Mother Nature’s clock is accurately ticking, however, with the correct times being spelled out in wildflowers emerging. Wild Phlox are flocking. Spring beauties have sprung. Rue Anemone rue the cold mornings. Wildflowers go by their strict time clock.
The Old Order Amish and Mennonites have changed much in the 20 years since this column was created. In 1991, the Amish were still a largely insular, agrarian culture. Today, Amish men work in factories as much as fields. The internet, cell phones, and automobiles have offered challenges to the church. The Amish, however, true to tradition, have responded in creative and innovative ways, embracing some technologies while finding novel ways to keep others at arm’s length. The Amish have given their approval to solar and wind technologies, advances that allow them to “cherry pick” which technologies suit their lifestyle while still remaining “off the grid.” But technology isn’t all about business. There is now actually a Mennonite online dating service called MennoMeet.
And many Amish have embraced “voicemail” services for leaving one another messages without actually keeping a phone in the home. So the historically innovative Amish and Mennonites have been gradually adopting some changes, while keeping their core culture intact. There are, however, still limits. When the Amish newspaper The Budget decided to publish online last year, the negative outcry from Amish readers was so strong that the paper quickly reversed course.
Personally, I admire the incremental changes the Amish adopt, without sacrificing their traditional values. Regular readers of this column know that I have had a front-row seat to changing Amish culture in my job as editor. And the trials and tribulations of this endeavor have challenged my own core identity. But, in the end, I’ve been blessed by my friendship with the Amish. No matter my own flaws, the Amish have helped to keep me grounded and growing. I hope to tell my story one day in a memoir-type book, more on that potential project another day.
Readers and a core group of supportive editors have kept The Amish Cook column going. The challenges on this end are not completely over, but with reader support I think the end of the tough times are now within reach. To celebrating the resiliency of Amish culture and this column we are offering a fun new book commemorating and highlighting Amish culture. The book is called The Amish Cook’s Everything But The Kitchen Sink Book and it explores everything Amish in an informative, enjoyable way.
Other tidbits from the book: Did you know Yoder vs. Wisconsin was a landmark Supreme Court case in 1972 that allowed for Amish schools? Read the actual case and some editor’s commentary of its implications. Do the Amish vote? The book explores this topic. Did you hear about the Amish couple that showed up in Quebec seeking asylum from - North Dakota? Odd since neither location has an Amish population. Which recipe do readers request the most from Lovina? Find out the answers to all of this and more in The Amish Cook’s Everything But the Kitchen Sink Book!
To bury the past and pour a foundation for the Amish Cook column’s future, the next month will feature the biggest book sale ever: all soft cover Amish Cook cookbooks are available for $9.99 a title for anyone who preorders the Kitchen Sink book for $19.99 (shipping charges additional). Telephone orders are encouraged, because books ship from Amazon.com the same day and a confirmation number is provided. Postal and online orders can take longer. To order by phone, call 513-849-9158, or online at www.amishcookonline.com/special or mail to Oasis Newsfeatures, PO BOX 2144, Middletown, Ohio 45042.
Try this recipe from the book, a traditional Amish cook that utilizes basic baking ingredients.
Kitchen Sink Cookies
2 cups of oil
3 cups of sugar
7 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons of vanilla
1 cup of buttermilk or milk and vinegar
2 teaspoons of baking soda
Mix well and drop by teaspoon onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes or until golden around edges.