THE AMISH COOK
BY LOVINA EICHER
PHOTO CAPTION: Three delicious-looking pies: pumpkin, rhubarb-custard, and cherry were made for Lovina's annual family gathering held this year on Memorial Day.
We just arrived home from Jacob and Emma's house awhile ago. We were over there so that my husband Joe could help Jacob unload hay in their barn. Meanwhile, daughters Elizabeth and Susan just arrived home from a wedding supper they attended. Tomorrow evening the youth are invited to another wedding supper. Weddings are still in full swing in this community.
Everyone else is in bed already. Everything seems out of order around here. We have to find room for all the clothes down here in the basement. We managed to clear everything out of all the bedrooms upstairs. It was a lot of hard work moving all the furniture down but we managed. I took out some of the clothes in Joe and my closet to make room for the boys shirts and Lovina's dresses. The four older girls made makeshift rods in the basement to hang their clothes on. All of these living arrangements are temporary as we make repairs from the fire a few weeks ago. The replacement windows came in but were the wrong size so they won't be here until next week. We still have the windows boarded up.
The boys have received shirts and pants but from families in our church district and I have material to make more once everything is settled. I don't think I could concentrate right now to sew. A girl in our church came to get the boys pants pattern so she could sew them some new pants, which was very nice of her. People have been so kind and caring including you readers.
I am making an attempt to replace all the batteries in our smoke alarms. I know that if it is God's will for us to lose our house than nothing or no one can save it. But I feel it is our duty to try to prevent a tragedy in the case of fire. I am so thankful when we think that we had thought of leaving to go to the funeral of my brother in law's mother on the morning our home caught fire, but we decided to stay home. That would have been two hours away. If no one would have been home at the time our house would have burnt all the way. I am sure the memories of the fire will stay with us forever. We will always be extra cautious but it still bothers me that we don't know how the fire started. We suspect a bad battery in one of the boys' toys but we will never know for certain.
Daughter Elizabeth found the fire and it still scares her and keeps her awake at night sometimes. She has been going through all our toys, flashlights, etc and checking the batteries.
It is now Friday afternoon and we are in the process of making two batches of rhubarb juice. I am thinking of freezing some of it and seeing how that works. A frozen bottle of rhubarb juice would be like an ice pack in someone's lunch.
Our children attend a small public school with only about 300 children in grades K through 12 (editor's note: it's not uncommon forAmish children to attend public schools in smaller, rural districts) The elementary students wanted to do something to help out with the fire we had. So they had a coin collection for a week that children could put change in the jars. Today they asked me to come to the school so they could present the donation to me from the collection. It was truly touching to see these students give up their coins to help someone else. Once again we are thankful to the staff ands tudents from our small community school.
On Monday, Memorial Day, we will attend a late family Christmas gathering at sister Leah's who lives 2 hours away. Should be an enjoyable day. With strawberry season in full swing, I thought I would share this recipe:
STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SALAD
2 cups pretzels crushed
3 /4 cup butter melted
4 tablespoons sugar
8 ounces of cream cheese
1 /4 cup sugar
8 ounces of whipped cream
1 large package of strawberry gelatin (6 ounces)
2 1 /2 cups strawberries crushed or sliced, fresh or frozen
Combine pretzels, butter, and sugar and press onto the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Bake at 350 for 8 minutes. Cool. Combine cream cheese, remaining sugar and whipped cream and pour over cooled crust. In a separate bowl, dissolve gelatin with 1 ¼ cup of boiling water and then add strawberries. Cool mixture until slightly thickened. Pour over cream mixture and then chill before serving.
I hope this note reaches you. You and your family have the most wonderful attitudes in this very difficult hardship. Sometimes God does allow things to happen so that we can learn how to behave in different situations for the good of others. This is how we Christians learn to give good solid advice to those who need it and to be an example as to how to react to negative things that happen to us. (God knew all about this since the beginning) He has spared a good part of your house and all of your lives! How grateful we are for that! Happines,, I have learned is just a fleeting thing, but joy is way down deep in the resources of our souls and does not depend on "happiness". I know that all of you have that Joy Unspeakable and Full of Glory!
I have learned from you, dear ones! I just want to add that you are ever so sweet to still write and send recipes to us when you really should take a break!
Lots of love and prayers,
So sorry Lovina and family of the fire and the damage it has left. We survived a fire 25 years ago and luckily the girls and I made it out safely in the middle of the night, but unfortunately my husband didn't and he suffered serious burns and smoke inhalation. After several weeks in the burn ward 2 hrs away he came home to lots of physical therapy and healing. We had to replace 99% of the items in our house including rebuilding our home. Someday you will look back and wonder how you got through it all, but you will also remember the wonderful deeds and gifts that friends and strangers have bestowed upon you. Small towns are the best for that! Take care and stay safe.
The Winter Family
Please let Lovina and the family know she is in my prayers! I am so glad they are all alright!
I was so sorry to hear of the girls illness but you are in our prayers. I am also glad to hear your house is coming along. Fire is such a scary thing. God Bless you and your family. I love reading the column each week. It is the first thing I look for in the paper.