People travel to the Amish country for many reasons, among them the slower tempo, but the greatest motivation is to savor their amazing baked goods. Known for their adherence to simplicity, in this wonderful book the Amish kitchen is revealed to be rich and lavish with home baked treats. Working from scratch with fresh, basic ingredients, Amish baked goods prove that less really is more when loving hands create both sweet and savory breads, rolls, pastries, cookies, cakes and brownies. These are staple fare in every home across American, and in the hands of an Amish baker the ordinary rises to be extraordinary.
Kevin Williams tells us in the introduction that, "An Amish kitchen is packed with plenty of heavy-duty pots, pans, and hand-operated utensils. The kitchen is wide and open to accommodate family members gathering, lunch-pail packing, and plenty of baking." Adhering to old ways, the Amish retain the true sensuality of cooking, the pleasures of touch and taste. In The Amish Cook's Baking Book, Lovina Eicher and Kevin Williams welcome the reader into that kitchen, complete with comments from children, notes about each pie, cake or biscuit, brief histories of the experience of Amish life. These are gleaned from the hands-on experience of creating life's most nourishing and basic foods.
The book is divided into six main chapters: Pies, the signature dish of the Amish; Breads, Rolls, and Pastries, the Amish symbol of self-sustainability; Cookies, the great kitchen magnet that brings children to help and bond with the parent; Cakes, the Amish expression of love and celebration; Bars and Brownies, the portable staple of the Amish child's lunch bucket; and finally Special Occasions which covers all aspects of life, from weddings to funerals where a sweet taste is most welcome. There are tips and a table for substitutions. The Amish are adept at using what is at hand.
The Amish live in several areas of the mid-west, each with its own preferences in cooking, but the recipes are all classically Amish. There are Snicker Doodles, Vinegar Pie, with its roots in the Great Depression, Amish Doughnuts, Soft Pretzels, Elephant Ears, Funnel Cakes and the famous Shoo-Fly Pie, to name but a few.
There are recipes to take you through the day. Start with a Honey Nut Swirl Coffeecake, Blueberry Swirl Coffeecake, or Cherry Coffeecake. Make sandwiches from Homemade Bread and snack on Soft Pretzels or Long John Rolls, a doughnut-like confection often passed around at quilting bees. Fill your child's lunch pails as the Amish do with Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Brownies, Rhubarb Squares, Lemon Squares, 10-Minute Cookie Bars, Pecan Brownies or Honey Bars. Celebrate with a cake such as Amish Angel Food Cake, Applesauce Cake, Hot Milk Sponge Cake, Pumpkin Sheet Cake, Plum Cake, Pear Cake or Peach Upside-Down Cake. Have cookies to snack on -home made cookies, instead of store-bought chips. Make Double-Treat Cookies, Honey Spice Cookies, Maple Drop Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Spritz Cookies or Thimble Cookies.
The recipes, which have satisfied generations of Amish family members, are written with simplicity, and have no unavailable or exotic ingredients. These are practical recipes as well as luscious recipes. There are lavish color photographs throughout by Betsy Dellaposta. The photos reflect Amish life, the preparation of food, and the glorious results of being in the kitchen with love, patience and simplicity.