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An archive of old questions and answers to Elizabeth will remain posted for readers to review.

Have a recipe or cultural question for Lovina? CLICK HERE to ask your question! As with all things on this site, items will be relayed through me to Lovina. It may take a couple of weeks for your answer to appear here. Sometimes I can provide the answer myself. Thanks for all those who submit questions, it keeps this site from getting too stale! - Kevin Williams, Editor

2-1-04: Lovina, I lost a treasured recipe that your mother ran in The Amish Cook column several years ago. It was called “Aunt Hilty’s Cinnamon Rolls”, and they were wonderful. I’ve wished for it many times, and I wondered if you could help me find it. LaVonna Miller, Fairfield, Illinois

Editor's Note: Yum! These are a favorite in Lovina's community. These deliciously sweet, sticky, yet solid cinnamon rolls were pictured on the cover of Elizabeth Coblentz's final book, but due to an oversight on our part, the recipe was not included! I thought I had the recipe on file, but when I wanted to double-check with Lovina. I visited with Lovina over the weekend and she gave me the recipe you were searching for. Enjoy!! And thanks for reading "The Amish Cook!."

Kevin Williams, Editor


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.

I love to collect recipes (I don't have time anymore to cook as I'd like to!), just discovered your website today. My mother had an old recipe passed down from her mother. It was called Ka-Neff-Lies. Don't know how to spell it. It was 1 egg to 1 cup flour & I think 1 cup water. Make a stiff dough, drop by spoonfuls into boiling water till they float. Then, part 2: brown the cooked dough pieces with crushed saltine crackers in bacon grease in a cast-iron skillet. Serve with pork, boiled potatoes, carrots, and sauerkraut. According to my mother, this was a regional recipe from the section of Barvaria where her family originated. I wonder if any of your readers have heard of it or know any of it's history. So far I have found no one.

Thank you, Ann - Titusville, Florida

Ann, your question is an interesting one. Hopefully someone out there can help. If you can provide more information about Ann's request, please email me at and I'll post the answer here. Meanwhile, I think I can provide at least a partial answer. I showed Lovina your question which had us both reminiscing about a recipe her mother used to prepare which had a strikingly similar spelling. Knepfle is a type of old German dumpling. Elizabeth (Lovina's Mom) used to make knepfle all the time. The recipe below sounds just like "part 1", but Lovina never remembered her mother doing "part 2." Here is the recipe for knepfle. Let me know if this helps! - Kevin Williams, Editor


1 egg

broth or water

2 cups flour

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon baking powder

Beat egg in a cup and fill it up with water. Add to dry ingredients. Put one quart of water or broth in a two or three quart saucepan. Bring to a boil.   Hold the bowl with this dough over the boiling water or broth, dropping off the dough it as small pieces as you can with your spoon.   Dip the spoon in the water or broth often to prevent it from sticking. Let cook 5 minutes.









10-29-03:  Could you share "The Amish Cook's" meatloaf recipe with me?  Anne, Schenectady, NY

Anne - Elizabeth Coblentz's meatloaf recipe always got rave reviews. Perhaps its the homemade sauce she drenched it in (the catsup she used for her sauce was homemade). If anyone out there makes the meatloaf, let me know how it turns out. I'm not quite sure what makes it so much better than other run-of-the-mill meatloafs, but here it is - Kevin Williams, Editor, [email protected]



1/2 pound of ground beef

1 teaspoon of salt

2 beaten eggs                                  1 cup of tomato juice

1/4 cup of chopped onion                    3/4 cup of uncooked rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

Special sauce: 1 /3 cup catsup, 2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar, 1 tablespoon yellow prepared mustard


Combine all ingredients thoroughly and pack firmly into a pan. In a small bowl stir sauce ingredients well. Pour over meatloaf. Bake at 350 for one hour until sauce has deepened in color and appears dry. Let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.


10-02-03: My grandmother came from a family in N.W. Missouri, she had 12 brothers and sisters.  One way they stretched dollars was to make a tomato gravy or "breaded tomatoes" as they called it.  This recipe was cooked on top of the range, thickened with flour, and had milk or sour cream in it.  When bubbly, you put leftover stale or slighlty dried bread into it.  The Gravy soaked up the bread, it made you think of mashed potatoes.  You can't use stewed tomatoes.  My problem is I don't remember when exactly you put the milk product in.  One way it curdles.  I do remember the hot bubbly gravy is poured over the broken pieces of bread just before serving.  Please help, would you know of this recipe? Linda, Waverly, New York.

Linda - excellent question! Fortunately, when Elizabeth Coblentz died last fall she left behind a wealth of written recipes. Tomato gravy is one of the many recipes that found their way into Amish culture during the Great Depression. The economic downturn hit the Amish like everyone else, so they found ways to use every bit of food to its maxium potential. Younger Amish don't use these recipes as much, so I am glad you asked for it. I searched 10 years of Elizabeth's recipes for "tomato gravy" and found that she wrote about it twice, once in 1993 and once in 1996. Here is what she wrote:

1993: .....Mother would fix something called a "sweet tomato gravy" and serve it over bread.   Heat tomato juice or tomato chunks to a boil, then add a thickening of flour, milk, and sugar.   Boil a few minutes.   Pour over cubed bread.  

1996: Take 1 quart of tomato juice (I use my homemade, home-canned kind) and bring to a boil and add a milk thickening. The milk thickening consists of 2 tablespoons of flour and a cup of milk combined. Bring to a boil again and remove from heat. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over cubed bread. This is delicious!

I hope this helps! - Kevin Williams, Editor

09-29-03: I've lost my recipe for pie crust that I cut out of this article when the Lovina's mother was writing it.  Could you please sent it to me.  It had vinegar in it. Michlle, Indianapolis

Michelle: here is Elizabeth's recipe for "Never Fail Pie Crust."


3 cups flour                                   

1 cup lard

1 tablespoon vinegar                      

1 egg

1/3 cup water                               

1 teaspoon salt

Mix lard, salt, and flour as usual. Mix vinegar, beaten egg, and water. Add to other ingredients after ready. Makes four pie crusts.


09-18-03: I try to read the news paper every day. Sometimes this does not happen.With out fail I always read Thusday Star Press for the Amish Cook article.
For the last 3 years me and my German friend go pick gooseberries. My friend always makes a Gooseberry cake I alway make Gooseberry pie. My pie is well received but lacking in some way. I say all this to ask you if you have a recipe for Gooseberry Pie.
As I know your are busy with your family and working on the article i would be most grateful for a response.
thank you
Janie, Muncie, Indiana;

Janie - I visited with Lovina and we talked about gooseberries, this wonderful delicate, delicacy. Lovina shared two recipes that she prepares for gooseberry pie, one recipe is very straight-forward and plain, the other has a tapioca twist. Enjoy!



2 cups sugar

2 cups gooseberries

1 tablespoon flour

walnut-sized pat of butter

2 unbaked pie crusts.

Put sugar, berries, flour, and butter into a bowl to mix.   Then pour into pie shell and cover with top crust.   Bake 35 minutes at 425.  



3 cups gooseberries

1 1/2 cup sugar

3 tablespoons quick-cook tapioca

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon butter

Crush gooseberries. Combine sugar, tapioca, salt with crushed berries and cook until mixture thickens.   Stir often.   Pour into unbaked 9 inch pie shell.   Dot with butter.   Adjust top crust.   Flute edges and slash top to release steam.   Brush top with milk and sprinkle with sugar.   Bake in a hot oven, 450 for 10 minutes and reduce temperature to 350 and bake for 30 minutes or until crust is done.   You can also add 1 teaspoon of grated orange rind for further flavor.

09-15-03: My grandmother used to make a pie called a milk pie. she would use her left over milk,sugar, and flour. Does Lovina have a recipe for one? Vickie, Berwick, PA:

Thanks for your email, Vickie, I checked with Lovina and she does have a recipe for "Milk Pie." It's similiar to a recipe for "Poor Man's Bread" pie that her mother fixed, using bread, milk and flour. "Milk Pie" is very typical of Amish dishes that originated durign the lean Great Depression years. The Amish were hit hard then like everyone else. This recipe has had variations through the years, and you can prepare it without molasses. Hope this works for you - Kevin Williams, Editor



3 eggs
1 cup molasses
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups thick sour milk
2 (9-inch) unbaked pie shells

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Beat eggs. Add molasses. Combine sugar, flour and baking soda and add to egg mixture. Add thick milk. Pour into unbaked pie shells. Bake for 10 minutes; then reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F and bake for 40 to 45 minutes.

Sprinkle top of pie with cinnamon, if desired.

09-06-03: I think Lovina is doing a GREAT job with the newspaper column. I enjoy
her column each week in The Mt.Pleasant News. Her column comes each Tuesday and that is the first thing I read in the paper. I really enjoy
her and how she talks about her family.      
Don't the Amish have a newspaper? What is the name of it? How would I
get a copy or subscrible to it?  

Patricia - Mount Pleasant, Iowa

Patricia, thanks for the kind words about Lovina's column. You are correct, the Amish do have a newspaper (actually a couple). Without ready access to computers, telephones, and faxes, most Old Order Amish find "The Budget" to be an indispensable communications tool. They learn news about upcoming weddings, barn-raisings, and community events in the Budget which publishes news from Amish commuities across the country. Amish writers who contribute news from their communities are known as scribes. Anyone - Amish or non-Amish can subscribe. To order a copy, contact The Budget at:


PO BOX 249

134 N. Factory Street

Sugarcreek, Ohio 44681


Because of The Budget's growing subscriber base of "English" and more liberal Amish, more and more Old Order Amish are switching to Lancaster, Pennsylvania's Die Botschaft. In German, it means "The Message." This paper's subscriber base is primarily Old Order Amish, with the same scribe formula found in "The Budget."

The conservative German Baptists, or Dunkers, also have their own paper - The Vindicator. Anyone can subscribe or obtain copies. The Vindicator's contact info is:

The Vindicator
6952 N. Montgomery Coutny Rd.
Englewood, OH 45322-9748

The cost is $15.00 per year.



08-27-03: : I always laugh when I read about the Amish having church in their homes.They talk about how much cleaning they do and even have other family members help.Do they really need to clean or is it a church tradition or symbolic gesture? Gloria, Elkhart, Indiana

Answer: Hey, what's so funny about a clean house!? If you saw mine, you might want to send an Amish cleaning crew to my place! Your question is a good one and you actually answered it yourself when you touched upon a "symbolic gesture." That's exactly what it is. Keep in mind that most Amish are not very materialistic, their lives revolve around simplicity and faith. Amish people shun most material items. So when company comes over they don't have the latest DVD player, computer, or car to show off. Instead, they place a special emphasis on a clean house, that is what they have to "show off." And there is almost a spiritual element for them that "cleanliness is next to godliness." Because of these combined reasons, many Amish go above and beyond what most of us would consider a clean house. - Kevin Williams, Editor


08-25-03: I always read your article and I read where your serve a peanut butter spread for the after dinner meal.  I was wondering if you could print that or return it to me by email. Gewayne - Fort Wayne, Indiana

Gewayne - Peanut butter mixtures are common food fare among the Amish. They are most often served for the meal after church. It's a sweet, sticky spread that is often served on one piece of bread, although so eat it as a sandwich between two slices. I talked to Lovina about the spread and she makes it just like her mother.

1 cup of light corn syrup

1 cup of marshmallow cream

1 cup of smooth peanut butter

Mix the above in a bowl and serve. Lovina says you can increase the measurements, but always keep in proportional. Elizabeth often liked a thicker mixture, so sometimes should would use slightly more peanut butter.

The above recipe is most common in Indiana Amish homes. Amish churches in Pennsylvania do serve a peanut butter spread, but it has a few more ingredients in it:


3 cups brown sugar
5 pounds peanut butter
2 cups light corn syrup
1 pound butter, melted
1 gallon marshmallow cream
3 cups water

Miix together, store in tightly sealed container.