The Amish Cook June 5

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Gloria talks about the Amish

By Gloria Yoder

Scanning over a list of questions I had filed from some of you readers, I noticed that a more frequent one is that of our Amish lifestyle and traditions. If only there would be cut and dry answers
to that would apply to all Amish. This is the catch: like almost all church affiliations out there, there just is not a one size fits all.

Since I cannot possibly represent the hundreds of different types of Amish folks out there, I will just take the simpler route of filling you in on more details of our Amish life near the small town of Flat Rock, Illinois. And by the way, we really are people just like you! We just live our lives in different ways.

“What makes people want to be Amish?” you wonder, or “Is everyone required to be Amish for their entire life, with no choice or option on their part? Okay, so being born into an Amish family is obviously not the infant’s choice. For me, I felt safe and secure in my parents’ love. I was taught, from a young age, not only by words but from an example in day-to-day living about loving the Lord and living for him.

Now, for your question about “rumspringa.” I have hear of this as a time of Amish youth going out to “try out things of the world” to see whether they like it or not. It is not a part of our custom. There was simply no desire in my heart to leave this safe environment where I felt Jesus in the midst.

Never is anyone forced to stay Amish. In fact, I do have friends who are no longer Amish. Like other Mennonites, they now drive vehicles rather than horse and buggy. We certainly do not claim our plain Amish dresses and the guys’ homemade pats to get us to give us joy or take us to heaven. Only Jesus can fill that role in our hearts. At the same time, I do value the simple life and abstinence from many things such as the television, internet, and radio, that makes our life more low-keyed and keeps us from being exposed to dangers or negatives that we really don’t want for our children.

What are other modes of transportation that we use? Enclosed black buggies are our primary style, simply because they are more accommodating in all types of weather than the open buggies. Some open buggies and pony carts are also used. Ah, these spring evenings are just perfect to go on drives with the children. It’s a perfect way for us to unwind after a busy day. The children absolutely love it. When we come to a stop sign, the youngest ones sometimes make grunting noises, wanting to be on the move again. Bicycles are also used a lot in our community. I don’t bike as much as I did before we had children, simply because I can’t take them with me as easily. We do have a little bike cart that we pull behind the bikes where a couple of children can have a nice ride. Infant seats mounted to the back of the bike also works well, or I have also used a baby sling while biking. Tractors are used to haul work-related items or things to practical to be transported with a buggy. When it come to long distance traveling, we hire someone to take us. For, example, here in our neighborhood, we have a couple of drivers that take us to town or even on long-distance trips, such as visiting family in Ohio. On overseas trips, we use any type of airlines.

Daniel and the children just came indoors from doing the chores, so I need to run along and get everyone ready for bed. I’ll fill you in more later and, in the meanwhile, I’d be delighted to hear of any additional questions you may have. So, pop a note in the mail and I would be happy to answer it the best I can.

Here is a refreshing summer recipe that is popular in many Amish communities.

Date Pudding

1 cup dates, cut fine

1 teaspoon soda

1 cup hot water

1 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup flour

1 egg

1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Bring dates, soda, and water to a boil in a small sauce pan, boil a 
couple minutes or until dates are tender. Remove from heat and pour into 
a mixing bowl along with remaining ingredients. Mix all together and pour into a greased 9 by 9 inch pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or 
until done. Cool.

Carmel sauce:

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons clear jel or corn starch

Mix all together in a saucepan and boil for 10 minutes. Remove from 
heat then add the following: 2 teaspoons vanilla, 2 tablespoons pancake 
or maple syrup, 1 1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring. Cool.

3-4 cups whipped topping

4 bananas

Now, cut cake up in bite-sized cubes and place a layer in a serving dish. (Clear glass ones are the prettiest, as you will be able to see 
all the attractive layers.) Spread half of carmel sauce on top, next 
layer with two sliced bananas, then half of whipped topping. Repeat layers. If desired save part of a banana to slice over the top layer to 
make it look pretty.
Note: you may put on as many layers as you like. When serving this at 
church we use large bowls with as many layers as will fit in. Also more 
or less sauce, topping, and bananas may be used to suit your taste buds.