Book Review: Amish Cooks Across America by Lovina Eicher & Kevin Williams

 

 

 

Amish Cooks Across America:

Recipes and Traditions from Maine to Montana

Lovina Eicher, Kevin Williams

Andrews McMeel Publishing

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 28, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449421091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449421090

Description

The popular columnist and cookbook author The Amish Cook  explores the traditions of Amish settlements across America, with more  than 100 new recipes from Amish and Mennonite communities, as well as  profiles of the communities themselves.

In Amish Cooks Across America: Recipes and Traditions from Maine to Montana, the celebrated columnist and cookbook author known as The Amish Cook  explores why one Amish community in the Northeast makes Shoofly Pie  while another settlement in the South favors Muscadine Pie.

 

Divided into chapters highlighting Amish groups in the North, South, East,  West, and Midwest, with side trips to Canada and Central America, this  recipe book doubles as a travelogue, sampling the cultural and culinary  differences among Amish and Mennonite communities across the nation.

 

The Amish are the original locavores. In this collection of  fascinating recipes, you’ll find favorites from middle America, such as  Scalloped Corn, alongside coastal specialties such as Grilled Lime Fish  Fillets and Avocado Egg Scramble, as well as Western staples such as Elk Stew and Huckleberry Pancakes, and Southern classics such as Sweet  Potato Surprise Cake.

 

This more-than-a-cookbook is filled  with full-color photographs of food and the places visited, along with  profiles that explore the origins and cooking traditions of each  community. This is a book like no other–a delicious melting pot and a  fascinating armchair tour of Amish America.

 

 

Authors . . .  

 

Together with editor Kevin Williams, Elizabeth Coblentz founded The Amish Cook newspaper column and later coauthored the column’s namesake inaugural  cookbook. Today, Lovina Eicher, Elizabeth’s daughter, pens the column  that continues to share Amish culture, tradition, and recipes with a  nationally syndicated audience of more than 130 newspapers throughout  the United States.             

Reader review . . . 

Amish Cooks Across America: Recipes and Traditions from Maine to Montana explores the different types of recipes used by Amish settlements in the United States.  Although most people assume that all Amish eat the German-influenced recipes of the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish, this is not the fact.  As there are communities in almost every region of the country, the food varies based on the types of meat and vegetables available locally.  In every area, the Amish farm and are basically self-sustaining, so the climate plays a large part in the dishes found on their table.  But in each area, the foods are always delicious.

Each chapter features a different region and its cuisine.  Interestingly enough, even though they tend to be separate from the “English” community around them, their foods are representative of the commonly known foods of the area in which they live.  For instance, the Amish of the West enjoy…..wait for it….Southwestern/Tex-Mex!  Who knew, right?  Here is the recipe I tried from that section:

Wet Burritos

Serves 4 to 6

1 pound ground beef

1 tablespoon taco seasoning

1 (16 ounce) can pinto beans

2 tablespoons chopped onion

1 (10.75 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup

1/3 cup salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip, or 1/2 cup sour cream

6 flour tortillas

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Salsa, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Brown the ground beef in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Drain off the grease, then add the taco seasoning, beans, and onion.  In a medium bowl, mix the mushroom soup and salad dressing until the mixture is smooth.  Pour the soup mixture over the meat mixture, and combine thoroughly.

 

Place two tortillas on the bottom of a 2-quart casserole dish, followed by a layer of one-third of the meat mixture.  Continue layering until all the ingredients have been used, ending with the meat mixture on top.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top of everything.  Bake until the casserole is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.  Serve with cheese, if desired.

 

 This was fantastic!  I can’t wait to take this casserole to a potluck.  This is one of those dishes that people will beg for your recipe.  My husband liked it, and he doesn’t like Tex-Mex!  Very yummy.  

 

Another recipe that I tried was from the Eastern region of the United States.  The Amish of  northern New York state contributed a wonderful recipe for Yankee Bean Soup, and I have never been able to resist a good soup recipe.  This is a keeper:

 

Yankee Bean Soup

Makes 4 to 6 servings

 

1 1/4 cups dried navy beans, rinsed and cleaned

5 cups water

1 teaspoon molasses

1/2 cup diced salt pork

1/3 cup finely chopped celery leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt, plus extra for seasoning

3 strips fresh bacon, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup finely chopped onion

1/2 cup diced, cooked carrots

2 cups milk

 

Place the beans in 4- or 5-quart saucepan or Dutch oven, add the water, and bring to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat, and let it stand, covered, for 2 to 24 hours.  (The longer the beans soak, the softer the finished beans and the thicker the broth.)

 

Add the molasses, salt pork, celery leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt.  Cover the pot, and simmer for 2 hours, or until the beans are tender.  Shake the pan or stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

 

While the soup is simmering, cook the bacon pieces and onion in a small skillet until the bacon is lightly browned.  Mash the beans slightly.  Add the bacon, onion, carrots, and milk to the beans.  Season with additional salt.  Cover and simmer the soup for 10 minutes more.  The soup is then ready to serve or can be cooked longer to the desired consistency.

 

If you are accustomed to a low-sodium diet, it is simple enough to reduce the amount of salt.  That’s what I did, and it was still delicious.  This soup goes well with either a nice loaf of freshly baked bread or crackers.  

 

Another great feature of the cook is the description of each area and the Amish community there.  I especially enjoyed the section describing the Amish of Crofton, Kentucky near my home.  They are a familiar sight, especially at the local flea market each week where they sell breads, desserts, produce, and plants.

 

This is an awesome cookbook with plenty of delicious recipes and interesting information in each chapter.

 

5 stars

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive   review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this   in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”