FALL FEVER: Okay, leaf peepers, start your engines....actually, honestly, if you are looking to blend a leaf-viewing experience with Amish country, I'm not sure where to tell you go to. I'll tell you where National Geographic is telling you to go, but more about that in a minute. Adams County, Ohio's Amish country is GORGEOUS if you time it to the peak leaf color. The rugged and rolling hills are sometimes referred to as the "Little Smokies" and you'll be rewarded by a rolling carpet of colors, little-used back-roads, buggies clattering on a covered bridge, and home-based businesses selling pies and rolls. But it is also hard to argue with Holmes County. National Geographic Magazine has rated the Holmes County region one of the nation's best drives to soak in autumn color and it is gorgeous there. My only advice: If at all possible, plan your autumn visit for Monday - Thursday. Fridays and Saturdays during the peak weekends of fall colors can just feature mind-bending traffic and congestion, the very stuff most people go to Amish country to get away from. Anyway, click here to read the accolades from National Geographic.
FALL FEVER STOP - LANCASTER COUNTY: Okay, help!!!! First, there is a lot of good stuff in this article for anyone planning to visit Lancaster County, Pennsylvania's Amish country. And I've visited the area in autumn and, it too, is mind-bending beautiful. My advice for enjoying the autumn and Amish ambiance there is the same as in Holmes: avoid the weekend. I am going to link to this article but I am confused....the article is in an Oklahoma newspaper. That much I can deduce. But what is the "West Virginia" reference? There's passing mention in the article about West Virginia University, but I'm confused....anyone sort it out for me? Click here to read the article, if you can get past the confusing geography, the article is enlightening.
OLD GERMAN BAPTIST BRETHREN CHURCH: I always find old churches fascinating, both because of their history and of the beauty of life they celebrate within their walls. Churches are the places we go to to celebrate life's richest moments and share with others in its cruelest sorrows. So what becomes of a church that no longer has a congregation to serve? Local officials are trying to preserve an Old German Baptist Brethren meetinghouse in North Carolina by putting it on the National Register of Historic Places. The last families left in 1999. Interesting to me because I didn't know there was a Brethren presence in North Carolina. I'll have to ask Rosanna about that! Click here to read more.
PRIZE-WINNING SHOOFLY PIE: Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow. I want to meet this lady! And if we get enough Plus subscribers over the weeks ahead I may just do that and share with you all her culinary secrets. Allentown is the cradle of Pennsylvania Dutch culinary culture, so old-timers there carry with them the kitchen customs of generations before them. Doris Harper of Allentown won the Allentown Fair's annual shoofly pie contest (where else would there be such a contest?) with an entry judges called "as smooth as silk", with a flaky ice-water crust. Doris has been competing for over 20 years and this isn't her first ribbon, winning in past years with recipes like raspberry angel food cake. Read about her prize winning pie here. And, yes, this is a lady I hope to catch up with someday and share her Pennsylvania Dutch kitchen secrets with you. Meanwhile, you'll have to settle for this Amish shoofly pie recipe from an Amish woman in Indiana (not exactly shoofly central, but it'll do)
- 1 9-inch pie crust (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 cup molasses
- ⅔ cup boiling water
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3½cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- ¾ cup shortening, softened
- Dash of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, combine the molasses, boiling water, and baking soda.
- Pour the mixture into the unbaked pie shell.
- To make the topping: In a large bowl, mix the flour with the sugar, shortening, and salt.
- Spread this on top of the molasses mixture in the pie shell.
- Bake until the center of the pie is set, about 45 minutes.
- Cool on a wire rack or windowsill until the pie is firm, about 45 minutes.
- Store any leftovers in a sealed cake safe.
- The pie will keep for about 5 days.