By Kevin Williams
Time for our weekly whirl of any and every bit of Amish or Plain in the news.
TINY HOUSES: An Amish business is cranking out carefully crafted sheds and houses in Smyrna, Maine. I've been to this community and seen the business. The article in the Bangor Daily News is interesting enough, but read between the lines and it gets more interesting. Smyrna is not your typical Amish settlement. It's very progressive and quite open to outsiders. In fact, the article heavily quotes an Amishman named Jason Johnson (there are also pictures of Mr. Johnson). I can almost guarantee you he is a convert, as Johnson is about as common among the Amish as my last name, Williams (I've never run into an Amish Williams). Successful converts to the Amish are rare and I wish the reporter would have delved into that topic (she probably wasn't aware and he probably didn't bring it up). Another interesting facet of the Smyrna, Maine Amish is their acceptance of mustaches on men. I've only seen that in Smyrna and its sister settlement of Unity, Maine and also among the "Lobelville Amish." Anyway, click here for an interesting read and be sure to view the photos.
MENNONITE MAGAZINE: Wow, this hardly seems like the time to be starting a new magazine....print media is dying a slow death at the hands of the internet and most publications are struggling to stay afloat, but this one wants to connect with the more conservative consumers of media. Check out more here. The larger Mennonite church is unraveling due to theological differences among various groups, this magazine is positioning itself to capture more conservative readers.
BEYOND LANCASTER COUNTY: This sounds like a fascinating Amish history tour of areas outside of the typical Lancaster County sites...click here to check out.
BEEFBURGER BARBECUES: This link doesn't go to an Amish recipe per se, but these are popular in Amish kitchens...this recipe is essentially a large-batch sloppy joe, which is a huge hit and staple at many Amish gatherings....and I can see why, easy to whip up, a crowd-pleaser, etc. Click here for the recipe.
HUTTERITE PROFILE: This was a quirky article that was in the British newspaper, The Telegraph. I think the article is worth reading just for the photographs, some striking Hutterite images are included. The essay itself seems a little simplistic. I'm not certain you can just call up a Hutterite community and invite yourself for a meal, not would I say they are "stuck in the 1800s." The Hutterites are a complex culture that, yes, in some ways are frozen in time, but in other ways they are extraordinarily progressive. And not all Hutterite colonies are the same, some are super conservative, while others are more liberal and open. Still, the essay is worth a read. Click here.
AMISH PARADISE ON PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND: We've been following the establishment of a new Amish community on PEI since things began really moving last year. A year after their arrival, it seems the Amish have been welcomed and the settlement is poised to grow. One of these days I hope to make it there to see for myself. Click here to read more.