Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Amish Tomatoes-

   Picked up two large juicy tomatoes while visiting the Amish area last week, at: Country View Grocery store, formerly, J.R.'s Groceries, in Fort Plain, NY on our way to Stone Arabia. It's run by Amish. There are no baked goods or Amish gifts, etc. Just some produce, aisles of lower priced canned and jarred items,a table of dented canned items and other such bargains, as well as a cold cuts section.
    Sorry, folks. No photos allowed there, so all I have to show are the tomato sandwiches I made for my hubby to take to work today, ready to go into their sandwich bags. 
    Note how red they are.  Umm good! Esp. with some fresh basil and balsamic dressing.
     So, if you're ever traveling through an Amish area, try some of their home grown tomatoes.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This Week's Visit to Amish Country-

     As promised, here are some further discoveries from my recent visit back to Stone Arabia, in Montgomery County, NY. this week. Bear in mind that this community is a conservative sect of the Old Order Amish.
     A good friend came along, and was able to keep watch for other cars (and buggies) as I took some photos, always mindful not to take any of the Amish while in close proximity. Nor of myself, posing in front of their private properties, tempting as it was.

    Some interesting facts about the Amish we interacted with...
    1- They speak with a slight Germanic accent.
    2- They are quite cordial to 'outsiders.' 
3- As mentioned in a previous post, the Amish of this particular area sell goods and wares from their own homes. We could not find one Amish gift shop or bakery. We came upon a wooden sign in the road that read: BAKED GOODS EVERY WED. AND THURS. We followed the direction of the sign and found a young woman selling her goods at a stand set up near the road in front of her home. Below are the rich cookies I purchased. LOTS of butter.
     I tried to keep a conversation going about her pies and cookies, so as to hear her accent. I learned that whoppie pies, which she had on the table, are filled with a cream made of butter and sugar. Not whipped cream as I'd assumed.
     When leaving I said, thank you, and asked how the Amish there say it. She said: denki, and pronounced it with an 'e' and not an 'a' as in danke.

   4- Barns are huge - no wonder they can hold church services in them during warmer weather. Most are not painted the usual red we are accustomed to, but in their natural wood color.
       As we drove along the pastoral farm roads we came upon a young bearded Amish man in a two seat open buggy, he gave us a big friendly smile and waved to us. I wanted to be respectful of their rule about picture-taking, so took the pic while he was further down the road. 

Finally we came upon a group of Amish men unloading hay.  They had their summer straw hats on.
And last but not least, one comes upon a few signs like this...not found in any other place but an Amish area...
My next visit there will be some time in the autumn...stay tuned. "Denki."


Friday, August 2, 2013

"Love thy neighbor..."

    One day a road worker for our county who lived about an hour and a half from us in Stone Arabia, was paving our road. He stopped his work to help my husband and friends erect a huge antenna. Living among the Amish, he did what any Amish man would do...help a neighbor. Told us how he loved having Amish as neighbors because they are so helpful to everyone, and described a barn raising he'd seen. Said he'd never seen so many men come together to build a structure...like many ants on a roof.  How wonderful to have the whole community rush to the aid of one who had an unfortunate happening, such as a barn fire. A true testimony of "loving thy neighbor as thyself."    

 While a barn raising is indeed hard work, beginning very early in the morning, it is also a time for fellowship and fun. The women bring lots of delicious food, and all gather at noon for a joyful meal, catching up on the latest news. Most times the meal is eaten outdoors, weather permitting. The Amish call this, a frolic.

     Well,  August is here, so we're ready for our new monthly Amish recipe. One that I enjoy is: Fried Corn Mush, except I bake mine and, sometimes I eat it cold right out of the fridge with maple syrup or fruit preserves.
Here's the recipe:                                        
One cup water
1 tsp. salt
1 cup stone ground yellow cornmeal
2 cups boiling water.
Place the water and 1 tsp. salt in a saucepan. Whisk in the cornmeal. Add the boiling water, stir constantly over medium low heat until thickened. Approximately 15 minutes or so.
Pour into a glass loaf pan and refrigerate overnight. Unmold in the morning, slice as you would pound cake and fry in about 2 T. vegetable oil until browned on each side. Drain on paper towels, then place on a serving plate.  Enjoy topped with some thick dark molasses.

Note: If you are avoiding fried foods, lightly grease a baking pan or, use a non-stick un-greased baking pan, and bake the sliced corn mush in a 400 degree oven until lightly golden. OR, you can heat for a few seconds in the microwave – still tastes very good drizzled with the molasses, honey, or maple syrup. Nutritious too!

PA Dutch Words of the month
Ferhoodled: Confused. Mixed up. Aint so?: Right?  Isn't that so?  
Expression of the month:  Eat yourself full: Eat heartily.  Eat up.

The following is a link to an article I wrote about the popularity of Amish romance novels;

Amish Read of the Month:  
The Tomato Patch, by Sarah Price (After all, August is a time of abundant tomatoes.) 

Check back from time to time to see details of my upcoming visit to Stone Arabia where I'll be among the Amish again.