THE AMISH COOK
BY LOVINA EICHER
The second month of 2012 is almost over already. A few days ago it was blowing snow and we received quite a few inches. Now this morning the sun is shining bright and the mercury on our thermometer is almost 40 degrees. I will probably take advantage of the weather and wash some coats while we do laundry. I like to hang the laundry outside to dry when it is nice like this. Another job that needs to be done again is washing the windows. With the sun shining on the windows I can really see the dirt. The rain and blowing snow tend to leave their mark on the windows. We will see how far we get, though, as Elizabeth has to go to her job today. She enjoys the little children she cares for during the week.
Yesterday we attended church services in our district. There were a lot of women and children missing due to sickness. The benches were still filled, though, with visitors from other church districts and communities. Some of my Dad’s cousins were there so it was nice to get to visit with them.
Daughter Susan would like to thank you for the encouraging comments on her column last week. A friend printed the comments from the website so she could read them. She is still taking Minnie on her daily rides.
Last week daughter Elizabeth and I accomplished a lot of sewing. I sewed sons Benjamin and Joseph each a new navy jacket and pants to wear to church. They were pretty excited yesterday morning to wear their new outfits. I sewed the outfits on my old black-colored head Singer sewing machine. My mother had one just like it and it did not often need repair. My other sewing machine is almost 10 years old. It usually works pretty well but it has been giving me some problems this last while. I oiled it and cleaned it but so far cannot figure out what the problem is. I probably will end up giving our friend Terry a call to take a look at it. Elizabeth sews on her own sewing machine which was a Christmas gift from her friend Timothy. I would like to trade mine in sometime for one like she has. Hers is a free armed and those are very nice to do hemming and mending. We also were sewing pillows. Elizabeth cuts out the pieces and sews the pieces together. Then I sew the ruffles on the edges and the front and back together. Elizabeth also sews the inside pillow and stuffs it with pillow stuffing.
It is also the last week to get dog licenses renewed. We are planning to take the dogs to the vet for shots and renew their license tomorrow. Buddy, our border collie, is getting pretty big to get into our buggy. Our two rat terriers Rover and Frisco are smaller and easier to handle
We are in the process of installing a solar-powered freezer. The freezer is set up now and the solar-panels are here. A few of our neighbors are coming over tonight to help put the panels up. We are hoping this will work well. I think in the long-run we will save money rather than buying propane for a freezer. We are hoping to butcher a beef once the freezer is running. (Editor’s note: solar power is becoming more popular among the Amish, it’s a way to power some appliances without being connected to “the grid.”)
You readers try this recipe for a creamy vegetable soup!
EDITOR'S DISCUSSION POINTS: This vegetable soup will be prepared on "The Almost Amish Kitchen" online show which will be posted this week, so stay tuned! Delicious soup! Also, solar power is becoming increasingly popular in Amish communities. It allows the Amish to sort of "cherry pick" which technologies to embrace and which ones to reject. Solar energy keeps them off the grid and self-sufficient. And how about those beautiful threads Lovina made for her boys? Very labor intensive, especially when the boys keep growing and she has to do it all over again next year! The shirts are store-bought.
Creamy Vegetable Soup
1 T. vegetable oil
2 medium yellow onions (chopped)
3 cloves garlic
5 c. homemade chicken broth
2 t. Worcestershire sauce
4 T. flour
1 medium head cauliflower (chopped)
1 medium bunch broccoli (chopped)
3 medium potatoes (diced)
2 c. heavy cream
2 c. grated extra sharp cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, heat the oil and add the onions and cook for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and vegetables and simmer gently for approximately 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir flour with a little soup broth and add mixture along with the cream to the broth, stirring through. Add cheese a little at a time, stirring until completely melted. Enjoy with thick sliced bread.
My windows really need a wash, but we have about two feet of snow yet on the ground, and the air temperature is below freezing. Burning wood dirties the windows faster, both inside and out.
My sewing machines need help, too, but no one seems to do that kind of repair work here now.
I think you could lighten the calories and fat in this recipe by making a white sauce instead of using the heavy cream, with skim milk and corn starch for thickener.
Linda from KY
I used fat free evaporated milk but kept the flour.
I have been wondering about solar power for the freezer and refrigerater for some time now. Is there a special kit to buy for this? If so where could one be bought?
I think I'm going to make 1/2 of the recipe and pack it for my lunch at work. My husband and grandson would not eat it, picky eaters so taking it to work for my lunch sounds really good.
The way Lovina describes things makes you feel like you're almost there with her.
I live in central Illinois and we have a small Amish settlement that some of the families relocated from Arthur Ill. We go down to an Amish dairy farm every other week and get raw milk. Once when we were getting milk I was telling them about one of your books that I had and Mr Kaufman the dairy farmer said he knew Lovina's mother.
Have you been over to the Cuba, IL area to see this group? They have a dairy farm, country bulk food store, general store, furniture store and a nursery that are open to the public. We ordered and got our living room end tables from the furniture store they run. The things are excellent quality and are very nice people. The only place we have not visited yet is the nursery and it should be opening real soon. We plan on getting 2 apple trees and our garden plants from them. I like to buy local and was so pleased when we discovered this group. I get all my bulk items and spices from the little bakery/store. The first Saturday of every month she has fresh yeast donuts. You have to get there before 10 or you will not get any. The grand kids take turns going down with us enjoy the donuts and enjoy getting to see the dairy farm. The Kaufman's are the nicest people and don't care that the kids look around at all the animals. If you get over this way drop in the Cuba/Lewistown area and you will enjoy your visit; small but oh so very nice.
Paula, thank you so much for your post. I'm not familiar with the Cuba community, but I'll definitely make a point to check it out next time I am out that way!
Great column, as usual!
I am wondering if you know that there is an Amish special on PBS tomorrow (Tuesday) night at 8 p.m. I have been hearing about if for about two weeks on NPR and am anxious to see it.
Patrice, thanks...and, yes, we'll be talking about it in real-time on the Amish Cook Facebook page tomorrow during the special, should be good viewing!
What do they do when the weather is bad? Do they use a battery backup?
I have an early 1900's model Singer sewing machine that needs some tension work done on it. Anyone kow of a good place to have that done in Michigan? I also would be interested in the solar powered freezer, we don't have a freezer yet, but are thinking of getting one.. The soup recipe sounds delicious. I will make that this week. Thank you for sharing Lovina
I so enjoyed Susan's column published February 27th - just wanted to say what a nice job she did filling in for Lovina. I look forward to this column every Monday in the South Bend Tribune.
Thank you, Jane, and welcome to Amish Cook online!
Linda from KY
That recipe is making my mouth water! If I make it tomorrow I'll let you know how much my family likes it, that is if you care to hear.
Let us know how it turns out!
Linda from KY
I just finished making it. I should probably have let the soup in my bowl cool a bit, but I couldn't wait. It is delicious!
Can't wait to try sounds yummy.