Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Amish Cook

The other day, this book caught my eye at the library and it made it's way home with me. It is an Amish cookbook and a journal written by Elizabeth Coblentz who has penned a weekly column for the Amish newspaper "The Budget" for over forty years.

The Amish lifestyle has long fascinated me because of it's simplicity in the midst of our modern world. Many of the Amish communities have traditions that have not changed for a few hundred years; I would be surprised if any other community in America can say the same, the rest of the world has "grown" with the times.

I feel myself constantly striving to maintain a simple, peaceful atmosphere within my home but the world outside is too often rewarded with my attention, it is a clamoring friend that demands to be noticed. Balance in this area is a struggle to achieve because while I dream of a more idyllic and slow-moving lifestyle, the fact remains that I live in a society that never sleeps, life keeps barreling forward and there is no way to stop it, I can only stop myself.

"The Coblentz farm is my retreat, a place I go to escape the noise of the sometimes rude world we live in. I stand on their porch and savor the pastoral peace of a landscape unbroken by power poles and listen to the cadence of a passing horse's hooves. The peace seems to lend itself to infinity, an unchanging land, frozen in another century. If forever exists, it would be found on an Amish farm, where change is glacial."

"On any other day, I would be tapping my fingers impatiently on the dashboard, waiting for the slow-moving vehicle to get out of my way so I could speed to my destination. Instead, I was forced to take a deep breath and watch the peaceful, pristine Indiana countryside move by like a slow-motion movie. Century-old barns, gently burbling creeks and well-manicured meadows were a reminder there was once another time; a time when things were simpler, were quieter. But it's still there. We just never look."
-Kevin Williams, co-author of the book

I believe that the words "I was forced to take a deep breath and watch" are the key to developing this attitude towards life. Even though this world speeds by, we do not need to barrel along at the same pace, we can veer off to a quiet place that lends itself to watching and noticing and savoring, a place to establish the stillness within our heart.
"...Aspire to lead a quiet life..."
-1 Thessalonians 4:11

Here is a recipe from the book that I am going to try:

Amish Noodles (for soups and casseroles)
3 cups flour
3 eggs
3 tablespoons water
1/8 teaspoon salt

Put the flour into a small bowl and make a well in the center. Drop the eggs, water, and salt into the well. Using your hands, mix the liquid with the flour, starting from the outside of the well, until a stiff dough is formed. Divide the dough in half and set one half aside. Roll the dough as thin as possible, about 1/16 inch thick.

Lightly dust the top of the dough with flour. Roll the dough up into a log. Cut the log into 1/2 inch wide strips. Unroll the strips and lat them on a drying rack or cookie sheet. Follow the same steps for the remaining dough. Let the noodles air dry for 1 hour, turn them over, and let them dry for 1 additional hour. Keep the noodles on the drying rack and let them dry for 1 week. Rearrange the noodles on the drying rack every day to ensure they dry out evenly. Store in an airtight container for up to six months.

Just thinking of those yummy noodles swimming around in a bowl of Chicken Noodle Soup makes my stomach growl. Of course, I will have to wait until autumn brings some cooler weather, but I can dream, right?