I had planned to visit Elizabeth on Tuesday, August 8, but my car broke down. It was just another reminder of how very different my world is from the one Elizabeth inhabits. I suppose horse-drawn buggies break-down, but somehow I doubt the experience is the same. I think I would rather have my buggy break than to stand on the side of a fume-filled freeway waiting for a tow-truck that's an hour late. I'm always reminded of the very different worlds the Coblentz's and I come from. My visits to their peaceful farmstead is a bridge between our two existences.

Once, I tried to cross high water on my way to Elizabeth's - not one of my brighter driving decisions. My car stalled in the door deep torrent, and I thought it would be a long-time before I was rescued. I had visions of me standing on my car's roof, surrounded by rising water. True to the Amish spirit, though, I didn't have to wait long before an Amish man whom I did not know showed up with his horse drawn buggy and a strong chain and pulled me out. I said a profuse thank you, offered to pay him, but he just uttered a quiet "you're welcome", before his buggy disappeared into the surrounding maze of gravel roads that criss-cross the Indiana Amish country.

I was visiting Elizabeth to collect her latest revisions for her next cookbook scheduled for release in the summer of 2001. I think anyone who is a regular reader of Elizabeth's column will love this next cookbook, it will truly be a treasure of warmth, recipes, and home-spun simplicity. I was also a bit concerned about Jacob Schwartz, Elizabeth's son-in-law. He's my age, 27. As regular readers of Elizabeth's weekly newspaper column know, Jacob passed out last weekend while working in his barn. Passing out is unusual for a healthy 27-year-old. But like so many medical mysteries among the Amish, this incident has no easy answer. The Amish herb doctor whom the community relies on said he has a problem with a heart valve. The non-Amish medical doctor who I hooked the family up with says it was "fly spray" that Jacob had been using that day in the barn. Too many fumes caused him to collapse.

I've been concerned about the medical treatment Amish people receive from non-Amish medical doctors. I'm not thinking that there is anything deliberately nefarious and that doctors are giving the Amish intentionally bad advice, but I do think better bridges need to be build between the Amish and the medical community. The Amish are often suspicious of doctors. There needs to be better communication between the two very different worlds. 

Anyway, Jacob appears to be recovering from his mysterious collapse and Elizabeth was in solid spirits after a weekend at her daughter Lovina's. I would like to welcome five new newspapers to The Amish Cook family. They are: The New Jersey Herald (Newton, New Jersey); The Press-Enterprise (Bloomsburg, Pa); The Country Register (Bloomington, Indiana) and Times-Union (Warsaw, Indiana) and (drum roll please), the mighty News-Tribune in Tacoma, Washington. The Tacoma paper becomes the second largest in the country to carry The Amish Cook and our only outlet for the feature in the Pacific Northwest. They'll be running the column on Wednesdays. If you wish to see The Amish Cook regularly in your local paper, please contact your editor.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth has answered some new reader questions. Go to the ASK ELIZABETH section for those questions and answers.

Until next time,

Kevin Williams
Oasis Newsfeatures Editor


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