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Readers: The Ask Elizabeth segment has been replaced by Ask Lovina. Thank you for your patience as we made the transition. This page will always be available as an archival tribute to Elizabeth's knowledge and experience.

Click here to visit the new page.

This is the place to ask Elizabeth a question, whether it be about cooking or culture. Of course, Elizabeth, being Amish, does not have a computer. So questions for Elizabeth are emailed to her editor, Kevin Williams. Once or twice a month, he will print out the questions and take them to Elizabeth where she will answer them. Answerswill be posted on a monthly or twice-monthly basis. CLICK HERE to ask your question!

Hello Elizabeth and friends: As an avid reader for many years, I am frequently clipping your recipes from the newspaper. I recently stumbled upon your recipe for Rhubarb Crunch Cake, and thought this is the perfect recipe for the spring. I wondered if you could reprint it or clarify the instructions. The recipe I have is as follows:

Rhubarb Crunch Cake
3 c rhubarb
1 3 oz box strawberry or cherry gelatin
3/4 c melted oleo
1 box yellow or white cake mix
1 package marshmallows

Put rhubarb into buttered 9x13 baking dish. Pour dry gelatin and marshmallows over rhubarb. Then pour cake mix over this mixture and bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees or until cake looks done.

My question is this: What do I do with the 3/4 cup melted oleo?

Andi - Fishers, IN

Mix oleo into the cake mixture after you pour it over the rhubarb mixture. Rhubarb crunch cake is a favorite around here, I hope you enjoy it!

Could you please send a recipe for your fried green tomatoes? I read about it in the paper and lost the article.

De - South Bend, Indiana

Fried Green Tomatoes is another spring favorite in this household. My mother used to make it almost every day during the summer months, and it's something that I fix a lot too in my household. My husband Ben was especially fond of them. All you do is slice them, about 1 /2 inch thick slices, and roll them in flour so they are coated. Season with salt and pepper and fry in a greased skillet on medium high until golden brown on each side. Enjoy!

Do you have a recipe for potato puffs and barbecue chicken. We visited a restaurant and they had both items and were very good. We enjoy reading your recipes every week ... also a woman wrote in asking about the noodle factory ... it was shown on the food network and is located in topeka, indiana...

Lisa - Richmond, Indiana

Do you mean like fried potato patties? We take leftover mashed potatoes and shape into patties and then fry them in a greased skillet until golden brown on each side. Makes for a good meal. As far as barbecuing chicken, that is a summer favorite here. My son-in-law, Joe, often does the barbecuing. We make a barbecue sauce by getting a quart pan and filling it 3 /4 of the way with apple cider vinegar and then add 1 /4 pound of oleo. Season with salt and pepper and heat until steaming warm. Then baste chicken with it and barbecue. Has a good taste.

Without phones, faxes, cells, etc. how do the Amish communicate with one another?

Sharon - South Bend, Indiana

Editor's response: Sharon, you ask a good question. The Amish don't have the luxuries that you and I have to communicate. Briefly, The Amish rely on the old-fashioned word-of-mouth driven grapevine to community. Word of a death, for instance, can spread like wildlife as gossip is traded after church and everyone scatters in different directions. One of the more reliable methods of communicating is through "The Budget", this is an Amish newspaper published in Sugarcreek, Ohio and mailed to most Amish families through the USA. There are "reporters" or "scribes" stationed in almost every community. They'll write in the latest news in their community (births, weddings, funny stories) and then they'll be published in "The Budget." This way an Amish person in Yoder, Kansas can find out what is going on in a faraway Amish community like Lancaster, Pennsylvania.The Amish also rely heavily on the dying art of old-fashioned letter writing and a U.S. postage stamp.

There was a recipe in the paper a few weeks ago for "One hour yeast rolls". This week's column had 3 yeast bread recipes in it and I have lost it. The rolls were very good and I would like to make them again. Could you please send me the recipe?

Mary - Lancaster, Kentucky

Editor's response: Mary, you weren't alone. Several people misplaced this quick, tasty roll recipe that Elizabeth put in one of her March columns. I am including it below:


2 cakes of yeast (or 2 packages of dry yeast)
1/4 cup of lukewarm water
1 1/4 cup of milk
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 teaspoon of salt
4 tablespoons of butter
3 cups of flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Milk, sugar, salt, and butter should be put into a pan over the oven and heated to lukewarm. Add yeast and flour and stir until blended. Put in a warm place for 15 minutes. Turn out on a floured board and press to 1 inch thickness. Cut out circles. Fold dough over bits of butter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 15 minutes and bake 10 minutes at a 350 degree oven.

Dear Elizabeth: Do you have a recipe for "Milk Pie." I sure would appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Deb - Bloomsburg, PA

Mother made this pie frequently. Money just wasn't very plentiful during the Great Depression years and for a long time after, so she made do with what she had. A milk pie or a bread pie was sometimes the most filling food she could prepare, but it was always tasty. Hope this recipe is what you were looking for:


1 unbaked pie shell
1 c. sugar (partly brown, more white than brown)
1/4 c. or little less flour
Dash of salt
1/2 c. cream

Mix sugar, flour and salt in pie shell with your finger. Add the cream. Finish filling crust with milk. Fill to about one-half inch from the top of the crust. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, then 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

My mother always made bread stuffing at Thanksgiving for both filling the turkey and as a side dish. Mother said it was my grandmother's Amish recipe. Now both my mother and grandmother have passed and their recipe for stuffing has gone with them. Would you please share your recipe? Also, if you have a recipe for homemade applesauce I would appreciate it. Thank you for being so kind in sharing yourself and your recipes with all of us.

Jan - Berwick, PA

Editor's response: Elizabeth wanted me to give you the recipes for both her bread stuffing (a very common dish among the Amish) and her applesauce. And, of course, being her editor, I have to get in a plug! I am including her applesauce recipe below, but she discusses homemade applesauce in much greater detail in her upcoming fall 2002 cookbook (see homepage of www.theamishcook.com).The applesauce recipe below turns out very tasty! Thanks for reading her column, here are the recipes:


1 whole loaf of bread
4 tablespoons of chopped celery
3 eggs, well-beaten
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons of butter
1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning
3 cups of chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Toast bread, cut in cubes. Combine celery, onion, and seasonings. Bring broth to boil and add to bread and celery. Add eggs last. Bake 1 hour at 350.


9 medium yellow transparent apples, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
1/3 cup sugar

Place apples in a two-quart saucepan. Cover and cook over a medium heat until apples are mushy, about 5 minutes. Mash the apples with potato masher then add the sugar. Let set for 3 minutes. Serve applesauce warm. Leftover applesauce can be chilled and served with other meals.

Dear Elizabeth: I went to Amana, Iowa in 2000. There was a bakery there that made Sauerkraut Bread.Would you have a recipe for it. I like to make Bread and I love yourcolumn. We get it in the Indianapolis Star. Thanks

Martha - Mooresville, Indiana

I hope this is the recipe you are looking for. My sister bakes sauerkraut bread often, it's a favorite in her family:


1 (1/4 oz.) pkg. dry yeast
3/4 C. warm (110 to 115F) water
1/2 C. potato flakes
3 T. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. caraway seed
2 T. vegetable oil
1 (14 oz.) can sauerkraut, drained, and chopped
3 1/2 to 4 C. flour

In large bowl, sprinkle yeast over water. Stir until dissolved. Blend in potato flakes, brown sugar, salt, caraway seed, oil and sauerkraut. Gradually add flour to make a stiff dough. Knead on floured surface for 4 minutes. Cover and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Punch down and shape into loaf. Place in oiled 9 x 5-inch baking pan. Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour, or until golden.

How is Sauerkraut made with vinegar? I saw this mentioned in the Wilmington News Journal. I am on a low-sodium diet and love Sauerkraut. Thanks

Pansie - Clarksville, Ohio

Editor's response: Elizabeth gave me her standard sauerkraut recipe to give to you, I am not sure if this fits into a low sodium regimen or not.It follows as:


Shred cabbage and put into jars. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar for every one quart of cabbage. Fill jars will cold water. Put lids on and turn tight. Put in a cellar for 2 months, then it is ready to eat.

Well, dear Elizabeth, I've tried and tried to make potato pancakes like my mother used to make without a recipe, but I just can't get them to taste or the texture the same. Perhaps it's just my childhood memory gone awry, but all of the recipes I look up and try out taste too much like hashbrowns. Her' had a heavy hotcake texture, using grated raw potatoes, flour and egg, but I can't get it right. We enjoyed these on cold rainy nights with butter and maple syrup. Can you help me?

Sharon - DuPont, Washington

[Editor's note: Sharon, I took your email to Elizabeth to see if she could help you out with the recipe. I am not sure if her answer is what you were seeking, but it seemed interesting nonetheless!]

We used to make pancake patties out of mashed potatoes. Mother would make them frequently. We would take mashed potatoes - say you had 1 quart of leftover mashed potatoes - and add 3 eggs to them and stir well, very well. Then we would shape them into patties and fry in a skillet of hot grease until golden brown on both sides. The more eggs you add the thicker they will be. Some people also add 1 tablespoon of flour, but I never do, the eggs hold them together. Delicious!

Dear Elizabeth: My wife is from Germany and she would like very much to know if you have a recipe for Broetchen. I am sure you know they are the crusty rolls there. Thanks

RC - Washington, DC

Hello. I have never made Broetchen before, but some in my church have. My family's background is Swiss, so that recipe was never really made as its background is German.But I did get the recipe from a woman in my church who still makes Broetchen from time to time. Here it is:


2 1/2 c - 3 cups flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 package Active dry yeast
1 teaspoon Oil
1 cup warm water
1egg white

Pour 2 1/2 cups flour into a large bowl and mix well. Pour yeast, sugar, and two tablespoons of water (the water comes from the 1 cup listed above ) in the well. Mix yeast, sugar and water carefully within the well. Do not mix with the flour at this time. Cover the bowl with a cloth and set it in a warm place for 15 minutes. Add the remaining water and oil and beat until mixed. Turn out on counter top and knead until smooth. Add the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed.

Put dough in a bowl, cover, and let it rise until double in size. Punch down and divide the dough into 12 parts. Shape into oval rolls and place 3"' apart on a greased and floured cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until double in size. Beat egg white and 1 teaspoon water with a fork until frothy and brush on the rolls. Bake in a preheated oven at 450F for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown. Yields 12 rolls

Dear Elizabeth: I like my oatmeal cookies to flatten out and to be chewy, not hard and crispy. Every recipe I get is either too hard or too puffy. I've tried shortening the baking time so that they will be chewier, but no luck. Can I add an ingredient or something? Help.

Mary Ann - Plymouth, Indiana

Oatmeal cookies go good around here. My husband Ben used to like them with his morning coffee, sometimes he would like me to freeze them and he would enjoy eating them cold.Like you, some of my children prefer a chewier oatmeal cookie. I will include a recipe here that we have made for years with good results, I hope this helps!


1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of lard
2 eggs
3 cups of oatmeal
2 cups of sifted flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Cream sugars thoroughly with lard until light and fluffy and no granules remain. Beat in the eggs until light. Stir in oatmeal. In a separate bowl, sift the measured flour with salt, soda, and baking powder. Work into the oatmeal mixture. Mix in vanilla. Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes.

I would like the recipe for Egg Custard Pie, a friend of mine loves that, but cannot find it anywhere. I would love to make it for her.

Amy - Lebanon, Indiana

I hope this is the recipe you are looking for, we enjoy it around here:


3 eggs
1 /2 cup white sugar
1 /4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 1 /2 cups scalded milk
1 level tablespoon flour

Mix eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Slowly stir in milk. Fills 1-9 inch pie shell. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 and bake for 5 more minutes. Overbaking makes custard watery, so watch pie carefully.

I'm looking for a recipe for pepper cabbage? Have you ever heard of it? If you have I would love to have it. Thank you so much for writing your column.

Betty - Queensbury, NY

Editor's answer: I am not sure if the recipe Elizabeth describes is the one you are looking for, but even if it's not, I thought her answer was interesting.

WARNING: The below is meant to describe as cultural insight how Elizabeth prepares a dish.. It is not an exact recipe and only people experienced in home-canning should try it. Contact your local county extension agent for tips on proper home-canning. Oasis Newsfeatures assumes no liability for improper canning.

Elizabeth's answer:Pepper cabbage? I am not sure if this is what you mean, but Mother used to fix a pepper cabbage all the time, and when Ben and I were first married, I would prepare it often. You take some sweet peppers (mother would often just use the little ones) and hollow them out. Then in a bowl, shred cabbage and add salt. Mix it up and stuff into the peppers. Mother would make a "brine" using 2 1 /2 cups sugar, 2 tablespoons salt, 1 cup vinegar, and a dash of celery seed. She would boil the brine for a few minutes and then pour over the cabbage stuffed inside the mangos. Then she would put them in jars for serving later.

I was wondering if it is possible for non amish to be pen pals with someone amish?? thank you in advance..


Editor's Answer: As you can imagine, many people write to Elizabeth wanting her to be pen pals with them. She just gets too much mail to try to do that. Sometimes an Amish person will correspond with a non-Amish one, although pen pals among Amish are far more common. An Amish newspaper called Die Botschaft (in German, this means "The News"), sometimes has classified ads from Amish people seeking pen pals. That's the best place to connect. For a copy, mail ($5 should be enough to get a copy) to: Die Botschaft, 200 Hazel St, Lancaster, PA 17608 or call them at 717-392-1321 for an exact price for one copy.

I believe you ran a recipe for a Peanut Butter Honey Sandwich Spread. My family would love it but I can not locate the recipe that you ran. Could you please put this in your column or answer through e-mail.

Tami - Shelbyville, Missouri

Editor's Answer: I believe you are referring to the Amish church "peanut butter-marshmallow crème spread?" I asked Elizabeth about this yesterday, and she prepares this simple but tasty treat by mixing equal parts peanut butter, marshmallow crème, and light corn syrup. You can vary the mixture: for instance, if you prefer more marshmallow crème, put more of that in. Mix this all very well and you get a delicious spread that Elizabeth serves after church. Some of the men even eat it on sandwiches.

I have a question is oleo considered margarine or butter? I am making Toffee. Thank you!!

Linda Francis, Shawnee, Kansas

It's margarine.

Recently I worked in Ohio and was given a jar of homemade "Relish" or "Salsa" but the provider did not know the recipe. It was the consistency of catsup with chunks of jalepena and bell pepper and sweet onion seemed to have a hint of brown sugar and some other spices I could not identify. It was bordering on hot and had a slight oily separation(small amount). It was very good with meat, eggs and black eyed peas. If this description sounds familiar I would appreciate the recipe being posted. I read the Amish Cook every chance I got and have used several of the recipes for my folks at home. Thank you for your time and the articles.

Andy - Pelican, Louisiana

That salsa doesn't sound familiar, but it sounds good. We enjoy salsa around here. I want to try to home-can a lot of it this fall. Here is the recipe my daughter Leah uses. It's not the one you were looking for, but you might enjoy it anyway.

[WARNING: Home-canning is dangerous if you don't know what you are doing. The below is meant to be just a cultural insight into how Elizabeth prepares her salsa. Only experienced home-canners should try it. For safe instructions about how to home can, contact your local county extension agent. Oasis Newsfeatures assumes no liability for problems encountered with the recipe below.]


14 pounds tomatoes (scalded, peeled, and cut-up)
5 cups onions (chopped)
10 green peppers (chopped)
2 ounces jalapeno peppers (chopped)
1 cup vinegar
1 /2 cup brown sugar
1/ 4 cup salt
2 teaspoons oregano
3 teaspoons cumin
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon garlic
10 tablespoons clear jel

Mix all above the above, except clear-jel. Cook for 45 minutes, thickening with clear-jel. Put into jars and cold pack 20 minutes.

I read your column in the South Bend Tribune every week and I enjoy it so much. I have a question that anyone can answer. My husband and I have noticed when we travel that the lamps that the Amish use are so much brighter than the ones we buy in the store. Since our electric fails quit often I would like to know if they are a lot different and if so where in Indiana can we purchase them? I`d sure appreciate it if you can help me...Thank you so much !!!!

Lorainne - South Bend, Indiana

Editor's answer: Believe it or not, the lanterns most Amish - including Elizabeth - use are nothing more than Coleman kerosene lamps that you can purchase at almost any outdoors store. They do use more decorative kerosene lamps with glass globes for light lighting, say on an end table. But for the really bright lights that you see while driving by an Amish house at night, those are just Coleman kerosene lamps. Are you are right, they are bright.The light in an Amish house at night, if it has a Coleman kerosene lamp, is brighter than our electric lamps by far.

Dear Elizabeth: My great grandmother was Dunkard in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Is this a form of Amish? She made a recipe of Schnitz and Knepf? Do you know what this is?

Bonnie - Danville, Illinois

Editor's Answer: Dunkers (sometimes called Dunkards or German Baptists) obtain the name of their faith from their practice of full-body immersion in water when baptized. The Dunkers are often confused with the Amish because their dress is similar. Men wear long bears and simple clothing, while women wear bonnets and hand-sewn dresses. Dunkers do embrace more modern technology, though, than the Amish. Dunkers will drive cars and own radios, for instance. They still resist some modern conveniences like television and computers in an effort to maintain a simpler lifestyle. A lot of good, accurate information about the Dunkers can be found at: Meanwhile, Elizabeth is quite familiar with the recipe of Schnitz and Knepf. Schnitz are dried apples and Knepf is a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch dumpling.

Elizabeth's answer:Mom & Dad used to have a "drying house" outside where they would dry apples for schnitz apples. I would fix this when Ben and I were first married. Hope this recipe is what you were looking for:


1 quart dried apples
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg (beaten)
1 /2 cup milk
3 lbs end of smoked ham
2 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
3 tablespoons melted butter

In a big pot, cover apples and ham with water and simmer over a low heat for 2 hours. Add brown sugar and simmer 1 hour longer. Prepare dumplings: Mix flour, baking powder and salt. Then in a separate bowl, stir egg, butter and milk. Add to flour mixture. Drop by tablespoon into simmering ham and apples. Cover tightly and cook 15 minutes without lifting lid. Serves 8 to 10.

Dear Elizabeth: Do you know of an applesauce cookie recipe that doesn't use shortening?

Esther - Smyrna, New York

My daughter Leah likes to bake these cookies. Her children love them. I hope this is what you were looking for:


2 cups of flour
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 egg
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of applesauce
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 cup of oatmeal
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 cup of raisins (optional)
1/2 cup of butter
1/2 cup of nuts (optional)
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of chocolate chips

Sift together flour, soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside. In another bowl, mix butter, sugar, and eggs. Add applesauce (we make our own) and dry ingredients. Mix in the sifted ingredients and mix real well, until batter is smooth. Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes

I saw a show today about a noodle-making business/restaurant that employs young Amish women. The owner's name starts with a K and she is not Amish. Her restaurant has a window to watch the noodle-making. Her noodles are also taken to a huge year round (I think) flea market ten miles from her restaurant and sold there. I thought she was in either Missouri or Kansas....but cannot find anything on the internet about her. Would love to plan a stop there this summer if our travels take us nearby. Let me know if any of this sounds familiar to anyone there...thank you!

Sally - Waseca, MN

Editor's answer: Elizabeth and I were both unfamiliar with the place you are describing, but if anyone out there knows the answer, please email me at and I'll post the answer here.

We ate at the Der Dutchman Restaurant in Sarasota, FL last evening and were wondering how the Amish can operate all their restaurants if they do not use electricity? Also, what is the purpose of the ribbon on the Amish ladies' bonnets?

Barbara - Inverness, Florida

Editor's Answer: Der Dutchman is a chain of "Amish" restaurants. I believe there are 3 locations, one in Mansfield, Ohio; one in Waynesville, Ohio, and one in Sarasota, Florida. All restaurants are sprawling restaurant/conference centers will huge bakeries and gift shops. While the owners of these restaurants are of Amish background, they are not Old Order Amish. You are correct, an Old Order Amish person would not be able to operate such an establishment without violating the faith. I have had the occasion to dine at Der Dutchman, I even took Elizabeth to the one in Mansfield, Ohio. The restaurants serve good, hearty Amish-style food, but they fall short of being authentic. As far as the ribbons on the bonnets go, Elizabeth wasn't sure what you were referring to. The only ribbon on her bonnet is the one she uses to tie her bonnet strings under her chin. Amish dress varies slightly from community to community, so you may have seen something that doesn't exist in Elizabeth's area.

Hello. I had written a while back asking about a recipe for zuchini muffins. I have looked through the questions and answers and I still have not seen it. Please post this recipe for me. I love these muffins and I can't wait to make a batch of them. Thank-You.

Miranda - Logan, Ohio

These moist muffins are a favorite around here during zucchini season. Hope you enjoy them!


1/2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
4 egg whites
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1-1/2 c. shredded zucchini
1/2 c. raisins (optional)

Sift together flours, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.
In a large bowl whisk together egg whites, sugar, oil, and vanilla.
Mix in dry ingredients until combined. Stir in zucchini and
raisins (if desired), spoon mix into prepared muffin cups.
Bake at 375F for 20 min. or until toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 1 dozen.

I was linked to some page from your website where it talked about homemade V-8 juice. Do you have a recipe for this? I hope it's not the one I have seen on the Internet where you simply cook 15 pounds of tomatoes. I'd like to find a recipe that's strictly uncooked and that uses all the vegetables from the original V-8 and then, it is put through a high-quality juicing machine. Any thoughts on this???? Thanks in advance.

Janet - Silver Spring, Maryland

Editor's answer: I tried to get Elizabeth to write this recipe down in a more formal fashion. The problem is, in the Coblentz family V-8 juice recipes are like snowflakes - each one is different. The recipes varies according to what veggie harvest is going best in a particular year and if they want a spicier or milder batch. They also make their batches in huge quantities, which makes it tough to put into recipe form. I did have Elizabeth provide sort of a "standard" procedure for a tasty batch of V-8. Hope this helps somewhat.

[WARNING: The below is meant to describe as cultural insight how Elizabeth prepares V-8 juice. It is not an exact recipe and only people experienced in home-canning should try it Contact your local county extension agent for tips on proper home-canning. Oasis Newsfeatures assumes no liability for improper canning.]

Elizabeth's answer: We cook our tomatoes in a big kettle. Take about 15 pounds of tomatoes and cook them down in a big stainless steel kettle. Before cooking, cut the tomatoes in half and wash them. Then we add banana peppers, carrots, a lot of onions, 6 to 8 sweet peppers. Mix it all together and cook for 30 minutes. Put through a juicer (Editor's note: Elizabeth has a hand-cranked juicer that separates the juice into a separate big bowl). Then put juice into sterilized quart jars, adding 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/ 2 teaspoon of pepper to every quart. Cook in open bath canner for 30 minutes (cook for 30 minutes after boiling begins).

Dear Elizabeth: Hello. I'm looking for a recipe for cucumbers in a white sauce possibly sour cream? I had it made by the Amish in Pennsylvania. Could you possibly have that recipe?

I have been reading Elizabeth's column for a long time and I find it very enjoyable. I was able to travel to Pa. to Amish country for many years but not able to any more. I now find her column even more enjoyable.

Betty , Queensbury,NY

Thank you for your kind words. Is this recipe what you are looking for?


Slice and peel one cucumber. Slices should be on the thin side. In a small bowl, stir one-fourth cup milk, 1 tablespoon salad dressing (Miracle Whip), a little salt, and 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar. Stir well and pour over cucumber slices until coated. Toss and serve. Use If you use two cucumbers, double the ingredients used.

Hope this helps!

It's been a few years back, in one of our local newspapers, there was a recipe for an Amish Meatloaf that had brown sugar and mustard as 2 of its ingredients. I have since lost that recipe and would like to have it again. My family wont eat a meatloaf unless it's made with that recipe now. Thank you.

Jenny, Emporia, Kansas

I am glad you like the meatloaf recipe. It's a favorite around here. Here is the recipe:

1 1 /2 pounds ground beef
1 cup quick rolled oats
1/ 2 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons pepper
4 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup catsup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Combine meatloaf ingredients of beef, oats, onion, salt, pepper, egg, and mix thoroughly. Pack firmly into loaf pan. Combine all ingredients for sauce, catsup, brown sugar, and mustard, and pour over meat loaf. Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 1 hour. Let stand 5 minutes before slicing.

Dear Elizabeth: I have been working with my grandmother's noodle recipe for some time. I use her proportions (3 eggs, 2 c. flour, 1/2 t. salt). Mixing and rolling are not a problem; the result is. I am successful only part of the time. Sometimes they are dry and sometimes I can't get them to dry.

Before she passed, my grandmother talked about doing noodles at the "right time". My mother said that she wasn't sure, but she thought it had to do with humidity and time of year. Is this true? I would love to get any help from Elizabeth. Thank you so much.

Cheryl, Columbus, Oh

I usually like to make my noodles in the spring and fall. The flies aren't so thick then and the temperature and humidity are usually perfect. I usually make my noodles in late April or early May or in October. The flies also aren't so thick then. When you are done, lay them out on a table to dry. Make sure they aren't too crowded, that they have room to dry.

[Editor's note: Elizabeth also said if your dough is too wet, add a bit more flour, if it is too dry, add a bit more water. This was a tough question for her to answer because she's been making noodles for so long and has never really thought about how she does them. Columbus, Ohio's climate is almost exactly like Elizabeth's, so the secret might be in the season.]

Hello: Not so long ago I received a response via e-mail that my question concerning a recipe that was published in our local paper, The Evening Times, of Sayre, Pa. The recipe was for Pepper Butter. I was told to keep an eye on The Amish Cook site. Sadly , I haven't seen the recipe yet. Would it be possible to print the recipe for me and all those who read the site. Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Editor's note: Sorry for the delay! Here is the recipe.

42 hot peppers
1 tablespoon of salt
1 pint of yellow mustard
1 cup of flour
1 quart of vinegar
1 1/2 cup of water
6 cups of sugar

Grind hot peppers, add mustard, vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Make a paste with flour and water, add to boiling mixture and cook five minutes. Pour in pint jars and seal. Makes 7 pints.

Dear Elizabeth: I lost the recipe for Indiana Pecan Pie that appeared in the South Bend Tribune, also I had an old family recipe for baking powder biscuits that I also cannot find - I would love to surprise my husband with both of these. Can you help?

I really look forward to Monday morning to read your article and check out the recipes! Keep up the good work!

Also, would you know anywhere I can purchase Robin Hood Flour? We used to purchase it from Kroger's or Wilt's (which is no longer around) - but I can't seem to find it anywhere - it was the best flour for baking bread, etc.

Kay, Mishawaka, IN

Thank you for reading the column! About the Robinhood flour, I use that in my baking also, I was always able to find it at my local grocery store. ([Editor's Note: Elizabeth and I talked about this and her local grocery store is affiliated with "SuperValu", which also is where I have seen it in my hometown. So look in SuperValu stores. There should be at least one in Greater South Bend.]

Also, here are the two recipes you requested. I hope these are helpful. The biscuits are a favorite here.

1 cup of white corn syrup
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of pecans
1/4 cup of melted butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/3 teaspoon of salt

Combine syrup, sugar, salt, margarine, and vanilla. Mix well. Add eggs. Pour into 9 inch pie shell. Sprinkle pecans over the whole mixture. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes.

2 cups flour
1 /2 teaspoon cream of tartar
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 /2 cup shortening
2 /3 cup milk

Stir together all of the above ingredients until well mixture. Pour into lightly greased muffin tins until 2/3 full. Bake at 450 until golden. Serve with sausage or milk gravy.

This question has two related parts: First, I have noticed in the "Best of the Amish Cook" Part 1, Elizabeth writes often about quilting that she and her girls have been doing. In more recent columns, there has been little, if any, mention about quilting. Is this because the girls all have their requisite number of quilts for their "hope chests"? Or is it just not mentioned anymore?

Second, again about sewing: Elizabeth and her girls often cut out and sew clothes for the family. I am wondering what they use for patterns. Is there such a thing as patterns for "Amish clothes" or do they know how to do it without patterns? If so, can Elizabeth share this method with us? (or is this too difficult to impart in writing)

Carol, Homosassa, FL

Editor's answer: I showed your question to Elizabeth, and talked about her quilting. Some Amish women sew quilts to sell so they are always quilting. Many Amish families, though, have a set number of quilts to make, and then they are done. Elizabeth has made 16 quilts and 16 knotted quilts, two for each of her children. In addition, she made eight bed comforters. Most of these were sewn in the early 90s. Once completed, she doesn't do much quilting unless invited to a "quilting bee." Each child treasures the homemade quilts from their mother and will keep them for life.

The pattern question was an interesting one. I had never asked Elizabeth about that. She said that they use patterns for their caps, bonnets, and the top portion of their dresses. Shirts, skirts and sleeves are just made by measuring the fabric. I asked Elizabeth's daughter Verena to show me the patterns. They are very simple cut-outs, made from freezer paper and stored in a folder. Thanks for the interesting question! Kevin Williams, Editor

Elizabeth: My grandmother's maiden name was Metzger and her father was an Elder in the Old Order Dunkard (German Baptist) church near North Manchester, IN where I grew up. She used to make a soup called rivels soup and I've been looking for a recipe for it. Do you have one?

Larry, Costa Mesa, CA

When times were especially tough, Mom would make rivvels. Rivvels are little rice-sized pieces of dough, served in soup. The soup sort of resembles a gravy. Mother would take dough and rub it through her hands and drop it into a boiling broth. Instead of having noodles, she would fix a broth soup, like rivvel soup. The rivvel soup tastes like a gravy. Mom would fix this a lot on Saturday, which would be a good inexpensive meal before a larger, better meal on Sunday. Here is the recipe. I hope this helps!


1 quart beef broth
1 egg, well-beaten
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Heat the broth in a medium-sized pot until boiling. Combine flour, salt and egg in a bowl until mixture is crumbly. Rub the dough through your hands into the boiling broth. Cook about 10 minutes on medium heat. Rivvels will look like boiled rice when cooked. You may also use milk instead of broth if you wish.

Dear Elizabeth: Please send me your recipe for making Sauerkraut. I am not sure how much salt and vinegar to add to each quart.

Heide, Cambridge, NY

Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon vinegar to each quart. A reader from Lexington, Ohio also asked how long sauerkraut should be stored before serving. I keep it in my cellar for two months before opening.

Elizabeth: I saw a recipe for "speedy rolls" in a paper, but did not cut it out. Can you mail it to me, please? the paper was dated 12-27-01.

Lynda, Hillsboro, OH

Here is the recipe. Hope this helps!


1/2 cup of sugar
1 or 2 packages of yeast
6 1/2 cups of flour
2 eggs
1/3 cup of lard
1 tablespoon of salt
2 cups of lukewarm water

Place water, sugar, salt, yeast, and 2 cups of Robinhood flour in a bowl and beat for two minutes. Add eggs and lard, stir well. Gradually add rest of flour and stir until firm. Let set for 20 minutes. Roll out, spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon. Roll up and slice. Put in greased pans and let rise. Bake at 370 for 30 minutes.

Could you write a column about specific varieties of vegetables you plant in your garden? For example, specific names of tomatoes for sauce or for canning; specific green beans for canning, etc. Any gardening information would be helpful. Thank you.

Ann, Anderson, IN

Editor's answer: Ann, I am not copping out or trying to give a shameless plug. But Elizabeth writes about this topic extensively in her new book due out this fall! Stay tuned to this website for further details.

How can The Amish Cook maintain a web-site?

The answer is simple: She can't!

The web-site is maintained by her non-Amish editor, Kevin Williams, and his webmaster. Kevin's close relationship with the Coblentzes has enabled the column to appear in daily newspapers across the country and now makes Elizabeth's portion of www.OasisNewsfeatures.com possible. The arrangement between Elizabeth and Kevin is an extremely unusual one.

In the April 26 edition of "The Farmland News" you mentioned you had a recipe for dandelion jelly. Would you please share the recipe.

Annette - Delta, OH


1 package Sure-Jel
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 1/2 cups white sugar
1 quart water
1 quart of dandelion blossoms without the stems

In the early morning, pick dandelion blossoms without stems. When you are ready to prepare the jelly, wash the blossoms. Boil blossoms with water for 3 minutes. Drain off 3 cups liquid. Take this juice and add Sure-Jel, lemon juice, and sugar. Boil this mixture for 3 minutes. Skim off top and put in jars and seal. Tastes like honey.

Cheryl in South Bend, Indiana requested a "snickerdoodle cookie" recipe. This tasty cookie is a traditional favorite among the Amish of the Midwest.


1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
2 eggs
2 3/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Heat oven at 350. Mix shortening, sugar, and eggs. Then add dry ingredients (except for coating). Roll into balls. Mix sugar and cinnamon coating and roll balls into the mixture. Place balls two inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes.

Please send me the recipe for corn oysters.

Marilyn - McCutchenville, Ohio

I have never heard of this recipe. Sorry!

I realize that Elizabeth is not doing her column now due to the death of her husband, and we offer our deepest sympathy. When she spoke of him in her column we could vividly picture him. What a great and tragic loss. A friend and I just returned from a two day stay in Holmes county. We usually visit there once a year. On one of the days this last visit (Thur. June 1st.) We were told that the Amish we observing Assention Day and that all their businesses would be closed. We noticed that they were all either visiting, playing ball or just plain relaxing. Is this considered a major holiday for them? Do they attend a church service that day? Another question--- We noticed some Amish farmers with tractors. Are tractors acceptable and if so why do some have rubber tires and others steel wheels? I know these seem like trivial questions during this sad time in Elizabeth's life, but it would be interesting reading in a future column. Thank-you!

Vicki - Delphos, Ohio

There are some who observe this holiday and some don't. About the tractors, some areas are different. It depends on each individual church's rules which can vary from place to place. They are not allowed around here. Thank you to offer your sympathy on the loss of my beloved husband, Ben. He was a good husband and father.

Some years ago, I tasted a "fermented" fruit mixture a lady had made for use as an ice cream or cake topping. She called it "fruit brandy" and I think it was just mixed fresh fruit and sugar. Can you help me with what this is?

Stacey - Lyons, Kansas

Would it be such as a "fruit dip?" The ingredients are:


1/ 2 cup powdered sugar
8 ounces cream cheese
2 /3 cup whipped topping
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whip all together and add any kind of fruit such as bananas, etc.

In one of her columns, Elizabeth mentions "winter onions." I have winter onions and I don't know when to pull them. All my Mom told me was to let them go for awhile. I now have a large patch and she has since passed away. Do I pull the large onions or the small ones? Do I only do this in the spring?

Bonnie - Tiffin, Ohio

Only in the Spring we pull them. We pull them when they are bigger, just like the green onions.

Richard in Bradenton, Florida wrote to Elizabeth asking her the secret of great-tasting meatloaf.


2 pounds hamburger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup oatmeal
1 teaspoon pepper
3 eggs
1 onion, chopped
1/ 2 cup ketchup or 1 cup tomato juice

Mix all together and put in loaf pan and top with ketchup. Bake at 350 for 1 hour.

I had an Amish friend that lived in Sarasota Florida who use to make Potato candy is there a recipe for it and how do I make it?

Chris - Bradenton, Florida

I have heard of this recipe, it's yummy.


1/2 cup of mashed potatoes (warm)
1 pound powdered sugar
1 /2 cup peanut butter

Mix potatoes and powdered sugar very well. Roll out potato mixture like it's dough. Spread on the peanut butter. Roll mixture into a log shape. Slice and then chill.

I wanted to ask the Amish Cook if she knew anyone in her community that would hand quilt a small wall-hanging and a twin size quilt for me. I could mail it to them to hand quilt and send them money for the quilting and postage.

Jameelya - Richmond, IN

Try Wilmen's Store in Monroe, Indiana. Just write: Wilmen's Store, Monroe, Indiana 46711.

I know this is an extremely trivial question but as a cat lover I am curious. I have always heard that Amish people have a lot of cats and are always willing to take on more to get rid of mice and things. I was just wondering if that is true.

The cats will keep the mice away. We have several barn cats.

Welcome back,Elizabeth. I follow your column in the "Farmland News" every week and then pass it on to my sister-in-law.I so look forward to that column I would love to have your bread dressing recipe. We ate in the Essen House in Middlebury and it is so wonderful. And I am copying your Rhubarb Recipes as we love rhubarb too!!

I don't really have a recipe of it. I just make it by feel. I take one loaf of bread (crumbled), 1 onion, diced; 4 eggs, and chicken broth and mix this all together. Then I pour water from cooked potatoes into it. Don't make it too thin with the water. Then fry in a greased skillet or put in the oven to bake, but I like the skillet the best.

I need a recipe for canning hot peppers and cherry peppers. Can you help me?

Bev - Newton, KS

Try this for canning peppers:


3 cups vinegar
3 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 /4 cup salt

Boil all the ingredients. Pour over hot peppers in jars and seal.

Last summer you had a fly catcher recipe in one of your columns. I know you needed a 2-liter pop bottle, vinegar, sugar and water, but I forget the amounts. It worked great and I would like to use it again.

Charlene - Harrisonburg, VA

Take 2-liter pop bottle (we use green like 7-Up or Sprite) and fill with 1 cup sugar, 1 cup vinegar, and banana peelings. Fill up with water 3 /4 full. Hang on the lower branch of a tree. Be patient, because it takes a good week or two for the trap to begin working. But once insects start coming in, they come in bunches. Once they fly into the bottle, they are done for. Works great for ridding your yard of insects. (EDITOR'S NOTE: Lots of questions have come in about this homemade insect trap. Next time I am at the Coblentzes, I'll take a photo of their homemade insect trap and post the picture here so you can see if yours looks comparable. Look back here in about 2 weeks)

When you find blood in your raw eggs what does that mean and should you use it in cooking?

Jennifer - Big Rapids, M

I never use the eggs if they have blood in them.

My mother reads your column in the Ottawa (KS) Herald. She said some time ago you published a pastry recipe called "Nothings." She has misplaced that recipe and wants to know if you could send it to me to give to her as she is not on-line. Thank you.

Joyce - Grandview, MO

This is the recipe for nothings, which are served at weddings in this area. The pastries are stacked upon one another, so they are decorative as well as tasty.


1 egg
3 cookspoons (large kitchen spoons) of cream
pinch of salt
Enough all-purpose flour to make a stiff dough

Beat the egg and then stir in cream and salt. Add enough flour to make a stiff dough. Work it with your hands well. Divide dough into 6 or 7 balls and roll out real flat. VERY thin. The cut 3 slits into each flat piece of dough. Have a kettle of hot lard or Crisco ready and one by one drop the dough in. Remove when golden. Sprinkle sugar on them and stack on a plate.

How deep must rhubarb be planted and what tips can you give me for growing large healthy rhubarb plants.

Marsha - Arcola, IL

It depends on how big the plants are. You just need to plant them deep enough so that the roots are covered.

Elizabeth in Elizabethtown, Pa requested a recipe for chicken corn soup.

Elizabeth - nice name - I do have that recipe, it's a favorite around here
and not hard to prepare.


4 pounds roasting chicken - cut up
2 teaspoons salt
dash of pepper
1 /4 teaspoon saffron
1 stalk celery, with leaves
1 whole onion, peeled
1 cup medium noodles
2 packages (10 ounce size), frozen whole kernel corn (we use corn from our garden)
2 teaspoons chopped parsley
2 hard-cooked eggs, coarsely chopped
2 quarts water

Rinse chicken well in cold water. Place in a 4 quart kettle along with 2 quarts of water, saffron, salt, pepper, celery, and onions. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer - covered one hour or until chicken is tender. Skim off fat. Lift out chicken. Let chicken cool slightly. Then remove celery and onion and discard. Remove chicken from bones and cut into bite size pieces. Return chicken to broth, bring to boiling. Add noodles and corn and boil for 20 more minutes. If necessary add a little bit more salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add parsley and eggs to the soup just before serving. Makes 6 to 8 delicious servings.

I am a new mother, I was wondering what your opinion regarding breast-feeding?

Dorothy - Brandon, Manitoba

Very good, it's the best nutrients for a baby.

Alan in Brookline, MA requested Elizabeth's recipe for Aunt Hilty's cinnamon

These rolls go good around here, especially for breakfast. Everyone seems to enjoy them.


1 1/2 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 packages of dry, active yeast
1/2 cup warm water
6 cups flour
3 eggs

Scald 1 1/2 cups milk. Add two teaspoons of salt, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup butter or margarine. Add two packages of yeast to 1/2 cup of warm water and let stand five minutes. Add to above mixture. Add three beaten eggs and then three cups of flour. Mix. Add three cups more flour. Let raise to double bulk. Roll out and spread with melted margarine. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and then cinnamon. Roll-up. Cut up about 3/4 to one inch width. Let rise. Bake in hot oven (about 350), five to seven minutes. Frosting can be added.

Julie in Floyds Knobs, Indiana requested a "dinner roll" recipe from Elizabeth. These are simple to prepare and the ones we fix most often around here.


2 cakes of yeast (or 2 packages of dry yeast)
1 /4 cup of lukewarm water
1 1 /4 cups of milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 /2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons butter
3 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in water. Milk sugar, salt, and butter should be put into a pan over the oven and heated to lukewarm. Add yeast and flour and stir until blended. Put in a warm place for 15 minutes. Turn out on a floured board and press to 1 inch thickness. Cut out circles. Fold dough over bits of butter. Place on greased cookie sheet. Let rise 15 minutes and bake 10 minutes in a 350 oven.

Can you please tell me how to make cottage cheese? My Grandmother used to make it, but I've forgotten how she did it. Thank you.

Gwen - Indianapolis, IN

Let your milk sour. Heat it, but don't boil it, only hot. Cool off and strain. I like to add salt and pepper to my taste.

Netra in Tacoma, Washington wrote to Elizabeth asking about the proper way to freeze garden-grown vegetables.

We only freeze certain items, others just don't freeze well. Strawberries, raspberries and cherries freeze well. We roll them in sugar, seal them in empty 2 to 3 quart plastic ice cream containers. These seal well. Other fruits don't freeze so well.

Vegetables such as radishes and hot peppers just don't seem to freeze well, but green beans and corn keep nicely in the ice-box. We steam green beans and corn first in a kettle, let it cool, and then seal and freeze it.These are good ways to keep certain fruits and vegetables, but for most of our produce we home-can it. It keeps this way much longer, and fresher.

My daughter loves sugar cream pie at a local restaurant. I cannot find a recipe that tastes like it does there. Do you have a recipe for sugar cream pie?

Eileen - Westville, USA

EDITOR'S RESPONSE: Eileen, having tasted Elizabeth's sugar cream pie a time or two, I can attest first-hand that it is melt-in-your-mouth delicious!Elizabeth's recipe is below - Kevin Williams, editor


1 cup white sugar
1 /2 cup flour
2 /3 cup brown sugar
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
1 cup cream
1 /8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 /2 teaspoon vanilla
unbaked pie shell

Combine sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in boiling water. Then add cream, nutmeg, and vanilla. Pour mixture into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 425 for 10 minutes, then 350 for 40 minutes.

Do you have a recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies?

Mary, Bloomsburg, PA

Is this the recipe you want?


3 cups lard
6 eggs
6 cups brown sugar
2 tablespoons soda
1 /2 tablespoons vanilla
6 cups whole wheat flour
12 cups oatmeal
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon salt

Mix together and put into rolls and chill overnight. Cut 1/8 inch thick and bake in preheated 350 degree oven till golden. About 10 minutes. Delicious!

Would you please tell me a good recipe for noodles?

Linda, Pendleton, Indiana

There are many different recipes for noodles. Homemade noodles are a time-consuming tradition handed down from generation to generation among Amish families. Each family has their own distinct recipe. Unfortunately, it's a tradition which is not as common as it used to be. When I was a little girl, all the mothers fixed homemade noodles, rolling them out and letting them dry out on racks. It would always be an exciting day when mother would fix noodles. This is a recipe which goes good around here and  is easy to make:


9 eggs
6 cups flour or more
1 teaspoon salt
1/ 2 cup water

Mix together well. Knead until nice and smooth. Dough should not be sticky. Roll out and cut into width of noodles desired. Let set all day and you'll have dried noodles! A hand-cranked noodle maker is so handy to do noodles.

We ate pineapple-pecan pie with a custard-like filling baked in a single crust at Middleberry, Indiana, would like the recipe if you know it. Thanks.

Helen - Greenfield, IN

I'm not certain what that recipe would be. We have a pecan-pineapple pie recipe that we use to make for gatherings after church services, maybe this is what you are looking for?


1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Blend together the cream cheese, 1 egg, 1/2 cup sugar, salt and vanilla. Gently stir in pineapple, pour into pie crust. Sprinkle pecans over cream cheese mixture. Blend together the 3 eggs, corn syrup, 1/4 cup sugar and vanilla. Pour over pecan layer. Place on lower rack of oven and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until center is firm. Makes one 9 inch pie

Could I please have the vegetable soup recipe that was in your article a couple of weeks ago in the Indianapolis Star. Thank you.

Penny - Indianapolis, IN

Here is the recipe:


1 quart potatoes
1 quart carrots
1 quart celery
1 quart corn
1 quart peas
1 quart onions
1 quart soup beans
6 to 7 quarts tomato juice
1 cup elbow spaghetti
1 /2 cup brown sugar
1 1 /2 pounds hamburger
1 tablespoon chili powder

Mix together and cold pack for 90 minutes in pressure cooker (10 pounds of pressure). Makes around 15 quarts of soup.

I just returned from my first trip to the Midwest, specifically, Northern Indiana. I made a trip to Shipshewana and was very fascinated by the lifestyle of the Amish people.Is it possible to find an Amish girl/woman to write to, i.e., pen pal? Thank you.


EDITOR'S RESPONSE: Elizabeth has received lots of questions concerning Amish pen pals through the years. This is a tough one because the fact is, non-Amish people find the Amish a lot more fascinating than they find us. So the interest level often just is not there. Throw in the fact that the Amish lifestyle, by its very nature, stresses as little contact with the outside world as possible, and finding an Amish pen pal is even tougher. The best advice I can give you, or anyone else, is to get a copy of "The Budget", that's the official newspaper of the Amish-Mennonite community. You can put a classified ad in there seeking a pen-pal, or sometimes there are even Amish who will have ads of their own in there seeking a pen-pal simply as a means of cultural exchange. The address and phone number of the Budget is:

Budget Publishing
134 Factory St NE, 
Sugarcreek, OH 44681-9301 
Phone: (330)852-4634 

Good luck!

Kevin Williams, editor

Your article yesterday mentioned green tomato pickles. Will you give us your recipe?

Carol - Oxford, Ohio


Onions (chopped) or however
Green tomatoes, large chunks, it's good to have plenty of tomatoes
Hot or sweet peppers (or use both)
Pickling spice
Package of Mrs. Wages sweet pickle mix (do as directions say)

Cook till they change color. Put in jars while hot & seal. You can mix to your taste.

Editor's note: While Elizabeth's directions are not too specific in this recipe, I have sampled some of these on my November 17, 2000 visit to the Coblentzes and they are delicious! A good, sweet taste.

One of my elderly neighbors used to make green apple relish. I was wondering if you might have the recipe for this.

Louise - Kokomo, IN

A delicious relish!


Dice the following fruit and vegetable combination: 2 green apples, 1 red apple, 1 small yellow bell pepper, 1 pear, 1 fresh peach and 1 fresh apricot. Sprinkle with a few raisins and lightly toss with 1\4 cup of apple cider.Refrigerate any unused portion.

I would like to know if you have the recipe for "Apple Butter made in a large cooker in the oven?"Thank you for your help.

Miriam - Richmond, IN

I have a recipe which goes good around here, I hope it might be what you are looking for.


20 cups applesauce (no sugar, we make homemade, but you can use store bought)
12 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
6 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons cloves

Mix all together. Put in roaster with lid on oven at 350 for 3 hours. After 1 1/ 2 hours in oven, stir only once. Makes about 10 pints. Very good and easy to make.

I have heard of recipes for fried pickles. As I love pickles I am curious if you have any recipes for fried pickles. What type of pickle would work best? Are these like fried green tomatoes?

Carol - Milton, Pennsylvania

Fried pickles is a favorite around here. They are similar to fried green tomatoes, but with a different, sweeter taste. When the cucumbers in the garden get bigger we pick them - a bigger cucumber works best for fried pickles. Slice them up and then roll them in flour. Fry them in butter or lard until they are golden brown. Season with salt and pepper.

Do you have a recipe for Amish Church Peanut Butter?

Pat - Bainbridge, Indiana

We make a peanut butter spread for church. Mix equal parts Karo corn syrup, marshmallow creme and peanut butter. Some spread it on a slice of bread to eat, while others make a sandwich out of it. Hope this is what you were looking for!

Does you have any suggestions on how to control Mexican bean beetles in the garden? Each year my beans are ravaged by these pests. How about Japanese beetle larvae in the yard, prior to them hatching into beetles. I am considering Milky spore, but I have a large area and I'm concerned about my wife's allergies.

Terry - Springfield, Ohio

I always like to grow marigold flowers in my garden. Keeps a lot of stuff out. They just don't like the marigolds. I put rows through my garden. My daughter Leah puts rows through her garden and then plants them surrounding the outside border of her whole garden. Seems to keep all kinds of pests away. I hope this helps.

How do the Amish celebrate Christmas? What kind of decorations do you put up?

Susan - Ossian, Indiana


In today's column, I noticed that Elizabeth put oil in the pan to brown her ground meat. I learned a long time ago to sprinkle salt in the bottom of my cast iron skillet, turn the burner on medium heat. No need to add extra shortening to the skillet or pan.

Marilyn - Culver, IN

Depends on the meat. Hamburger that doesn't have a lot of fat in it, I have to add a little oil, but most I don't use oil or lard.

What is your pecan pie recipe?

Dena - Bedford, Indiana

Hope this helps!


3 /4 cups sugar
3 /4 cups corn syrup
1 /2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons milk
2 eggs
1 /2 cup pecans

Mix and spoon into unbaked pie shell. Bake at 350 until done.


1 cup of white corn syrup
1 /2 cup of brown sugar
1 /4 cup of melted butter
1 /3 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine syrup, sugar, salt, margarine, and vanilla. Mix well. Add eggs. Pour into 9 inch pie shell. Sprinkle pecans over the whole mixture. Bake in 350 oven for 45 minutes.

A reader wrote in asking for a recipe for "yellow pickled eggs."

I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but this is a good recipe:


12 hard-cooked eggs, shelled
1 medium onion, sliced thin
3 /4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 1/ 4 cup vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon dill weed
1 /4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove garlic, halved
1 /2 teaspoon mustard seed

Pack eggs and onion in 1-quart or larger jar. Bring other ingredients to a boil. Then simmer 5-7 minutes. Pour over eggs. Chill 3 days before serving.

Could you please give me your recipe for angel food cake. I make it quite often and it just never gets as high as the ones I buy in Amish country and never tastes as good either.

Linda - Thornville, OH

Here is a good recipe for this cake:


1 1/4 cups of sifted cake flour 
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 3/4 cups of sifted white flour
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1 1/2 cups of egg whites (about 10-11 eggs) 
1 1/2 teaspoons of cream of tartar

Sift together flour and 3/4 cup of sugar twice. In a large mixing bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, salt and vanilla until foamy. Beat in remaining 1 cup of sugar - 2 tablespoons at a time. Stir vigorously until meringue holds stiff peaks that are glossy and moist. Divide flour and sugar mixture in 4 parts. With rubber spatula, gently fold each portion into meringue until flour and sugar mixture disappear. Push batter into ungreased 10 inch tube pan. Gently cut through batter once with a spatula to remove air bubbles. Do not lift it out of the batter while doing this.

Bake in moderate oven (375) for 35-40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Invert pan and let cake cool before moving.

Where do I put unpopped popcorn to keep it fresh? I have some just harvested this season and it seems to be stale.

Marlene - Dunkirk, Indiana

Editor's answer: Popcorn is a favorite snack at the Coblentz's. There's a good explanation of how Elizabeth and her family popcorn, how it's stored, and when it's eaten in her upcoming cookbook.But for those who don't want to wait, the answer as to how Elizabeth stores her popcorn is surprisingly simple. She keeps the unpopped popcorn in a ceramic cookie-jar on her kitchen counter. The heavy ceramic lid keeps it sealed in tightly. They keep a little plastic scoop inside to take out the popcorn for popping.

Your recipe for Chili Soup was published recently in our local newspaper, The Tacoma News Tribune. I clipped the recipe and served it to my family with cornbread, and they loved it! Unfortunately, I've lost the clipping and can't find it in the recipe archives. Would you mind terribly printing it here?

Rosy - Washington State

Editor's answer: Rosy, this is a favorite in Elizabeth's household. It has a delicious zip to it, simple, yet elegant. Here is the recipe again:


2 pounds of hamburger
1 cup of chopped onion
2 quarts of tomato juice
1 1/2 quarts of water
1 quart of cooked kidney beans
1/2 cup of sugar
3/4 teaspoon of chili powder
salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon of red pepper (optional)
4 rounded tablespoons of cornstarch, enough to thicken to satisfaction

Saute onion and hamburger until brown. Drain grease. Warm tomato juice, sugar, chili powder, salt, and water to the boiling point. Save some water to dissolve cornstarch. Add hamburger and cornstarch and stir until thickened. Add beans. Cook for 5-10 minutes.

My Family and I love the Peanut Butter Cookies in the Amish Country and I was wondering if you could give me the recipe for them.


Editor's answer: I can attest from first-hand experience that Elizabeth's peanut butter cookies are mouth-meltingly delicious. I hope you enjoy them.


1 cup of shortening
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoons of baking soda
1 1/2 cups of white sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon of salt

Mix the above ingredients until smooth. Drop by teaspoon onto a cookie 
sheet. Bake at 370 for 12 minutes. Makes 50 cookies.

Do you have the recipe for Cashew Crunch? I have tried it and it is delicious.


Editor's answer: I asked Elizabeth if she had heard of cashew crunch, and she had. But she didn't have a recipe for it and had never made it. She did say that she thinks one of the women in her church makes it sometimes. She'll try to get the recipe and if she does, she'll give to me, and I'll post it here. That will probably take about a month. Meanwhile, if anyone out there has a good cashew crunch recipe, email it to me at and I'll post it here with your permission.

A few years ago we were treated to a "Haystack Dinner"in Northern Indiana. We found the meal to be delicious and would like to have the recipe for it.

Kay - Greenfield, IN

Editor's answer: Haystack suppers are a staple of Elizabeth's menu. They are most often prepared for birthdays or a young person's gathering. It's sort of considered a "fun" meal, because it's quick and easy, and everyone can layer in one of their favorite ingredients. This is a very, very simple recipe and there aren't many rules to making it, so have fun!


Crushed saltine crackers
plenty of cooked hamburger
cooked spaghetti

Cheese sauce :Melt some American or cheddar cheese over low heat and gradually add milk to make a sauce.

Layer on top of each other in the order given in a bowl. Amount depends on how many people are eating. Pour cheese sauce over top and serve. Other ingredients (tomatoes, mangoes, etc. can be added in layers).

Please e-mail me the recipe for "nothings" that was in your article a few months ago when you wrote about a wedding. Thank you in advance.

Pam - Knox, IN

Editor's answer: Please go to "Editor's Desk" on the first page of this site and look under Editor's Desk (click Archives) and you'll see an entry entitled "Something Out of Nothing." The recipe for this traditional Amish pastry can be found there.

I would like to know if Mrs. Coblentz has a recipe for Donuts made from smash potatoes? A friend's mom use to make them but we don't have a recipe. Thank you.

Ruth - Hammond, IN 

Editor's answer: This is a similar situation to the "cashew crunch" posed recently by another reader. Elizabeth had heard of the recipe and she thinks she knows someone in her community that makes these doughnuts. Check back here in about a month and I'll hopefully have the recipe. Meanwhile, if anyone else out there has one for this, please email it to me at with permission to post it for Ruth.

Do you have a recipe for Amish Onion Pie? We had it in a restaurant, however, they would not give us the recipe.

Terry, Bethlehem, PA

This recipe goes good around here sometimes. My husband wasn't particularly fond of it, but I always liked it. Hope this is what you were looking for.


4 thick slices of bacon, diced
2 cups peeled and chopped yellow onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup sour cream
1 tblsp flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked

Preheat oven to 400 degrees f. Saute bacon. Drain most of the fat from the pan. Add the onions and saute until clear. Do not brown. Set aside to cool.

[13 Feb 2001] When I lived in Ohio, I had the pleasure of eating Amish cooking many times and found it delicious. My question is: Would it be possible for you to post your recipe for biscuits and gravy. I have tried several times to make this and my dog won't eat it. Please help!

Glenn - Lake Ronkonkoma, New York

Hope this helps!


2 cups of sifted flour
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup of mayonnaise
1 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of sugar

Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Add remaining ingredients. Mix till smooth and drop by tablespoons on greased cookie sheet or fill 12 muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes at 375.


1 pound sausage
4 tablespoons flour
1 quart milk
salt and pepper

Brown sausage in an iron skillet. Pour off grease. Add the flour and brown lightly. Add milk and stir until smooth. Bring to a boil and add more milk until the desired consistency or thickness. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Other than color what is the difference between lima beans and
butter beans?

Julie - Hartford City, Indiana

I am sorry, I just don't grow those often. I usually grow green beans, that's the favorite here. Anyone else out there know?

I love reading your articles in the Kokomo Tribune. I make sure I buy it on Monday just to read your articles. You once gave a recipe for taco pie. I lost it, please give it to me. My child even loved it. I think it took bisquick and sour cream and mayonnaise. Also lettuce, tomatoes and such. Please help me.

Tammy - Kokomo, Indiana

This recipe for deep dish taco squares sounds like what you are wanting, it goes good around here!


1/2 pound ground beef (browned)
1/2 pound medium tomatoes (chopped)
1/2 cup green peppers (chopped)
1 onion (chopped)

1 cup Bisquick
1 cup water

Press into 8 X 8 pan and put layers on top.

Topping: Mix together: cup sour cream, 1/3 cup salad dressing. Top with shredded cheese. Bake for 30 minutes at 350. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

I would like for Elizabeth to visit in our area, Caitlin, Illinois, six miles southwest of Danville.

Editor's answer: Public appearances by Elizabeth are rare. She may do a book signing or two this fall when her first nationally published cookbook is released. While I am not as good as the real thing, I make myself available to speak to various groups about the Amish or Elizabeth when requested.

In a recent recipe for banana bread you called for "sour milk." What do you mean by that. Please explain. Thank you!

Linda - Newton, New Jersey

Let milk sour and if not on hand you can add a small amount (tablespoon per cup) of vinegar to the milk to get the same taste. Adding vinegar will sour the milk. Sour milk makes a good taste in some breads, it gets thick and makes them moist. At home, mother would let the milk sour and skim the cream off the top for a homemade sour cream. Never drink sour milk, but good for baking. Hope this helps!

We are looking for a recipe for Amish German chocolate pie. Thank you.

Sue - Marshall, Michigan.

We have a recipe for an Amish chocolate pie that is well-received here. I hope this is what you were looking for:

1 1/3 cups milk
2/3 cup milk (set aside separately)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tablespoon cocoa
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Heat 1 1/3 cups milk. While this is heating, mix 2/3 cup milk, sugar, salt, cocoa, egg yolks, and cornstarch. When milk is hot, mix into milk mixture, stirring constantly. Cook 2 minutes and add: 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon oleo butter. Stir another 2 minutes. Pour into pie crust and cool.

Is the Amish Cook column carried anywhere near the Quad Cities?


Editor's answer: No. The closest newspaper to the Quad Cities to carry the column is Quincy, Illinois. Call the editors at the Quad Cities Times or the Rock Island Argus and ask them to carry the column.

Several readers have asked about Clear-Jel, a thickening used in pie fillings. Elizabeth and many Amish women order Clear-Jel from catalogues or buy it from small country stores. Clear-Jel can also be used in jams, preserves, etc.

Editor's answer: Following is some information from: Reynolds, Susan and Paulette Williams. So Easy to Preserve. Bulletin 989. Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Georgia. Revised by Elizabeth Andress and Judy Harrison (1999).

Obtain your Clear Jel before assembling the fruit and other ingredients to make these pie fillings. In most areas, mail order is the only source. Clear Jel may be mail ordered from either Home Canning Essentials (Alltrista), 1-800-392-2575 or Sweet Celebrations, 1-800-328-6722. Call for prices and shipping and handling costs. There are about 3 cups in 1 pound of Clear Jel. The fruit pie filling recipes take about 1 to 2 cups Clear Jel per 6 to 7 quarts of pie filling. For more information on home canning, contact your local Extension agent.

A reader asked about the windmills that often dot the countryside in Amish country. The windmills operate water pumps. The reader wanted to know where she could obtain such a windmill.

Editor's answer: Elizabeth said that the windmill at her farm was put up decades ago and the company that put it up - using 8 men to erect the tall structure - is no longer in existence. A good place to find companies that do business among the Amish is "The Budget", the official newspaper of the Amish community, which features writers and advertisers. To obtain a copy, contact:

Budget Publishing
134 Factory St NE,
Sugarcreek, OH 44681-9301
Phone: (330)852-4634

I have lost my copy of Elizabeth's recipe for zucchini casserole. If it's not too much trouble, I would love for you to post a copy of it on the internet. Thanks so much.

Pat - Bonifay, FL


3 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini
1 cup Bisquick
1 /2 cup cooking oil
1 /4 cup onion
1 /2 cup cheese
4 eggs
parsley to taste
salt and pepper

Beat eggs, oil, and seasonings until well mixed. Add the rest, and stir. Pack into a casserole dish and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Delicious!

I work with an agency that produces materials for people who are blind or visually impaired. Over 70 percent of our staff is also blind or visually impaired, and they all use very hi-tech devices to get along in their daily lives. Our office uses such things as talking computers, high magnification devices, and computerized embossers to produce the necessary Braille material. Several of us are ardent fans of The Amish Cook and we have been wondering how people who are Amish and are also in need of such special devices cope with their physical limitations would fare in their culture.


Editor's answer: Thank you for reading Elizabeth's column. I took your question to her, because I found it interesting. Elizabeth commented that there are Amish people that she knows who are blind. They read with standard Braille texts. Elizabeth also told me: "A first cousin of mine was blinded at age 12. He makes wastebaskets to sell. Even though he has to sight, his surroundings are so familiar to him that he is able to walk out to the barn and do the milking without help." Elizabeth says that, like any Amish person who is afflicted with a physical limitation, the people usually finds themselves surrounded by a web of support, both family and community. I am always awed by this sense of community that leaves no one out.

I have been looking for a recipe for tomato gravy which my mother made with squirrel and rabbit. Would you have such a recipe? I really enjoy your column in the Monday editions of The South Bend Tribune.

Fred - Buchanan, Michigan

That is a family favorite. When the children we small, we served this all the time. Place 1 quart of tomato juice in a kettle and bring to a boil. Then add a thickening of 2 tablespoons flour mixed with milk and add to the boiling water, stirring constantly until it boils and is thickened. It may be served with bread, toast, or crackers. I made this a lot while the children were young for dinner as they liked it very well. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Some like a little sugar added to it. So do it however you like it.

Do you have any suggestions for keeping deer from eating all my flowers and bushes in my back yard? I have a 4' fence between the woods behind my property and my backyard, but they must jump it as I see hoof prints and my flowers are chewed to a stubble. Please help if you can. Thanks so much.


Editor's answer: I took your email to Elizabeth. She said that she rids her garden of deer - which are plentiful in her area - by sprinkling mothballs generous throughout the area you wish to protect. "The deer don't like mothballs so it keeps them away," Elizabeth says. Try it, and let us know if you get any results!