The Amish Cook from Oasis Newsfeatures


Okay, this is a little off topic (well, maybe not so much todaySmile), but I became aware of a website today that sort of has me amazed.  Now, I am the king of apology writing: "I'm sorry you didn't get your cookbook on time..."...."I'm sorry I offended you with this opinion....".....I'm sorry there was an error in the recipe for cheese biscuits."   I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry....Tired of saying it or want help in saying it? There is actually a website to help you apologize!   I found out about this website because one of our readers had a link to  the site on their Amish Cook profile page and at first I thought it was a joke.  But when I read their site and the thoughtful way it was written, I realized they were serious.  Check it out here!   Sheesh, would any of you pay $24.50 to have an apology letter written for you?  On one hand, the site says that often the missing ingredient in an apology is something that really conveys "I'm sincere, I mean it."   On the other hand, if you're paying someone to write an apology, isn't that sort of dodging the sincerity aspect of it?  I'm truly not endorsing, nor criticizing the of their site seem rather compelling....I just thought I would put it up for discussion....what do you think about this?

Not So Simple.....

So, anyone who has a copy  of "The Amish Cook's Everything But The Kitchen Sink Book", did you read my book excerpt in there? If so, what did you think?

"Not So Simple" is my "memoir."  "Memoir" sounds a little pretentious, but, all the word really means is "my story" and that is what it is.  "Not So Simple" - a phrase I find myself uttering a lot these days -  describes my past 20 years of work with the "plain people" and the story behind the Amish Cook column (and there is one).  I've told Lovina that if I could just get the memoir published it would serve as a sort of "career capstone" for me and sort of give this whole long journey some real meaning.  The book is about 1 /3 complete but I do not have a publisher for it yet and I'd rather not go the self-published route.  So we'll see.

Speaking of "not so simple", this website is sort of a reflection of me: my tastes, personality, etc. I think ANY website absorbs the personality and quirks of its owner to some degree.  Last night I made a post about the Amish visiting the Holy Land.  In the post, I was critical of the writer who left out what I thought was some really key information.  This morning, however, I had a regular reader, a nice lady, email me:

I'm finding it difficult to read some of your posts because there is frequently a reference made to the quality of another person's writing.  Maybe this is the journalist in you but critical statements that can even be interpreted as sarcastic are quite off-putting and don't seem in line with the overall theme and tone of your website.  Other journalists who are contributing articles to other sources probably don't have as an intense interest and involvement in the Amish as you do ad it seems unfair and side handed to so often criticize the quality of another person's writing.  It also quietly elevates you to a position you might not be comfortable with as being the expert and the standard for journalism.  

What do others think of the above comments?  AM I too critical?  See, in my mind, I can think of dozens and dozens of news articles where I've said "here is a superb article by.." or "read this excellent piece."  So, yea, sometimes I am critical if I think a piece merits it, but I also think I am a positive and peppy cheerleader for articles when they merit it. 

Sooo, I'd like some input on "Not So Simple" and my "editorializing" on the site.  I had another reader pounce on me because she felt I was frequently bashing Berne, Indiana.  I told the woman that I don't think I have ever bashed Berne.  I simply have said that " for a variety of reasons Berne is not my favorite settlement."  Simply an opinion...I like strawberry ice cream better than chocolate, but I don't think that means I am bashing chocolate.  SIGH....not so simple, is it?

Amish in the Holy Land, But Why? (Among other questions)

An interesting Amish-related article ran in the Jerusalem Post yesterday, but, wow, it is not a very good one.  The piece really leaves a gazillion unanswered questions.  The article is about a delegation of Amish that visited the Holy Land recently to express support for Israel and seek forgiveness from the Jewish people.  But the article doesn't say how many Amish, where the Amish were from, how long they stayed, and even what they were seeking forgiveness for.  Journalism 101. Sheesh.  And there is a reference to "Amish from Switzerland"....there are no Old Order Amish in Switzerland, so were there also some Mennonites from Switzerland in on the trip?   My quibble isn't with the trip the Amish took, it's with the poor article.  I think it could have been a fascinating piece.  If the Amish were expressing forgiveness for their silence during World War II, for not speaking out against the Holocaust....then...well, that is touching and poignant...but I think MANY groups were complicit in their silence and the Amish are typically an apolitical people so them not speaking out doesn't seem unusual. So either I'm missing something or it was just a potentially great article that turned into a flop.  Click here to read and let me know your thoughts! I will say that many people were suspicious of the Amish during World War II because of their German language and reclusive nature. Of course, they are pacifists and generally apolitical so they didn't support Hitler in the least.....

Wow, Tacky Buggy!

Wow, I am not often left speechless, but this buggy does leave me at a loss for words. I've seen buggies with bling before, I've seen buggies dressed up with lots of reflectors, and even some with a bumper sticker on....but they've been - as Paul Harvey used to call them - "bumper snickers."  Maybe something that says "Gone Fishin'" or something.  But this buggy spotted in a rural area west of Berne, Indiana is just bizarre.  Alcohol does seem to be a bit of a problem in the Adams County, Indiana Amish settlement, I've observed this tendency first-hand, so this sticker could just be another symptom of that.  But for a buggy to blatantly advertise the owner's love of brewski is just unheard of....The Amish generally dress alike, drive the same color buggies, etc so they wont' stand out from one another, while still remaining separate from the world.  This bumper sticker seems to be thumbing its nose at the usual standards.  For those who have trouble enlarging the image, the yellow "plate" on the right buggy says "Beer Drinkers Make Better Lovers."  The buggy could belong to a young person who's just rebelling a bit.  That might be the most plausible explanation.

This photo was taken by Dave Shaner, who offered a couple of other observations about where the photo was taken:

It's an old brick school house that was converted into a house. Not too many other Amish places near this one and made me wonder if this was some kind of outcast person living there. That's just my thinking. The location  would be west of the city of Berne approximately 4 miles or so  

Thanks to Dave for the intriguing photo. If anyone in the Berne area is familiar with this buggy and can offer any additional insight, email me at  

A Neat Birthing Alternative In Wisconsin

We've discussed on this website numerous times about how the Old Order Amish and Mennonites prefer to give birth in a home setting instead of a hospital.  But with many Amish not having ready access to telephones to summon help in the event of a medical emergency, sometimes coming up with a "compromise" between home and hospital works well.  "Birthing centers" outside of hospitals have been successfully established in some larger Amish communities in Ohio, Indiana and Pennsylvania, but I've not heard of anything like what exists in southwest Wisconsin's rapidly expanding Amish population.   Outside of Lancaster (NOT Pennsylvania), Wisconsin in the middle of pastoral, bucolic fields an old farmhouse serves as a birthing center for the Amish.  There's plenty of parking for buggies and horses and the outside of the center looks like it could pass for any Amish home.  This provides about as close to a home-setting as possible, while still being staffed by medical professionals.  It's a neat here to read,   As an aside, if you do read the article, what the heck is the reference to New Mexico for?  Did that strike anyone else as out of place?  Perhaps this reporter was using material that had been prior published in New Mexico?  It's not a major issue, but it just struck me as out of place, I couldn't find any other references in the article to New Mexico?  The article would also have benefitted from a bit more information about what is in the farmhouse: electricity?  What type of medical equipment - if any - is on site?  Kind of some sloppy reporting here..

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