By Kevin Williams
These are two recipes that an elderly Amish woman in Indiana pointed me to as two of her favorites. Now, what makes this so interesting is that they are printed in an old family cookbook of theirs. But there are no more cookbooks available. Not a single one. You can't buy this book, so what I am photographing is all I was able to share. They didn't even have a lone copy that I could buy, just one they kept for themselves.
"You don't have one copy lying around anywhere, it's okay if it has gravy spilled on it or is a bit dog-eared" I practically pleaded.
The woman laughed and then shook her head.
What intrigued me about this cookbook is that it isn't your typical "church cookbook" where so-and-so contributes a recipe, etc. All of those types of cookbooks seem to turn out the same. No, this cookbook is full of HUNDREDS of their own family recipes. They got the book printed at a small Amish-owned print shop in Pennsylvania. You can see their recipe-formatting is extremely sparse, those simple ,rather vague instructions would never pass muster at a major publishing house!
As someone who studies Amish culinary culture, that cookbook is a treasure chest of relevant recipes. They were really just making the cookbook for family and friends and they sold some at festivals in southeast Indiana. Note how they really do protect their privacy, their names are not on the book, it just says the "Three Sisters". The three sisters who penned the book originally (one passed away in 2011) have a form of muscular dystrophy common among the Amish in Indiana so the book was a way for them to earn a little extra income.
If any of you ever see this book for sale at a garage sale in SE Indiana or somewhere, grab it!
Yes, one of the recipes below has Cream of Mushroom soup, but keep in mind those soups now are pretty old and they have their roots in some very tough years during the Great Depression. The first Cream of Mushroom soup came out by Campbell's in 1934 and Amish cooks - who were not immune to the Depression - found the soup to be very versatile. Anyway, material like this interests me. Enjoy the two recipes below, one for "Easy Macaroni Dish" and one for "Skillet Casserole."