By Kevin Williams
We have some interesting stuff in Amish in the News this week, so let’s dive right in!
THE AMISH AND ADDICTION: This is an essay a writer wrote, I believe for an Australian publication, musing about Amish addiction. I don’t know. Shrug. I’m not sure the Amish are any more – or less – inclined to addictions than the rest of the population. But this writer makes the case. Click here.
AMISH AND MIDWIVES: This is a topic we’ve been discussing on this site the past week or so. This an article about a new book out by a non-Amish woman who shares her experiences as a midwife to the Amish. Probably some interesting stories in the book. Click here to read more.
MY AMISH HOME: Check out Illinois Amish writer Millie Otto’s account of napping in a buggy and get her recipe for homemade “skillet nachos.” Mmmm, click here for the recipe!
ROCK N ROLL BARS: Check out Amish country chef Lee Ann Miller’s recipe for hot fudge covered “Rock N Roll Bars.” Wow, these sound good. Click here!
10 BEERS IN A BUGGY – An Amish man in Ohio was pulled over for driving a buggy while drunk. Often outsiders snicker and such stories, but they really aren’t all that uncommon.
No law, no religious directive says that they can’t consume alcohol. Outsiders make a lot of erroneous assumptions about the Amish when it comes to certain lifestyle choices and it’s really unfair to the Amish. Such unfounded assumptions raise the Amish to a behaviorial standard that they themselves have never claimed to set. A lot outsiders just assume that the Amish don’t drink alcohol. It’s an assumption probably drawn from the Amish appearance of piety and plainness But the Amish also have a deep Germanic heritage and part of that culinary heritage is alcohol (I’m a quarter German, so I can say that), especially beer. I don’t often see the Amish popping open a bottle of Merlot, but many will make their own homemade wines. I’ve tried some Amish-made dandelion wine on several occasions and it is good stuff. Speaking from my personal observations only, excessive alcohol seems to be “hit and miss” among the Amish. In some communities it seems to be a bigger problem than others. Two communities that have made the news in recent years for cops arresting drunken buggy drives are Berne, Indiana and Middlefield, Ohio. A drunken horseman on a crowded road is no laughing matter. In the Geneva and Berne, Indiana communities, “package stores” (a fancy term for liquor store) do a booming business among the Amish. In Geneva, Indiana the “Case n Quart” is a beer joint right on the edge of the Amish settlement and I’ve seen plenty of buggies parked there over the years. Now this also raises an interesting issue and maybe what I am doing is a stretch? But the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota are now suing alcohol establishments in White Clay, Nebraska just across the state line from the officially dry Pine Ridge Reservation. The tribe claims the alcohol businesses in White Clay target the Sioux. So is the demand there and then the stores come? Or do the stores come and create demand? Alcohol can ravage any group of people.
Alcohol use by teenage/underage Amish appears to be a bigger problem than in the adult Amish population (although by no means limited to this group). I’ve seen large groups of Amish young people congregating at liquor stores. That said, plenty of Amish young people don’t drink. Bottom line in all of this? The Amish in this regard are not much different from the rest of the population…You have a mix of teetotalers, occasional drinkers, and alcoholics.That said, I’d say that alcoholism is under-reported among the Amish and some awareness campaigns might go a long way.