I'm always going to have a strong emotional pull to Berne, Indiana because that's where the late Elizabeth Coblentz was from. If you're new to this site and the Amish Cook column, Elizabeth - now deceased - is Lovina's mother. Lovina writes The Amish Cook column now. The Berne area is where I spent so much time building the column, watching the Eicher family expand and grow, taking the Coblentzes and Eichers to the grocery...I could go on and on....I was 18-years-old when I first met Elizabeth and I would visit there on and off for the better part of the next 15 years. There are just so many memories and "firsts" for me in the Adams County, Indiana Amish settlement..Ironically, as many deeply personal memories and attachments that I have to the Berne, Amish community I can't say that it's one of my favorites. It probably wouldn't even make my "Top 10" list. Each Amish or plain settlement gives off a certain "vibe" and I just never got the best in Berne. To me, there always seemed to be an aloofness to the Amish (certainly not all) in that settlement that made it difficult to build bonds. Anyway, enough about Berne for the moment. I just was thinking about the settlement because I found some snapshots I took probably back in the mid-90s (remember actual film and snapshots?). The first photo below is of the "church bench wagon" parked outside of Elizabeth's home. The church bench wagon moves from place to place wherever services will be held next. This church bench wagon is black, but I have seen them colored white in some Amish settlements and gray in others. The wagon contains the church benches, the songbooks, and maybe a lost and found box for those bonnets or gloves inadvertently left behind. Ha, here's a funny story: cell phones are allowed in some Amish churches, not allowed in others, and in many places they are tolerated or sort of allowed for business, but not home-use. I know of an Amish family that once held church in their home and after services and everyone had gone home they found a cell phone underneath one of the benches. Since the battery was dead, the founders couldn't determine who it belonged to. Of course no one ever came to claim it because they really weren't supposed to have cells in this particular district. .
The next photo is a closer-up shot of inside the bench wagon at a church songbook (known as the Ausbund). The songbooks are stored in heavy wooden boxes. At the time I took these photos, back in the mid-90s, they stirred a little controversy within the church, which viewed them as a bit intrusive (I had been given permission to photograph them). I think today they'd barely cause a blink. How times have changed.
I watched the video of your grandmother and uncle. They are so sweet. I got the portions for the penut butter but was it the raw ground penut butter or the homogenized that we get and then mix the marshmellow fluff and corn syrup. Can we have the receipe for the snack with the rhubarb on it?
Thanks so much, love your blog.
Nancy, welcome..thanks for stopping by from the Great North...where in Canada are you?:) And the recipe for Amish church peanut butter spread is: 1 /3 parts corn syrup, 1 /3 parts regular peanut butter...just like a jar of regular pb from the store..Jif, Skippy, Etc and 1 /3 part marshmallow fluff...You can really adjust the proportions of each to fit your taste..some like it thicker...I like mine a little runner so I go heavier on the corn syrup...easiest recipe in the world:) And I'll try to dig up a rhubarb jam recipe for you! Thanks again for coming here!
Sugar Maple Gal
I also was an Elizabeth fan. I read her interesting column every Wednesday in our local paper. I cut out quite a few of her recipes (which I still have in my collection) I shared your heatbreak when she passed. I'm glad her daughter carries on the tradition. The Amish are indeed a very special breed.
Welcome Sugar Maple, which Wednesday paper did you read the column in?
Sugar Maple Gal
It was the Somerset Daily American published in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Since I am now retired, I read the paper at work, I don't have access to it anymore.
I too read the Amish Cook column in the Somerset Daily American. I always look forward to Wednesdays, as that is when it is in the paper. Your grandma and uncle are cute. They certainly don't look their age! I also was a fan of Elizabeth and love hearing all about Lovina and her family. I have a couple of the hard back books and I enjoy them. There are Amish living all around here, near Shanksville and Brotherton. They usually go down past our house on 160 in their buggies Sunday afternoon.
I recently found your site here and went to the videos you have on the Amish. I think it was a done in 2009 on BBC . I liked it and it answered a lot of my questions about there believes I am grateful for all the information that you have provided . thanks