The Amish Cook: The apples of Gloria’s eyes

Do you know the feeling of just going through your house, emptying closets, cleaning out drawers, then wondering how you ever ended up with markers in a clothes drawer or a butter knife in the bathroom? Things get mysteriously shuffled at our house. Even putting that aside there’s always a need of sorting through another drawer, getting rid of unneeded items or getting out bigger sizes for our growing children.

Last week we did coats, this week I have baskets full of socks staring at me. The 12 little feet have grown since last spring. And by the way, what happens to stray socks? You’d think there would be a sock- eater around here. One year-old Joshua gets blamed for throwing things in the waste basket (just yesterday I found some of Elijah’s treasures in the trash again), but then I hear that even folks with no youngsters have socks disappearing. Oh well, so goes.

Beside ransacking through the closets and storage, I’ve been going through my kitchen cupboards.

When Owen, my cousin who lives in a cute little camper on our property, came home from a mission trip to Bolivia and described the Bolivian homes and their simplicity. It was then and there that I decided, “This is enough.” I whispered a prayer for wisdom and grabbed a tote. That very night I went through every drawer and cupboard in the kitchen, evaluating every stack of plates, serving bowls, glasses, and placed all the items I have not regularly used in the last months into the tote or the pantry. Who ever uses four teaspoon measures or six scrapers all at once?

Talking about having fun in the kitchen! Do you know what I mean when I say that empty feels clean? That’s exactly how it felt. You should have been here to see my husband’s eyes when I opened the utensil drawer (which had been so full you could hardly open it all the way). His face looked incredulous when he saw the two scrapers and whisks, one spatula, ice pick, and a lone spoon, “What ever did you do with everything?” he asked.

Chuckling I told him of the items I placed in the pantry in case I need them and of the tote which was fast filling up would go to the garage on trial.

Julia and Austin, who are my kitchen helpers, were impressed with the idea. They agree that it is easier to put dishes away with the cupboards less full.

Now this brings me to a heart warming note from Ms. Mary, a reader from Wilkes Barre PA, who inquired whether us Amish folks use electrical appliances and if perhaps she’s doing it the Amish way by using less modern conveniences. Thanks for asking Mary. Yes, you are correct, Amish do live simpler in many or most ways. Like anything else, when comparing the Amish across the globe, they drastically vary.

I personally like using spoons and basic whisks to mix up our Sunday pancakes or our family favorite chocolate cake. In my kitchen, I do not have a hand-held electric beater. I whip up my egg whites with an old fashioned hand beater. I do have a mixer, powered by our inverter and solar system which I use for bread- though I tell my children that I want them to learn to knead it by hand like I did when I was a girl!

While we do not view these modern conveniences as wrong, we opt for a more simple life-style, giving a quieter or more laid back slant to life as a whole. For me one of the primary reasons I value the theory of less technology and social media, is that the more I have going around me, the harder it is for me to be at rest before God and listen to his voice and leading. I cherish the times of quietness in His presence and don’t want anything cluttering my life and putting quiet times in jeopardy.

Anyway, yes I value our Amish heritage, but you certainly don’t need to be Amish to spend eternity in the very presence of God!

An old Amish tradition from Owen’s family is chunky apple sauce. My grandma used to make it, before she passed. Now when Owen tossed out the idea of making chunky apple sauce I asked our neighbor for basic instructions on how she makes hers, which is served hot or cold. After making it the first time few years ago, we were hooked. It is like eating a dessert, but you’re actually eating an apple instead!

Since our apple trees are not mature enough to be producing apples, we’re buying ours this year. Much to the children’s delight, our first two bushels of fresh apples were delivered this week from an orchard in Michigan. The remaining seven bushels (yes, that’s right) will come in a couple weeks from now. Stay tuned for apple updates, and in the meanwhile enjoy our fresh chunky apple sauce!

Chunky applesauce

12 apples*

3/4 cup sugar (or to taste)

1 tablespoon cinnamon

a pinch of salt

Instructions

Peel apples, cut in quarters, and remove cores. Place in a kettle with a pint of water. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As the apples become tender they will fall apart as you stir. When tender remove from heat and add cinnamon and sugar (or any natural sweetener of your choice). Stir and enjoy hot or cold.

Extra sauce may be canned or frozen.

*Any type of apples may be used. Tart ones are delicious, though our children prefer the sweeter types like Golden Delicious.