Article Number Three

As the author of the Amish/Mennonite fiction series THE LOVES OF SNYDER COUNTY, I’m fascinated by the lifestyles of the Amish and Mennonites in central Pennsylvania. I have several friends who are Mennonites, some who claim to be “Mid-Atlantic” and others who say they are “Anabaptists.” All these friends are what we English would call progressive or modern Mennonites because they drive cars (all dark colors-mostly black), they have electricity in their homes, and most have cell phones. But all have similar lifestyles and orders of worship. Their dress is traditional with the “kapp” on the women’s drawn-back hair in buns (some kapps are black, others white) and the capes on their dresses, but the dresses can be multi-colored pastels including flowered prints.

Of course, we’re not talking about Old Order Amish or Old Order Mennonite here at all. Old Order folks are the horse and buggy folks, the Plain Folk who have no electricity, cars, or phones. These Ordnungs usually dress in dark clothes, and the men and women often have long sleeves even in the heat of the summer.  The men wear straw hats or black hats with large brims while the women often wear dark colored bonnets over their white kapps when they are outside. The Amish sects like this and the new order Mennonites parted company a long, long time ago and probably will never meet on common ground again.

But back to my Mennonite friends. Recently I visited Brenda and Grace, Mid-Atlantic Mennonite ladies who invited another English gal and me to lunch. My friend and I thought we’d be having a sandwich or a small salad topped off with cottage cheese, but the Mennonite gals surprised us with home-made pot pie with tender shredded pork, corn on the cob, apple sauce, three kinds of canned pickles, and spiced zucchini slices that tasted that spiced apple rings. For dessert, Brenda opened a jar of canned peaches, topped off with that cottage cheese we were expecting on a salad. The meal and fellowship were heavenly, to put it mildly.

Mennonites are known for their hospitality and home cooking. Believe me, my friend and I were given the red carpet treatment by two of these gentle, soft-spoken folks. The pot pie was some of the most delicious I’ve ever had, and it’s a luncheon engagement that I’ll remember for a long time.

Mennonite Pot Pie Recipe
Boil chicken, beef, or pork until soft.
Make pot pie noodles by adding one egg to 1½ c. flour and ½ tspn. and mix.
Add approximately ¼ c. water and mix; then form dough into ball.
Roll out with rolling pin, let dough dry for an hour or so.
Slice rolled-out dough into one-inch squares.
Remove boiled meat from large pot full of meat broth.
Cube three raw potatoes.
Add individual pieces of dough to boiling broth with cubed potatoes and keep stirring between the adding of the noodles.
Simmer for about 30 minutes then add meat back into broth and noodles.
Stir every few minutes to prevent noodles from sticking together.
Serve piping hot and enjoy.

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