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This collection of authentic plain, simple Amish recipes is compiled by genuine Amish cook and writer, Tina Eicher and her Amish novelist husband, Jerry S Eicher. The joint authors of the Amish novel ‘My Dearest Naomi’ give you an opportunity to taste real Amish cooking with dishes created from simple wholesome ingredients, flavoured with Amish wisdom, proverbs and humour. Many of the recipes relate to characters and incidents in the Amish novels of ‘The Adams County Trilogy’, the ‘Hannah's Heart’ books, and the ‘Little Valley Series’, including the Amish peanut butter from ‘Rebecca’s Choice’:
“Rebecca told herself John’s decision was understandable, but the pain wouldn’t go away. Her heart ached as she joined in with lunch preparation. She carried peanut butter bowls, refilled the pickle jar, smiled when spoken to and finally got to eat.” Recipes include: baked blueberry and peach oatmeal, caramel chocolate cake, lemon grilled chicken, raspberry custard pie and seasonal specials such as special thanksgiving turkey – equally good at Christmas.
Jerry and Tina Eicher’s ‘Amish Family Cookbook’ opens with a telling piece of Amish humour: “So what would you do is someone gave you two cows?” the skeptic asked of the three men. “I’d give both of mine to charity and expect my reward in heaven,” the Quaker said. “I’d give my two cows to the colony and they’d keep my family in milk.” The Hutterite said. “I think I’d keep one of my cows and trade the other for a bull.” said the Amish man.
Along with the recipes, the book gives you snippets of Amish wisdom such as this warning against the persuasion techniques of the overfriendly salesman: “When a person slaps you on the back, he may be trying to help you swallow something.” And this little bit of financial advice, “If you want to make your money last, you have to make it first.”
The Amish Family Cookbook by Jerry S. Eicher; Tina Eicher was published by Harvest House in October 2012 and is our 22011th best seller. The ISBN for The Amish Family Cookbook is 9780736943772.
A word from Tina Eicher
Appetizers and Beverages
Cookies and Bars
Salads and Gelatin Salads
Soups and Sandwiches
Vegetables and Side Dishes
This book is too new to have attracted many endorsements or reviews, but feel free to add your own. Simply click on the ‘Review The Amish Family Cookbook’ link on this page.
The cover is just what you’d hope for, a fine arrangement of good wholesome fresh produce including berries and eggs and reliable rustic kitchenware. There’s a lot going on in this image and does just what the creators want it to do: it connects you to the values, pleasures and simplicity of the Amish way of life. The first impression given by the cover of ‘The Amish Family Cookbook’ is simply simplicity. It implies a life uncluttered by the distractions and diminishments on modern life. There’s nothing you’d regard as ‘processed and packaged’ in the image. The berries are clearly fresh and natural – though somehow Amish horticultural practice enables summer strawberries and autumn blackberries to ripen at the same time. The pottery is hand thrown and hand glazed, and the table apparently made of hand sawn, scrubbed and painted pine.
The eggs are as spotless and blemish free as a centrefold model’s airbrushed skin tone. The hard butter looks uncoloured and is presented on a plain white saucer beside artisan glassware with old-fashioned screw top lids. If only there was one of those old clamp sealed preserve jars for the jam as well. And waiting in the background, the faintest intrusion of a spindle backed chair – no doubt crafted by hand, ready for you to take your seat and enjoy the plain and simple meal about to be prepared especially for you. The title of the book and the names of the author are announced in a clean, simple, easy to read serif typeface over the iconic silhouette of the Amish horse drawn buggy, photographed above making its way into a plains sunset. Of course you want to stay for tea, how could you refuse?
The cover of Jerry and Tina Eicher’s book is a perfectly phrased promise of what you want most from this book. It’s the promise of an experience – a life even, of everything that image represents. It’s what you want… but in reality, what you’ll settle for is a book of simple evocative pictures and words. It’s unlikely that most of the people who buy this book will buy it for the recipes. Indeed, most buyers of this book won’t be buying it for themselves; they’ll be buying it as a gift for someone they love. This book is your way in to have or give a share in the plain life of the Amish communities; something we all openly or secretly envy and desire. And that’s not a bad thing. In fact it’s quite reassuring that, despite the complicated, stressed out, fast paced life of the twenty first century, we all appreciate the simple pleasures of community, sharing, connection to the earth and the uniting bond of a common faith. If a cookbook is the only way we can make that hope real, then let’s have more cookbooks like this.
But let’s not make a cookbook simply a substitute for the life we might aspire to. Rather let’s make it an incentive to move toward that kind of living. That might sound quite fanciful, and I suppose it is. Living as the Amish isn’t simply defined by the way the way they cook and the things they eat. Rather it’s the exact reverse. It’s the way that they live causes then to cook and eat the things they do. And the way they live is entirely dictated by what they believe. So really, to live, eat and cook Amish means believing Amish. And that’s not a criticism. It just points up that the way you currently cook, eat and live is the inevitable outcome of what you believe. Which begs the question… what do you believe? – Les Ellison
Tina Eicher grew up as an Amish girl witnessing first hand the kitchen skills and practice of her mother and sisters. Her mother did a lot of canning and baking, the former fast becoming a lost art in western domestic cuisine. At one point her mother supplemented the household income selling baked goods direct from their house on Fridays and Saturdays. Tina recalls that homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, pies, and angel food cakes were among her mother’s bestsellers. She would also make noodles, both for sale and for our own use, drying out the freshly made noodles in the spare bed.
At age 11, Tina and the family moved to another Amish community that had many good cooks among its number. She still has the books the community put together for themselves and used as a source of recipes. Surprisingly, given her love of cooking today, the young Tina cooked only infrequently, weaselling her way out of it whenever she could. Gradually, she got into the cooking mindset and found it rewarding – especially when people said that they liked her food.
At first Tina stayed close to the written recipes, instructions and amounts. Eventually she realised that she could make small changes and improvements to what the recipes said, though she’s still prone to think that she can’t make a recipe if she hasn’t got all the ingredients to hand. Having to improvise, she says, is not one of her strong points and she’s not as good at this as some of the cooks she’s watched over the years. Although a number of the Amish Family Cookbook recipes in the baking sections have chocolate in them, Tina confesses that she doesn’t like chocolate - or even chocolate chips, but her family loves them. At least it means that when she is cooking with chocolate, she’s less likely to eat so much so much of the product!
Now more inclined to try out new ingredients and processes, Tina names her daughters, Jolene and Stacie, as her inspiration to discover the new bars and cookies they tried out (many of them with chocolate) when they went through their stage of baking with mum enthusiasm. Their experiments, she says, came in very handy when it came to typing up the recipes. Of course, Tina is still surrounded by good cooks; both of her sisters live close by the family home in Virginia, and then there are all the ladies from church. Tina also acknowledges the many good recipes acquired from husband Jerry’s mother, sisters, and sisters-in-law. With such a mix of recipes from many recipes – yet still centred on the Amish community theme, there should be plenty of new recipes to try, all with the simple, wholesome taste of the Amish way of life.
Tina Eicher was born, grew up and married in the Amish faith and community. Surrounded by her mother and sisters, they were great Amish cooks, highly praised for the dishes they served up at fellowship meals and family gatherings. Tina and her husband, Jerry are the joint writers of bestselling Amish fiction, ‘My Dearest Naomi’ and the parents of four children. They live in Virginia. Jerry Eicher had a traditional Amish childhood but for the eight years he spent with his father in Honduras founding an Amish outreach community. He became a teacher in Amish and Mennonite schools in Ohio and Illinois, but taught for only two terms. For 14 years he’s also been involved in church renewal, preaching, and teaching Bible studies. A bestselling Amish fiction writer, with more than 210,000 copies sold, his titles include ‘The Adams County Trilogy’, the ‘Hannah's Heart’ books, and the ‘Little Valley Series’.
‘An Amish Family Cookbook’ gives you an authentic taste of the simple wholesome Amish country life. Written by Amish couple Jerry and Tina Eicher, the book gives you almost 300 tried and tested recipes, all served up with snippets of Amish wisdom, proverbs and plain people’s humour.
|Author / Artist||Jerry S. Eicher; Tina Eicher|
|Book Format||Spiral bound|
|Publisher||Harvest House (October 2012)|
|Number of Pages||272|
|Page last updated||3rd December 2014|