Tag Archives: Ruth Boss

Everyone pitches in after lightning strikes sisters’ home

Oh how good to see the sun shining this morning! We had rainy, dreary weather all weekend and until this morning (Wednesday). Is it possible that we have already entered the month of May?

Bread dough rising for 20 loaves of bread to sell at the Illinois book launch.

We had a nice time in South Holland, Illinois, over the weekend. The book signing at Peace Church was a success due to the many helping hands of the recipe testers for the new cookbook, and of course my good friend Ruth. She did more than her share to organize all this. I want to thank all the readers who came. It was so encouraging to hear your kind words. May God bless you each and every one!

The lightning struck and fire started very close to a propane tank.

We had decided to stay Saturday night in Illinois and come home Sunday. Around midnight we received a call letting us know that my sisters Verena and Susan’s house was struck by lightning and was on fire. It was windy and for a while it looked hopeless for the firefighters to save it. But the firefighters did some quick work and the structure was saved, although there was a lot of water damage.

Plans are to rebuild half of the house and try to repair the other half.

After the firefighters left they wanted someone to keep watch on the house to make sure fire didn’t start up again. Mose (son-in-law), Dustin (Loretta’s special friend) and Menno (niece Emma’s special friend) worked hard all night to move furniture out before the ceiling came down. Son-in-law Timothy also came to help once he found out what was going on. Daughter Elizabeth and little Abigail stayed at our house since it was so cold and rainy. During this time we were a few hours away. I wish I could have been there to help but a person never knows. I am just so thankful that no lives were lost. That is what matters most. Material things can be replaced but lives can’t.

This is now Thursday and I still need to finish this column. Sisters Verena and Susan are staying with us ever since the fire. Daughter Verena moved into our daughters’ Loretta and Lovina’s bedroom so my sisters can use Verena’s bedroom.

Meanwhile, amidst everything going on, I am managing to get the clothes sewn for Jake and Lisa’s wedding. Verena and Loretta’s suits are done. I have to finish my dress and then sew my cape and apron.
Next week is our neighbor girl Regina and Wayne’s wedding. I was asked to help bake pies on Thursday and cook at the wedding on Friday. It’s a busy time of the year and lots of weddings in this community. My dress for that wedding is cut out and waiting to be sewn. Daughter Susan is a cook at the wedding also. Daughter Elizabeth took Susan’s dress home to sew it for her. With Susan working full time again, it’s hard for her to find time to sew. Elizabeth was here for the day yesterday. She cut out dress pants for our son Benjamin. Loretta and I were glad for her help with the laundry. It ended up being a nice drying day for laundry.

Since I was busy sewing my husband Joe made supper on the grill. Those joining us for supper besides sisters Verena and Susan, were daughter Susan and her husband Mose, plus Moses’s brother Freeman and Loretta’s friend Dustin.

This morning sisters Verena and Susan did my weekly cleaning before they headed back to their house for the day. They are sorting through the mess and saving what is still okay. Thanks for all your prayers on their behalf. It is greatly appreciated.

I will share the recipe for frozen mocha dessert that I helped make for niece Emma’s wedding a few weeks ago. This is an easy dessert to make ahead of time if you are taking a dessert somewhere, or having company. Very tasty!

God bless you. Until next week, take care!

Frozen Mocha Dessert

2 teaspoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon hot water
¼ cup melted butter
3 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
16 ounces cream cheese
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 can sweetened condensed milk
16 ounce container whipped topping
small amount caramel syrup

Dissolve coffee in hot water. Mix butter with cookie crumbs. Put 2 ½ cups of crumbs on bottom of pan. Reserve ½ cup for top. Combine cream cheese, coffee mixture, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup. Beat well and add whipped topping. Cover and freeze a few days before serving. Drizzle with caramel syrup before serving.

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, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

 

Guest columnist reveals what Lovina’s been cooking in the kitchen

Editor’s Note: Lovina Eicher took a vacation while her children were on spring break. Guest columnist is Melodie Davis, one of the editors at MennoMedia/Herald Press which syndicates Lovina’s column.

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I walked into Lovina’s kitchen on a beautiful October morning last fall to a hive of women cooking up a storm. A breakfast casserole was in the oven and some cookies were already cooling—and the coffee was on. Two huge bushels of apples sat over at the edge of the kitchen. Lovina, plus her daughters Verena and Loretta, were busy mixing and stirring.

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A man by the name of Lucas Landis was taking pictures as the Eichers worked—all without actually photographing faces or even backs. Most of us understand that Amish generally do not pose for any photographs as part of their faith and custom, aiming for simplicity in life and spirit (avoiding pride and boasting).

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What was the kitchen hum about that morning? If you haven’t guessed it yet, Lovina is producing an Amish-themed cookbook, the first one of her own in about four years. We at Herald Press are thrilled! It will be all her own recipes (aside from some, of course, sent by readers or obtained from friends and relatives—Lovina has more cousins than we can count) but each recipe will be tested and adapted by Lovina and her “English” friend Ruth Boss, plus a clutch of volunteer cooks from Ruth’s church.

I was pleased to also meet Ruth that morning, who arrived a bit later and had stopped at a nearby Amish bakery to buy sweet rolls, long johns and other delicacies for the work day. Ruth quipped, “They’ll have to carry us out of here,” because she knew just how plentiful and delicious the food would be that day. You may recall Ruth writing a guest column for Lovina late last summer on daughter Elizabeth’s wedding so Lovina could catch her breath.

Some of the dishes Lovina and daughters made that day included Shoo Fly Pie, Apple Pie, Apple Danish, Carrot Cake, M & M Cookies, Potato Pancakes, Vegetable Soup and more. She had scheduled three such “cooking days” last fall—in addition to everything else that Lovina does in a normal busy week.

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Lovina’s handwritten cooking list with items completed checked off.

Let me add that I was utterly amazed at how well and how much Lovina’s teenage daughters helped—they were in the kitchen all day cooking various recipes—all under Lovina’s watchful instruction. When they weren’t cooking, they were constantly washing dishes. Which is where Ruth and I jumped in—rinsing and drying the dishes, pans, and utensils! I put my hands in that steamy hot water and it felt like home—the wonderful hot water I love for cleaning dishes.

The name of Lovina’s new cookbook is The Essential Amish Kitchen: Everyday Recipes from Farm and Pantry. A cookbook takes extra-long to “cook up” so it comes out in April 2017. We hope you’ll want one to use whenever you want a taste of good home cooking from farm and pantry! The book will be sold online and at bookstores everywhere. Lovina’s column, along with her blog and Facebook page, will keep you posted on when it’s available for preorder.

Writing her weekly column and producing a cookbook like this is Lovina’s way of earning extra money for her family—which she can do right in her own home like many other Amish women in their cottage industries. And so many men too have businesses on the side or full time, now that it is so difficult to support a family on farm income. Family farms are small these days and land is hard to come by. We appreciate readers—and newspapers—being part of this extended family and community. We know readers enjoy sitting down once a week to enter into a little of Lovina’s family life, and learn from the strong faith she shares with us all. One man, who reads Lovina’s column online, said, “I [find] myself greatly blessed and refreshed.”

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The Eicher children wanted to take the cookbook photographer and his family for a quick wagon ride at day’s end.

I’ll share one of my own favorite recipes, adapted from another classic Mennonite cookbook, More-with-Less Cookbook, for Oatmeal Bread.

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Oatmeal Bread

1 cup quick oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons butter or margarine

Combine above ingredients in a large bowl.

Pour 2 cups boiling water over mixture, stirring to combine.

Separately dissolve:
2 packages dry yeast in
½ cup warm water

When batter is cooled to lukewarm, add the yeast mixture. Stir in 5½ cups white flour (you’ll probably add another ½ cup in kneading). When dough is stiff, turn onto a floured board and knead 5–10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again. Shape into 2 loaves and place in greased 9x5x3-inch pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 25–30 minutes. Cool on rack. Brush loaves with butter or margarine for a soft crust.

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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.

Melodie Davis is a writer/editor for MennoMedia and Herald Press who also writes her own syndicated newspaper column, Another Way, and keeps a personal blog Finding Harmony Blog.

 

 

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.

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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.