. We made living quarters in part of our pole barn until they find a property suitable for them. It’s nice to have them close by. They hooked up their gas stove and refrigerator this week. A few more adjustments have to be made, and I think it will be a very nice place for them to live.

Other news: Joe’s sister Esther and David from Ohio were blessed with their first child, David Tyrel. He was born August 9. Esther is 42 years old, and we are glad she could finally carry a baby full term. God is good! We wish them God’s blessings and also all of you wonderful readers. More on the wedding in future columns!

Strawberry Pie

Serves 6 to 8

Crust
1 1/2 cup all-purpose four
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons sugar

Filling

1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 cup water
3 tablespoons strawberry-flavored gelatin
a few drops red food coloring (optional)
6 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced

To make crust: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stir together flour, salt, oil, milk and sugar in a medium bowl. Press the dough evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 9-inch pie pan. Bake until golden, about 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

To make filling: Combine sugar, cornstarch, corn syrup and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil about 5 minutes until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in gelatin and food coloring. Let cool until lukewarm. Add the strawberries and pour into cooled crust. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

 

Limping into March—maple sugar time plus recipe!

collie dog Buddy
Border collie Buddy enjoys a buggy ride–even if it is to the vet for a shot.

We have entered the month of March. Our weather made a change from warm sunny days to cold, ice, and snow again. Schools in our area were closed Thursday and Friday of last week and Wednesday of this week.

Our son Joseph, 13, is still on crutches, but only missed two days of school since three were cancelled due to the weather. X-rays showed there isn’t a fracture, just a badly bruised knee. He still can’t put too much pressure on it. It swells up if he uses it too much. He did manage to milk our cow Bessie a few times but is limited in what he can do. We really miss his help. We had to laugh because older brother Benjamin, 16, said he didn’t think Joseph did that much of the chores but now he can see how much Joseph really does do.

While we are having cold and snow, my sisters Verena and Susan are enjoying the sunny south. I talked to them over the phone and they are having a good time. They saw an alligator up close. They had 80 degree weather on the day I talked to them while here in Michigan the temperature was in the teens.

Mose (daughter Susan’s special friend) has been busy cooking maple syrup. He tapped our trees and also sister Emma and Jacob’s trees. He also helps his dad with their own trees. The sugar content is really low this year so it takes gallons and gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

Son-in-law Timothy is also still on crutches, from the chain saw accident he had several weeks ago. He is still not allowed to put any weight on his foot. He was determined to try to go back to work this week. He runs the saw at the saw mill. He sat on a step stool or something to run the saw. After a day at work his foot was so cold since he can’t wear shoes yet. He stayed home a day and went to get toe warmers and thicker socks. At this writing, I haven’t heard if he managed to make it through the rest of the week.

Sunday evening we took supper to Timothy and Elizabeth and had a nice evening with them. It was warm so we walked to the river behind their house. Timothy does pretty well on his crutches whereas Joseph is still getting the hang of his.

Timothy and Elizabeth have also tapped around forty trees and have been cooking down sap into maple syrup. Elizabeth gathers all the sap for Timothy is able to watch over the sap as it cooks down and keeps wood on the fire.

Their horse ShiAnn had a colt with four white feet and a nice star on its forehead. It is a frisky little thing and he was really trying out his legs on Sunday in the sunshine. Izzy and Crystal had fun running outside with us.

I want to make a correction to one of my recent letters. I said my dad was the third of thirteen children. He is the second oldest. I also wrote that cousin Emma’s son died several years before her husband Andy. It was actually several months before. I just thought I should correct that. I have no idea where my mind was when I was writing that day—possibly too many distractions going on.

God bless you all!

Maple Custard Pie

1 1/4 cups brown sugar
9 tablespoons flour
9 egg yolks
6 tablespoons maple syrup
3/4 teaspoon salt
6 cups scalded milk

Frosting:

9 egg whites, beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
18 tablespoons powdered sugar (1 and 1/8 cup)
vanilla

  1. Mix flour and brown sugar and press into three unbaked pie crusts.
  2. Beat egg yolks and add maple syrup, salt, and milk carefully and pour the mixture over sugar mixture. Do not mix. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, lower to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Top with frosting and brown lightly in oven.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Brief lake vacation closes out busy summer; fresh peaches to can and enjoy

CannedPeaches2015Edited
Lovina’s peaches ready for winter.

We had a nice few days staying by the lake. Our family enjoyed fishing and swimming. We had some very hot days so it was nice to be close to the lake. Thanks to my friend Ruth for writing the column for me last week.

We attended the wedding of Leander and Karen. Joe’s Uncle Solomon and Aunt Nancy from Ohio joined us at Timothy and Elizabeth’s house for supper. Joe helped Timothy unload some hay. We had a good supper with barbequed chicken on the menu. Solomon and Nancy came to our house for the night. I made breakfast for all of us before they left the next morning. We enjoyed having them here!

On September 2 our youngest child Kevin turned ten years old. He was excited to go to church as he gets to sit with the boys now instead of with Joe. When the boys and girls turn ten, they can sit with the girls and boys ten years and older.

School started yesterday and Joseph, Lovina, and Kevin had a nice first day of school.

We have peaches here that need to be canned. I’ll probably put some in the freezer too.

Last week Timothy’s sister had a Norwex shower for Elizabeth. I had never been to a Norwex party (cleaning products that are chemically safer). Elizabeth received all the hostess benefits. A wash line was also presented to Timothy and Elizabeth that night. Family members had filled gallon, quart, or sandwich size bags with small gifts for Timothy or Elizabeth. It was interesting to see what people came up with. An example of items in the bags were soup plates, bowls, spices, seasonings, kitchen items, nails, screws, baking supplies, buttons, pins, needles, band aids, etc. They received a lot of nice things. The bags were all pinned to a clothes line hung outside with clothes pins.

Sunday our neighbor girl Ruth was published to be married on October 16 to Aden. Aden is also a member of our church. I was asked to help cook. Joe was asked to help wash dishes at night. Loretta was asked to be a babysitter. The babysitters help watch the cooks’ babies and toddlers. Loretta and I both need to have a new aqua dress sewn for this wedding.

On Saturday sister Liz and Levi are hosting our family gathering. I’m not sure what the exact number is for our family count now, but I know it’s over one hundred. Next year it will be our turn to host the gathering. It seems like the family has been together more this year since there were a few weddings in the family.

I am hoping to answer the letters to readers this week. I apologize for taking this long to answer some of the letters while we were so busy with the wedding and church services. Thank you so much for your patience. God bless you all!

Try this peach crisp recipe while peaches are in season!

Peach Crisp

6 fresh peaches (peeled, pitted, and sliced)
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oatmeal

Place peaches in the bottom of an 8 inch square baking dish. Sprinkle with almond extract. In a bowl combine flour, sugars, cinnamon, and salt. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until it looks like crumbs. Sprinkle the flour mixture in an even layer over the top of the peaches and sprinkle the oatmeal on top. Bake at 375° for about 45 minutes until peaches are bubbling and topping is browned.

 

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s friend Ruth provides additional background on Amish wedding

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher is on vacation. Guest columnist Ruth Boss, an “English” friend of Lovina’s, shares her perspective on the wedding of Tim and Elizabeth from her ringside seat as a “gopher” leading up to the wedding August 14.

HorsesWaitingAugust 7. One week until the big wedding! Lovina tells me they’ve invited 700 for the noon meal, 600 for the evening meal, and 200 for the youth meal. But about 30 percent won’t come; still, she will be serving 1,000 meals. Some of the people are invited to both meals so there won’t be 1,000 actual guests— but who’s counting?

August 12. How much food do you need to serve 1,000 meals? A lot! For the dressing we bought 45 loaves of bread (to be cubed and toasted), 12 stalks of celery, and 10 pounds of onions. We picked up 350 pounds of chicken leg quarters to grill the morning of the wedding. Today 20-30 women will come to Lovina’s house to make cherry and pecan pies and angel food cake. PotatoesTim, Liz, and I will pick up the 250 pounds of potatoes and 1,000 candy bars this afternoon. It’s an Amish tradition in this community for the bride and groom to hand one out to each guest. It’s fascinating to watch the family, friends, and church family work together to prepare for this wedding. The Amish community quietly and cooperatively gets the job done.
SheetsOnLineDayBeforeWeddingAugust 13, early morning. It’s another cool morning in Michigan. The cooks in the wedding wagon are grateful for the cool breeze with seven ovens going, which also has two large sinks and plenty of prep counters and open shelves. The cooks are chatting in German, probably catching up about their families and news. The bread is being made along with peanut butter pie and “dirt pudding.” Two women cut the chicken leg quarters into two pieces. Susan is washing all the bed sheets today. Small children are playing and babies are being watched by young girls. A large pot of coffee is brewing with snacks on a table. Yesterday Elizabeth gave Timothy a haircut for the wedding. After tomorrow he will not shave his beard as that is the tradition for a married man. Tonight all the sisters are having a sleepover in one bedroom for their last night together.

August 13, afternoon. There is literally a bee hive of women workingBreadDoughRising in Lovina’s kitchen. Two are doing dishes, three are washing windows, more are sweeping and mopping floors. Laundry is being folded by another while yet another is cleaning the bathroom. Outside, in the wedding wagon, the bread baking and dessert making continues. In the middle of the kitchen four men sit at the table with coffee, talking about work and other stuff men talk about—and taking a break from cleaning out the barn. The homemade bread is out of the oven; after brief cooling, it will be put in used bread bags to make it softer.

LakeNearLovina

August 14: Tim and Elizabeth are officially married! We had beautiful weather. The cooks arrived around 6:30 a.m. to start cooking. The wedding, which was at the neighbors, started at 9:00 a.m. with songs and then preaching until about 11:30. Tim, Liz, and their witnesses sat in the middle with benches in a u-shape surrounding them. The men sat on one side facing the middle and the women sat opposite them facing the middle. About 11:00 all the cooks and table waiters filed in and took seats. It was all in German, so I didn’t understand what was being said but towards the end the bishop asked Liz and Tim six questions which are their marriage vows, to which they answered yes. After a prayer the bishop placed Liz’s hand in Tim’s and pronounced them husband and wife.  A wonderful meal was served at noon and another at 5:00 p.m., and a separate supper for the young people at 7:00 p.m. At the end of the evening the men and women all pitched in to wash the dishes and pack up the wedding wagons. There was a bit of mischief that involved a “silly string” war at the youth dinner and some TP’ing of Tim and Liz’s new house.

Lovina and I have been friends for a number of years; she is just asBonnetsAtWedding genuine as you may imagine her to be. She is patient and loving with her children, and generous with her time when it comes to helping others. She is deep rooted in her faith and that is what has gotten her through the trials they have experienced through the years. There is fun and laughter in their home, and often the source of jokes is Lovina herself! She speaks often of her gratitude for her readers and how the prayers and support of all of you have helped her through some difficult times. She cherishes your friendship even though she will never meet many of you. I am glad to call her my friend.

WeddingMenusHere’s the Peanut Butter Pie Lovina’s family made for the wedding, (listed on the extensive menu, right).

Peanut Butter Pie (makes two)

2 baked pie shells
4 cups milk
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
12 ounces whipped topping, divided

Crumb Mixture (make one batch for each pie)

3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/3 cup peanut butter

Mix powdered sugar and peanut butter with fork until it is coarse and crumbly.  Place 3/4 cup of mixture into each baked pie shell.

Heat milk to scalding. In a separate bowl combine sugar, salt, and flour. Stir in 3 beaten eggs. Stir 1/4 cup of the scalding milk into this mixture. Pour mixture into pan of warm milk and cook over medium-low heat until thick, stirring often. Stir in vanilla.

When thick, pour into pie shells. Let cool, then refrigerate a few hours or overnight. Top with whipped topping and remainder of crumb mixture.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Elizabeth’s wedding day brings sacred vows and 1,000 meals served

The wedding day of Timothy and daughter Elizabeth (August 14) is now past. We had a few sprinkles of rain early in the morning and then nice weather the rest of the day. After everything was over and cleaned up, we had a thunderstorm and more than an inch of rain. We were thankful that it waited to rain until all was over.

It was hard to believe this day was finally here after so much preparation to get ready for it! Joe’s cousin Samuel started grilling the 350 pounds of chicken at 4:00 a.m on Friday. Around 6:30 a.m. the cooks started arriving to get the food prepared. Wedding services were held at our neighbors’, Joas and Susan’s. Timothy, Elizabeth and their four witnesses—Mose, Susan, Ernie and Martha (Tim’s sister and her husband)—left to go to the neighbors soon after 7:00 a.m.

Verena, Loretta, and Lovina wore these dresses for Elizabeth’s wedding.
Verena, Loretta and Lovina wore these dresses for Elizabeth’s wedding.

Elizabeth likes the color burgundy and Timothy likes purple, so the wedding colors were those two colors. Elizabeth got married in a burgundy-colored dress with a white cape and apron. The grooms always wear a black suit and white shirt, as do the witnesses. Susan and Martha wore purple dresses with white cape and aprons. Family members wore a shade of rose, and the table waiter girls wore another shade of raspberry-colored material. Timothy’s mother and I wore dresses of a dark plum color, and some of the helpers wore purple. The cooks all wore dark gray. The men and boys all wore black pants and vests with white shirts. Timothy’s nephews wore rose-colored shirts and sharkskin-gray pants. His nieces wore rose-colored dresses.

An Amish couple says these vows to each other on their wedding day. Here they appear in German and English.
An Amish couple says these vows to each other on their wedding day. Here they appear in German and English.

Around 11:30 a.m., toward the end of the service, Bishop Leroy asked Timothy and Elizabeth all the marriage vows, which they responded to with yes. There are six questions that are asked. Then everyone is asked to stand for a prayer for the couple. After the prayer the bishop takes the hand of the bride, places it in the hand of the bridegroom and pronounces them man and wife.

After the service ended around noon, everyone came to our house for the noon meal. We estimated that there were more than 500 people here for the noon meal. Our menu consisted of barbecued chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, noodles, dressing, corn, cheese, lettuce salad, homemade bread, butter, strawberry jam, angel food cake (with frosting and Danish dessert topping), dirt pudding, mixed fruit, and cherry, pecan, and peanut butter pies. We made 25 of each kind of pie. Candy bars were passed around after the meal. The same menu was served at night, but smoked sausage and ice cream were added to the meal. We served around 575 for supper.

The Eicher family served more than 1,000 meals on the day of Elizabeth and Timothy's wedding.
The Eicher family served more than 1,000 meals on the day of Elizabeth and Timothy’s wedding.

Timothy and Elizabeth opened their gifts in the afternoon. They have a lot of nice gifts to add to their new home. The gifts are usually household items such as kitchen items, towels and bedding, and some give things like tools and shovels for the groom. Money is given by some who aren’t sure what to give, which is also nice because the bride and groom can go buy what they didn’t get.

There is a lot more to write about the wedding, so I’ll share more in future columns. We are having to adjust here at home without Elizabeth here. We really miss her, and the children also miss her dogs, Izzy and Crystal. Verena has moved her things into Elizabeth’s bedroom. It’s surprising how empty the house feels with one of the children not here.

I have to thank my friend Ruth for all her help over this wedding. She was here to go and get whatever we ran out of or forgot. She took me shopping, one trip after another, to get the many groceries needed for this wedding. She also did loads of laundry for me when we had rainy weather. She washed all the towels and dishcloths after each meal. I don’t know how I can ever repay her. A true friend indeed! Thanks so much, Ruth!

Also, a thank you from Timothy and Elizabeth to all the readers who so kindly sent cards and gifts.  They were greatly appreciated! God bless! God’s blessings to Timothy, Elizabeth and all you readers.

Here is the recipe for pecan pie that we served at the wedding.

Pecan Pie

6 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon butter, melted
1 cup water
2 cups pecans, whole or crushed

Mix together all ingredients except pecans. Pour mixture into a 9-inch unbaked crust. Sprinkle pecans on top. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 300° and bake until pie is set. Makes two 9-inch pies.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

Lovina’s prayers of blessing for her daughter on the eve of the wedding

It is a hot and humid Sunday afternoon. My husband, Joe, and I and our four youngest children are the only ones home this afternoon. Everyone is taking naps. It would be nice to take one too, but I need to get another column written before next week.

Church services were held at our neighbors Joas and Susan’s house. The next services will be here in two weeks. Joas and Susan will also host the wedding services for Timothy and daughter Elizabeth in their nice new pole barn on Friday. The receptions will be here.

On the day of the wedding, we serve a meal after the services and marriage, which are usually all done by noon. Then we serve a 5:00 p.m. supper for guests and a 7:00 p.m. supper for the youth and family. The bride and groom usually open their wedding gifts in the afternoon.

The inside of the wedding wagon, a portable kitchen that Lovina and her family are using to prepare the food for hundreds of wedding guests.
The inside of the wedding wagon, a portable kitchen that Lovina and her family are using to prepare the food for hundreds of wedding guests.

We are renting a wedding wagon, which comes with seven stoves and two sinks, plus all the pots, pans and dishes you need for the wedding. It also has a big cooler/freezer to put all the food in after it has been prepared. An 8×16-foot trailer comes with it, carrying all the tables, shelves and dishes.

Yesterday we had a lot of help to get the tables set for the wedding. There are enough place settings for 350. We have enough room in the new pole barn to seat 350 people at one time plus the bride, groom and their four witnesses. The wedding wagon, cooler, and trailer with dishes and tables have to be ready to leave here at 7:00 a.m. Saturday morning. It will go to another place for another wedding.

The tables are set for the big wedding day of Elizabeth, Lovina and Joe's oldest daughter, and Timothy.
The tables are set for the big wedding day of Elizabeth, Lovina and Joe’s oldest daughter, and Timothy.

My thoughts and prayers are with my firstborn this afternoon as I think of her taking this big step in life. She will have a lot of changes, but I have no doubt in my mind that they will be good ones. It is just a mother’s nature to worry for her children, but there needs to be a time to let them experience life without the presence of their parents.

Elizabeth has been a great daughter and never caused us any trouble. She was always obedient to us, which means so much to parents. My advice to her is to always start her day with her husband in prayer together and to end it with prayer together. What a great way to start and end your day with God being the guide. Every marriage has its ups and downs, but if you have love and respect for each other, things can always be healed. Marriage vows should be taken very seriously. Elizabeth, I pray that you and Timothy will always remain in love as much as you are now. Joe and I were fortunate to have parents who encouraged us and let us make decisions on our own. We asked for a lot of advice, but parents can only give so much advice. It takes husband and wife alone to work things out together, with God as their guide.

Elizabeth and Timothy, may you have a long and happy married life together. May God grant you both good health and a family to care for. I hope and pray your wedding day will be a day you want to remember. My love to both of you. Now we will gain a son, not lose a daughter! God bless!

Here's Lovina's pie crust recipe from her card file.
Here’s Lovina’s pie crust recipe from her card file.

This week I’ll share Timothy’s mother’s pie dough recipe, which we will use to make all the pies for the wedding. I’m not sure yet, but I think we will make 75–80 pies for that day.

Pie crusts wait for filling as preparations continue for Elizabeth's wedding.
Pie crusts wait for filling as preparations continue for Elizabeth’s wedding.

Pie Crust

6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups lard
2 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 teaspoons vinegar

Mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Stir lard into flour mixture to make crumbs. It’s best if crumbs are quite moist; add a little more lard if necessary.

Beat together eggs, water and vinegar and pour over crumbs. Mix with a fork until right consistency. Don’t overmix. Roll out and press into pie pans. Makes six single-crust or three double-crust pies.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

A wedding filled with sweet nothings

August is well underway, and 2014 is more than half gone. Time just goes faster and faster. It is just amazing how the years go one after another. What matters most is that we live our lives pleasing to God. The world is full of temptations and we as parents need to pray daily that God will guide our children in the direction of His will.

Thursday turned out to be a beautiful day as niece Marlene and Chris exchanged their marriage vows. Three hundred and fifty pounds of chicken was fried for the noon meal. Also on the menu were mashed potatoes, gravy, chicken and noodles, dressing, lettuce salad, mixed vegetables, cheese, homemade wheat bread, butter and strawberry jam. Desserts were tapioca pudding, sliced peaches in a fruit glaze, angel food cake with a strawberry topping, and the pies were pecan, blueberry and cherry. Sausage links were also added to the menu for supper.

“Nothings” (also called “Knee Patches”) were on the tables. They are a thin, sweet pastry made from eggs, flour, sugar and cream. The dough is rolled out real thin and then deep-fried. Sugar is sprinkled on top and they are put on stacks on a dinner plate. Plates of Nothings are set around the tables and people can enjoy them all day. In our Amish community Nothings are never made for weddings. When I was a young girl everyone in my home community had Nothings and celery sticks on the tables at a wedding. They didn’t have celery sticks at this wedding, so I’m not sure if this isn’t a tradition anymore or if some just decide not to have celery.

Stacks of "Nothings," shown here at Lovina and Joe's wedding in 1993.
Stacks of “Nothings,” shown here at Lovina and Joe’s wedding in 1993.

They didn’t have a wedding wagon there, so kerosene stoves were borrowed as well as many pots and pans. The food was all prepared in a summer kitchen area that connected to the pole-barn type building where the tables were set up. In yet another building the services were held for the wedding ceremony.

Brother Amos and Nancy have eight daughters and two sons. This was the fourth daughter getting married so I’m sure they are well practiced to prepare for a wedding.

I was a cook at the wedding and my job was to help mash potatoes. All the potatoes were mashed by hand. In some of the wedding wagons they have mixers that are run off the generator so it makes lots less work to get the potatoes mashed. This was how the potatoes were mashed at niece Irene’s wedding. It is always interesting to see the differences from one Amish community to the next.

At weddings in our Amish community all the children go to the table to eat. At weddings in Berne, Ind., they have the children eat cafeteria-style. At this wedding, 130 adults could eat at one time and the tables were reset quite often. I’m guessing there were around 250-300 youth that came for the evening meal. Berne is a large community compared to ours.

We were happy to have nephew Chris Schwartz Jr. spend the evening here on Saturday. We cooked supper outside on the grill and open kettle. Pork steak, ribs, hot wings, and banana and Jalapeño poppers were grilled. Chili soup was made in the kettle. Chris is 30 years old and still single. He runs a construction crew and was working close by.

Blueberries will only have a short season here in our area this year. Try this blueberry pie with fresh blueberries.

Blueberry Pie

  • 1 quart blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2½ tablespoons Clear Jel
  • 1¼ cup cold water
  • 1½ teaspoon lemon juice
  • Blue food coloring (optional)
  • 1 (9-inch) pie crust (unbaked)

Use fresh, ripe blueberries or unsweetened frozen blueberries. Wash and drain. Combine sugar and Clear Jel in a saucepan. Add water and food coloring (optional), then cook until mixture thickens and begins to boil. Add lemon juice and boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Fold in berries and put in pie crust. You can do either a double or single crust pie, and some use flour or minute tapioca instead of Clear Jel. Bake 1 hour or until done.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.

Pie filling to store up summer sweetness

Strawberry pie filling
Lovina’s strawberry pie filling, ready for the freezer.

It is a quiet morning at 5:30 a.m. Our two oldest daughters, Elizabeth, 20, and Susan, 18, just left for the factory a few minutes ago. All is quiet with the six other children still asleep. My husband, Joe, left for work before 4:00 a.m. and is probably hard at work already. They start working by 5:00 a.m. at the RV factory where he has worked for the last 9½ years.

My dad was always an early riser and loved the early morning hours. He never liked going to bed late. There is so much beauty and peace in the morning hours.

“There is so much beauty and peace in the morning hours.”

Yesterday we made 12 quarts of strawberry pie filling. We put it in the freezer instead of cold-packing it in jars. The strawberries came from my sister Emma’s strawberry patch. So many people are having a good supply of strawberries this year. The rains seem to be frequent enough.

Our garden is doing so well already. But when everything grows, so do the weeds. It is so hard to keep up with them. Son Benjamin took the tiller through the rows of sweet corn, and that looks so much better. He also used the weed-eater to trim the weeds around the buildings that we can’t get with the lawn mower. That looks better too.

It is just hard to believe Benjamin has grown so tall and can handle all these jobs. I think he is taller than I am. Benjamin’s school days are in the past now. He finished with eighth grade, which is usually the last grade the Amish children take.

Benjamin was four years old when we moved to Michigan from Indiana. He was always full of energy and gave us quite a few scares during his younger years. Daughter Loretta was born 11½ months after Benjamin, and those two were quite the team when they were toddlers. Before Loretta could walk, I would put her in the playpen if I had to leave the room for a little bit. One time when I came back, I was surprised to see Loretta crawling around on the floor. Benjamin had managed to find my scissors and cut a hole in the playpen so Loretta could get out to play with him! I am so thankful neither of them was hurt. Needless to say, we needed a new playpen.

Joe and the boys are fishing every chance they get. For Father’s Day the children gave Joe a tripod that has a chain to hang a kettle on. They also gave him a cast-iron outdoor kettle. Joe deep-fried fish in it one evening. It worked really well. Joe enjoys cooking outdoors and I have no objections when he offers to cook.

The tripod and kettle that the children gave to Joe for Fathers Day.
The tripod and kettle that the children gave to Joe for Father’s Day.

On warm evenings it is so nice to eat outside. The children made s’mores after they were done eating fish. We had bluegill, perch and bass. I prefer the bass and Joe would rather have the bluegill. Son Kevin, 8, wanted me to know that he caught the perch. At first he couldn’t remember the name of the fish. He said, “It starts with a P!”

I’ll share my strawberry pie filling recipe with you readers. God bless you all!

Strawberry Pie Filling

  • 6 quarts water
  • 4½ cups Perma Flo
  • 4 cups cold water
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 4½ cups strawberry gelatin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 5 quarts strawberries, mashed

Put 6 quarts water in a 12-quart kettle and bring to a boil. In bowl, mix Perma Flo and 4 cups cold water. (Perma Flo is available at some Amish-run stores and online, but Clearjel can be substituted. Perma Flo works better for freezing.) Stir into boiling water, stirring constantly. After it thickens, remove from heat and add sugar, gelatin and salt. Add strawberries and stir until mixed well. Freeze in containers.

This also works well as an ice-cream topping and in puddings or cobblers.

Blueberry variation: Replace strawberries with same amount of blueberries; add 1 teaspoon lemon juice; replace strawberry gelatin with raspberry and blueberry gelatin (in equal amounts); and use 3½ cups Perma Flo.

Peach variation: Replace strawberries with 7–8 quarts sliced peaches and replace strawberry gelatin with peach and orange gelatin (in equal amounts).

Cherry variation: Replace strawberries with 10 pounds cherries; use 3½ cups Perma Flo; and add 1 teaspoon almond flavoring.

Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Formerly writing as The Amish Cook, Eicher inherited that column from her mother, Elizabeth Coblentz, who wrote from 1991 to 2002. Readers can contact Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 or at Editor@LovinasAmishKitchen.com.