The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures

Clever Cupcakes....

I couldn't resist posting this photo.  No, this isn't the from-scratch simplicity you'll find in Amish kitchens like the pumpkin roll in the post below....but an old friend of mine is always exercising her culinary creativity.  I think she got this confection concoction from a cookbook (but what recipes don't come from one, and just because it's in a book doesn't mean its do-able, It'd take me years to perfect this).  So, these are turkey-shaped cupcakes.  The turkey legs are made from Pringle wheatsticks and caramel.  I think I need to be paying this old friend a visit soon.  Yum!!Smile

Homemade Pumpkin Roll & Happy Thanksgiving!

I've been traveling so much and seeing so much Amish food, I was delighted to be able to procure this photo of an actual homemade pumpkin roll in an Amish kitchen.  This recipe is just like the one Lovina included in her column recently, except this one had pecans added to it.  This recipe is a seasonal favorite of Lovina's and of many Amish.   So if you want something delicious and different for your Thanksgiving table, try this.  Meanwhile - SIGH - one more month left in this year.  Use tomorrow to reflect, give thanks..the way I look at it is that if you're able to breath and you're able to view this screen (or any screen) then you have reason to be thankful.  Good health is so taken for granted sometimes.  Everyone have a blessed Thanksgiving Day! If  you are traveling, buckle up, be alert, and be safe, I want all of you back here in one piece on Friday!


This recipe was a hit in the original Amish Christmas booklet. A pumpkin roll takes a bit of work to make, but the work is worth the sweet reward!

3 eggs

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

2/3 cup pumpkin

3?4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1?2 teaspoon salt

1?2 teaspoon ginger

1?2 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cup pecans (optional)

Confectioners sugar

Whip eggs for 5 minutes. Add sugar, lemon juice and pumpkin. Mix well. Add remaining ingredients except pecans. Grease jelly roll pan. Place waxed paper in jelly roll pan, making sure waxed paper is extended beyond both ends of pan. Pour batter into waxed paper lined jelly roll pan. Cover batter with pecans. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes. When baked, remove from waxed paper immediately and roll in a towel which has been sprinkled with confectioners sugar. Be sure to roll towel and cake together. When cool, unroll and spread with filling.


8 ounces of softened cream cheese

1?2 teaspoon of vanilla

1 cup of confectioners sugar

4 tablespoons margarine

Combine cream cheese, vanilla, confectioners sugar and margarine. Beat until smooth and creamy.

A Short Video About Food and "An Amish Christmas"

One of the neat things about visiting Amish settlements is discovering the various variations of foods and culinary creativity in Amish kitchens.  This is what our cookbook will showcase when it is released in 2012.  To watch a short video about some of the different foods I've found the past few weeks and to see a copy of "An Amish Christmas", click here.

After watching the video, if you decide you'd like a copy of "An Amish Christmas", click here to order.   And if you want to sign up for the Editor's Adventures video series, click here.


Beeville, Texas - Part III

If there is a center of the Amish settlement outside of Beeville, it would be Borntrager's Combination Shop.  As the name implies, the store sells a bit of everything from homemade creams and salves to saddles.  The store is owned and operated by Truman Borntrager, the settlement's bishop, and a carriage-maker by trade.  The store does sell buggies and carriages, but largely for non-Amish customers.  If I were going to visit the settlement, I'd do it on a Friday when Borntrager's sells homemade baked goods and homemade ice cream.  Yum.  Several varieties of cookies, pies, breads, and confections are sold on Fridays.  A limited amount of produce is sold throughout the week, either from Truman's own orchards or from the nearby Rio Grande Valley.

On another note, children in this settlement attend a small school with about 15 Amish scholars attending.  One of Truman's daughters is the teacher. 

The isolation of the community is probably both its biggest selling point and also its largest impediment to growth. For Amish wearyof sky-high land prices and gawking tourists,Beeville offers a refreshing respite.  You won't see any tour buses rumbled down the roads.  And the climate is a refreshing Mediterranean type, on the same latitude as northern African or the Holy Land, so it is almost always pleasant.  A handful of Amish come down during the winter months and stay in one of several guest cabins in the settlement.   But for Amish seeking the companionship of many other Amish there simply isn't much to offer.  One has to be prepared for long bus rides to other settlements to the north, which can be two days away.

The Amish settlement is actually located about 12 miles southeast of Beeville.  A buggy ride to Wal-Mart in town takes about two hours, and most of the Amish won't hire drivers to take them.  Beeville offers the basic amenities and chain-stores of a town with about 10,000 residents, but the larger cities of San Antonio and McAllen are hours away. 

There is a barren beauty to the land, but living there requires a certain hardscrabble self-sufficiency.  I met Amish in this settlement that make their own yogurt, their own cheese, raise their own meat and most of their fruits and veggies are locally grown.  Some neat wildlife can be found in the area including javelinas (a wild pig), coyotes, and a variety of birds.  The above photo is a road-runner which Rachel and I saw sitting on a fencepost.  Of course, we'll have a whole chapter on Beeville in our upcoming "Amish travel cookbook" scheduled for release in 2012.  I collected some really neat recipes from the settlement!

Editor's Adventures video subscribers will receive a "mini-documentary" video in a few days.  There are going to be a couple of "surprise stops" on the video tour, and then one of the next main ones will be a visit to Alymer, Ontario in January. Brrrrr...

Amish in Minnesota

Well, while I was visiting the Old Order Amish in Texas a small Minnesota newspaper launched a three-part series this week about the Amish in their area.  I think the article is pretty well done.  The series explores the Amish settlements around Becker County, Minnesota, which is about an hour east of Fargo, North Dakota. I think the article is pretty well done. Of course, if it had been me writing it I would have asked all sorts of other questionsSmile but I don't think the reporter did a bad job.  So if you want you read the article, click here.  This Amish settlement definitely sounds less conservative and a little more open than the group in Texas, but that is what makes the church so interesting is all of the variations.


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