We are already into the fifth month of the year—May! Hopefully May will bring warmer temperatures again. The gardens are really wet yet from all the rain we had this past week.
It was a cold, rainy day on Sunday when communion services were held at Dustin and Loretta’s. It was a challenge to keep the pole barn heated. It isn’t insulated, so quite a few tanks of propane were burned to heat the big building. The barn was divided in half with canvas hung from the rafters. On one side, the benches were set for the church services. On the other side, tables were set up as well as a small area for a nursery for the mothers with small children and babies.
For those of you new to this column or the Amish lifestyle, I’ll try to explain how we do communion.
Everyone gathers by 9 a.m., and church services start at 9 or before. Around 11 a.m., we (the family that hosts church and their help) have lunch ready. Tables are set, one for the men and one for the women. With our church being so big, we set a third table for the young boys and girls to eat at. At each place setting is a glass for water, a cup for coffee or hot water, a bowl, spoon, fork, and knife.
On Sunday, we could serve 50 people at once. On the menu was chicken noodle soup (I made four 12-quart kettles), homemade wheat and white bread, ham, cheese spread, peanut butter spread, pickles, pickled red beets, hot peppers, strawberry jam, butter, coffee and spearmint tea, and a variety of four different cookies (chocolate chip, oatmeal, sugar, and lemon). When someone was finished eating, their spot at the table would be cleaned and reset. By 12:30, everyone was fed and back in the services.
Around 3 p.m. communion is held, with the bread and wine being passed out, then the feet washing, etc. By 4 p.m. everything is done, and everyone leaves for home. Grandson Isaiah (Ervin and daughter Susan’s son), 4, was sitting beside me when the members were washing each other’s feet. He was trying to figure all this out. I asked him if he wants his feet washed and he said, “No, I do not want to.” He was quite entertained watching one after another come to wash their feet. It made me smile to see him so deep in thought.
It was a long day for Loretta, but she is glad everything is now cleaned and back to normal. Grandson Denzel popped through his first two teeth! He holds his mouth different trying to feel the teeth. He can feel something is there now and found out pretty fast to not chew on his fingers. His two top ones are almost through, too.
On Monday, Ervin and Susan’s four children, Jennifer, 5, Isaiah, 4, Ryan, 3, and Curtis, 3, were here while Susan went to help in preparation for a wedding that she will be cook at on Friday. Kaitlyn, 6, was in school.
Today our plans are to all go help niece Elizabeth (Manuel) clean. Elizabeth and Manuel will host next church services at their house.
Daughters Loretta and Lovina and I will go together with our horse Midnight and Dustin and Loretta’s buggy. Their buggy is a handicap buggy and has a lift in the back so Loretta can get in with her mobility scooter. Also going today to help are sisters Verena and Emma, nieces Emma and Crystal, and daughters Elizabeth, Susan, and Verena. I made a casserole, and Loretta made a salad to take along. It’s nice to have lunch made so we can keep cleaning. God’s blessings to all!
I will share the cheese spread recipe. It is also in my cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook.
Homemade Church Cheese Spread
6 pounds processed cheese spread (Velveeta)
1 1/2 cups butter
8 cups cream
Put all three ingredients in a big roasting pan and bake at 150-200 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring every 15 minutes, until all is melted.
Cover with plastic wrap to prevent it from getting a crusty top while cooling. The spread is served on a sandwich with or without meat. It is good just spread on bread with some pickles.
Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife, and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, Amish Family Recipes, is available wherever books are sold. Because Lovina is Old Order Amish, she does not have email or a telephone in her home. Lovina does not respond to comments on this website, if you would like to contact her directly, click here.