THE AMISH COOK
BY LOVINA EICHER
It’s a little past 7 a.m. and the bright glow in the eastern sky looks like a promise for a sunny day. The sun is always welcome at this time of the year. The ground is covered with snow again and the temperatures are colder. Finally feels like winter. Saturday morning our thermometer showed 6 degrees. The last few days the morning temperature has been around 20. The new stove is heating well and is saving us coal. It was high time for a new one.
I am making coffee. I don’t drink coffee every morning but it feels like I need some this morning. I was up with daughter Lovina, 7, during part of the night. She came to our bedroom and told us she has to throw up. Before I could get her to our bathroom she threw up on our floor. Sigh. I thought she felt warm, so I took her temperature and it showed 103. After some fever reducer she is sleeping well. She didn’t even wake up with the commotion of the other children getting ready for school. When my children get sick and I am tending to their needs my thoughts often go back to my mother. She was always there for us when we were sick and I would often think “doesn’t she ever get tired?” Now that I see it from a mother’s point of view it just seems natural to take care of them while they are sick. Sitting there in the middle of the night holding Lovina it makes me think of how fortunate and blessed we truly are. The quiet and peacefulness of the night somehow gives a person time to think back over the years. In May it will be 12 years since my dear father passed away but every February 17 my thoughts are with him as he would be celebrating another birthday if he were still here. If he had lived he would be 81 this month. Friday the 17th there will be no school and also the following Monday. The children are excited about having two four-day school weeks. That is their mid-winter break.
Wednesday will be their 100th day of school for this school year. Lovina and Kevin’s class do something special like bringing in 100 small items to count. I will probably let them take buttons. Also Kevin’s class has to bring 100 pieces of something edible like cereal, marshmallows, chocolate chips, cookies, pretzels or so forth. They mix it all together and call it “100 Hash” which they all enjoy eating.
Daughter Elizabeth stays with 3 young children 3 days a week while their mother works. She watches 1 year old twins and a 3-year-old boy. She enjoys the children and is used to watching over little ones from her experience being the oldest of 8. Tuesday Elizabeth and Susan will go clean a house nearby. I miss their help when they are home but they like to earn money too.
Last week I sewed Benjamin and Kevin each a new pant. I have another one cut out for Kevin which I hope to sew this week. Kevin has had a growth spurt and needs longer pants. I also have material to make me a few new dresses. It seems I sew for everyone else in the family and put my own sewing off. I sure could use a few new dresses. Another sewing project I hope to do is make the boys new Sunday pants and jackets. I don’t mind sewing the pants but the jackets are not my favorite things to sew.
Kevin brought home a fake snake from school and the boys having fun trying to scare me with it. This morning I went to put the eggs back in the refrigerator and I almost dropped them when I saw the snake between food containers. I imagine they would have laughed if they would have seen me drop them. It seems I should be used to that trick by now.
I’ll conclude the column by sharing this great recipe for “banana nut coffee cake.”
BANANA NUT COFFEECAKE
1 /2 cup oil
1 /2 cup milk
2 mashed bananas
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 1 /2 cups flour
1 cup chopped nuts
1 1 /2 teaspoons baking powder
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 /2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients and beat until smooth and creamy. Pour into a greased 9 X 13 cake pan. Add the topping.
Topping: 1 cup brown sugar, 1 /4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 /2 cup nuts, 2 tablespoons butter, 4 tablespoons flour
Combine sugar, cinnamon, flour, nuts and cut in butter. Sprinkle on top of cake. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
EDITOR'S THOUGHTS: How lucky the family is that has Elizabeth babysitting their children. She's responsible, great with children...It's got to be very difficult to find adequate, affordable child-care in today's world. It's not uncommon at all for Amish teens to get part-time jobs to earn a little "pocket money" and begin saving for the future. And little Kevin is ornery, I got a laugh out of the snake in the fridge trick!:) What did you think of the column this week?