Due to slow mail delivery, Lovina's column did not arrive in time for publication this week. But since this is a season of reflection and renewal I thought this would be a good time to go back into the archives and re-run two Amish Cook holiday columns from years past. The first column is from 1991, the second 1993.
Wow, how life has changed since then!
Personally, this period represented one of the happiest periods of my life. When you're in your early 20s is there really much not to be happy about? And Old Order Amish culture was in the twilight of its agrarian isolation. Amish culture, as much as it attempts to slow down the march of technology and and preserve family and faith, has also changed a lot. So let's savor the season and enjoy these two journeys back to a simpler time.
For those new to the column, it was written by Elizabeth Coblentz from 1991 – 2002. One of her daughters, Lovina Eicher, has written it since, Their writing styles are similar. Elizabeth pioneered a very accessible, straight forward voice.
— Kevin Williams
By Elizabeth Coblentz
Well, I'm searching my brain, trying to think what would logically be the next thing I could write about.
The holidays are in store for us, especially now that December appears on the calendar. Snow permitting, sleigh rides are enjoyed this time of year. Families are busy making plans for their holiday gatherings. All kinds of baking and candy making takes place and lots of these goodies are passed out to family, friends, and neighbors and, also, to the ones in need.
The rustle of packages and the appearance of presents increases the excitement of children and even adults at gatherings.
The children enjoy meeting Santa with his treats, while shopping with the businesses with their music, traditional lights, and trimmings.
It's a special time of year to always look forward to the holidays.
Although we never know what God has in store for us, December always brings back sad memories when our family left on a trip for the weekend and by Sunday evening word came that my Grandpa had died. It was a sad Christmas for Grandma and the rest of the family of 14 married children and families.
Also, I remember holiday gatherings which always seemed so enjoyable at Grandpa's. It just never seemed the same at the gatherings after he was gone. But since my Dad is gone our family gathering has also ended at this time of year. We now have our family to look forward to at holiday time. Here is a holiday recipe:
1 cup peanut butter
2 cups marshmallow creme
1 stick butter or margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup unsalted, dry roasted peanuts
4 cups Cheerios
Melt together peanut butter, marshmallow creme, butter and brown sugar, either on the stovetop or in the microwave. When melted, blend well then add Cheerios and peanuts. Pat into a buttered 9 x 13? pan. Cool and cut into squares.
We had a white 1993 Christmas. Looks a beautiful winter scene. The days are shorter at this time of year. The days start early just like usual and during the winter months the days start in the dark. The livestock are fed and the cows milked and then breakfast ate, before everyone leaves for their place of work. The girls were glad to have a three day break from the sewing factory.
Lots of family gatherings at this time of year. Our Christmas family gathering was held Sunday, the day after Christmas with a perfect attendance. Everyone (32 in all) were seated to a long table for breakfast, around 7 a.m. Frying eggs for 32 was enjoyable! The meal consisted of fried eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, toast, cottage cheese, various kinds of cereals, orange and grape juice, coffee, plus all of those holiday baked items served at this time of year.
After breakfast, the dishes were washed and the house put back in order. Then gifts were exchanged and how exciting to see the 15 grandchildren unwrapping their gifts. Verena had several guessing contest game: one for the adults and one for the children which useful gifts were presented.
A stuffed turkey was put into our new cookstove oven at 4:30 a.m. for the noon meal. So it was done by early morning. Dinner was served at 11:30 a.m. The New Year's Song was sung several times throughout the day.
In the afternoon, a cheese ball and a variety of crackers, vegetables, and chips and all kind of Christmas goodies were set out to feast on which took care of the evening meal. A nice, enjoyable day which is history for 1993.
We spent Christmas Day at home resting, as to have our family gathering the next day. Joe's and Lovina's attended his family gathering on Christmas Day and Emma also attended a gathering. In the evening, Susan attending the young folks Christmas gift exchange holiday gathering, where supper was also served and later they had their exchange.
Susan was pleased for the gift she received from the one who had her name in the exchange. Happy holidays to all out there.