THE AMISH COOK
BY GLORIA YODER
Greetings from the Yoders!
We’re enjoying our stay with my husband Daniel’s family in Danville, Ohio. Our 2 1 /2 year-old daughter Julia’s highlight this week was going to her Uncle Tobias and Aunt Fannie’s house. They have a nice pond where we go fishing and boating. Julia gets all excited when Tobias offers to take her fishing. I love watching the delight on her face when she discovers a fish on her line, although she gets worried sometimes when she has a tough time reeling them in. Daddy is always right there to give her a helping hand. Julia was especially impressed last night when she saw the three little swans that live on the pond to help keep the moss cleared off.
Today we tackled the job of butchering chickens. The men’s help was a big asset and greatly appreciated. Some of you may have heard your grandmothers talking about the “old-fashioned method” of plucking chickens. It worked well and was quite simple. The old-fashioned method involves dipping the chickens (after they have been killed) into hot water with baking soda, which allows the feathers to be picked off easily. Next, a small torch was used to singe off the last bits of feathers. After gutting the chickens they were ready to be cut up and cooled off. The cooling process is always an important step. The cold well water did a wonderful job with chilling them in a short time.
Tomorrow, the chicken will be cooked in water. After it is fully cooked the broth is drained and used for a large variety of items such as cooking noodles, making gravy, or soup. The chicken is again cooled and picked off the bones. It’s delicious to put in casseroles, stuffing, chicken noodle soup, etc.
We’ve had exceptionally pleasant weather so far this summer. This past week, however, has been a bit more humid and warmer. It feels more like regular August weather.
Back in Illinois, this summer my sisters spent many hours with their four ponies. The excitement level soared high this spring when another colt was born. It was an adorable brown and white paint which they named Snickers. They enjoy the challenge of taming the colts and training them to be hitched to a cart or be used for riding.
It’s always easy to hitch up a pony for short errands such as making a quick trip to my uncle’s country store. If I need groceries all I need to do is let my sisters – who still live next door with my parents - know that I’m needing to and one of them will soon be at my doorstep, delighted to give me a ride.
They also do lots of bare back riding. You can only imagine how proud Julia is to be perched on top of a pony with one of her aunts. Of course with me being a mother, I’m always reminding them to go slowly and be careful with Julia on board.
Our cousins, who live next door the other direction, also have several paint ponies. My sisters are always delighted to get together with them and their ponies.
Recently, Julia and I were in the backyard snapping green beans when we heard a commotion in front of the house.
“Let’s go see what’s going on,” I told Julia. At that moment they rounded corner. It was my younger sister, Anna Faith along with a cousin. They had figured out a way to hitch their two ponies together as a team. I was impressed with their imagination. Even though it wasn’t professional, it worked well.
This week’s recipe will be one from my sister-in-law. It’s simple, yet delicious and definitely an excellent way to use up several extra tomatoes!
Editor’s Note: the recipe below calls for Bisquick. Gloria has a homemade version of this popular product, you can find the recipe here.
2 cups Bisquick mix
⅔ cup milk
Mix well and press in an 8 X 11” pan.
3 large or 4 medium-sized tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon oregano
Salt and pepper to taste.
Put a layer of tomato slices on top of crust and sprinkle brown sugar over. Then season with parsley flakes, oregano, salt and pepper.
1 cup Miracle Whip-type salad dressing
3 /4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Stir and spread over tomato and spices.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
(Variation: bacon or browned sausage or onions may be sprinkled on top of salad dressing mixture if desired)