By Kevin Williams
BUGGY SAFETY IN MAINE: Maine has become a magnet for the Amish, from the ultra-conservative Swartzentruber Amish who have taken to the rocky soil from Ohio to the much more progressive Amish near Smyrna. As someone who studies Amish culture, I've found the arrival of these very different groups interesting to watch. Their arrival, though, on the winding, often poorly lit roads, of rural Maine has caused safety concerns. Legislators are proposing several fixes that might help make buggies more visible, especially at night, while still safeguarding Amish religious freedoms. Click here to read more.
THE GUARDIAN COMES TO AMISH COUNTRY: There is nothing inherently wrong with this article, but it's obviously very "staged." The newspaper, you can tell, must have worked with the local tourism board to give this reporter an "Amish experience." And they delivered, but most people visiting Holmes County, Ohio can't just go into an Amish home for apple pie and pizza. So keep that in mind and the article, really, in my view, skimps on tangible tips for visitors to Ohio's Amish Country. There's just so much to do and see and this piece kind of misses on a lot of it. But if you want a decent read from a British perspective, click here.
MILLIE'S BEEF AND BISCUIT CASSEROLE: Millie Otto is an Amish woman who writes a weekly newspaper column for the Champaign, Illinois newspaper. These columns are much more fun for me to read now that I've actually met Millie in person. I had a chance to stop by her house and chat last October. The Arthur, Illinois Amish have definitely gone down a more progressive path and I think that comes out in Millie's column. Click here to check in with her this week and her recipe!
AUTHENTIC LANCASTER SHOOFLY PIE: The Lancaster paper decided to rerun their popular, authentic, local shoofly pie recipe. If you have some time and you like the taste of molasses and are interested in Amish culinary culture, you really ought to try making this. I love a good shoofly pie, but it is tough to get everything to come together just right. I think this recipe does it. Click here.
YOUR FULL MUD-SALE SCHEDULE: Wow, it is hard to believe it is that time of year again...if you are in eastern Pennsylvania, March and April mean one thing: Amish mud sales! Penn Live describes a mud sale: " What is a mud sale? They're annual consignment sales and auctions that take place almost every Saturday through mid-April in fire halls, huge tents and fields in and around central Pa. They're known as mud sales because, well, all that spring rain makes those fields and lots rather muddy. The food alone makes these mud sales worth attending, truly authentic Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch fare. Click here for the whole schedule.