By Kevin Williams
Food is comfort.
That could be the mantra for the Amish during times of trouble. After a death or a family tragedy out come the casseroles and cookies. There's something comforting and caring about digging into a hot, homecooked meal if you're too emotionally wrought to make your own. Making a meal is a simple, kind gesture that anyone can offer and, among the Amish, it is almost sacrosanct. This doesn't mean food doesn't play a comforting role in other cultures, it certainly does. My Mom's family is of Italian-American descent and big food spreads were always the norm after a funeral (and almost any other occasion).
Each culture has their own comfort food specialties. Some of the recipes below are definitely served at times other than funerals, but these five recipes, or variations of them, are almost always found at Amish funerals to comfort the bereaved.
AMISH CHURCH PEANUT BUTTER SPREAD: Nothing like a little marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, and corn syrup to make someone feel better! Click here for the recipe.
AMISH RAISIN PIE (Funeral Pie): Not sure what it is that makes this pie so popular at many Amish funerals, but there's a comforting combination in the raisins and filling. Click here for the recipe.
AMISH FUNERAL CAKE: There is a "funeral cake" also, and that is recipe is posted on an off-site page. There's other interesting stuff on that page, including another raisin pie recipe. Click here.
The recipes below are also popular at Amish funerals. Casseroles can come in all shapes, sizes and ingredients, but a hearty hamburger or chicken casserole like the ones below is common at an Amish funeral meal. So is tapioca pudding. The tapioca recipe below is an old Amish recipe from the Swiss Amish, but I think the instructions are a little confusing, so only try it if you know what you are doing! The other recipes which come to us from an Amish community in Oklahoma are a little spare on instructions, as is typical Amish recipes. But they are typical simple, comfort food fare. I do know a note on the chicken casserole says it fills one large Amish casserole dish.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- 1 small onion
- ½ pound Velveeta, cut into cubes
- Use a 13X9X2 pan of your favorite pizza dough.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Brown beef, onions, and bacon until no longer pink.
- Drain and return meat mixture in skillet.
- Add Velveeta and cook until melted.
- Spread evenly on crust and bake till done.
- 2 pounds of hamburger
- 1 /2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 /2 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup cooked rice
- 1 /4 cup chopped onion
- ¾ cup chopped green pepper
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook hamburger and drain excess grease.
- Mix cooked hamburger and the rest of the ingredients together in a large casserole dish, saving one cup of cheese to put on top.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
- 2 cups of tapioca
- 2 quarts water
- 6 ounce package of strawberry jello
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 can Rich's topping
- Cook tapioca and water for 10 minutes.
- Remove from stove.
- Add sugar and Jello and stir well.
- Let get cold and set.
- If too thick, add water.
- Stir a few times while cooking as tapioca will settle to the bottom.
- Whip topping until it is very stiff.
- Add the amount of tapioca you desire.
- Mix very well.
- 2 packages ranch dressing mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 2 packages taco seasoning
- 1 / 2 cup onion
- 10 potatoes, cooked, peeled, and shredded
- 1 cup milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add sour cream and milk to dressing mix.
- Fry hamburger with onion and add taco seasoning.
- Layer all ingredients in casserole in order given: potatoes, ranch mix, and hamburger.
- Put cheese sauce on top and bake until hot.
- Before serving put crushed nacho chips on top.
- 2 cups cooked chicken
- 2 cups raw cooked rice
- 2 cans cream of chicken soup
- ½ cup slivered almonds
- 2 cups chopped celery
- 2 tablespoons chopped onion
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- Mix all of the above ingredients and top with 1 cup cornflakes,mixed with 4 tablespoons melted butter.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.