I was not a Christian at that time, but still even as a young woman I loved homemaking and old fashioned ways. Most woman I knew growing up all either worked outside the home, or desired to and were not interested at all in being at home with their children full time. I can remember felling quite odd that I did, and when other woman would ask what I did? as in where did I work, I responded with "I am a full time homemaker". Often they became uninterested and walked away or simply shrugged and then said, "So, what else do you do", inferring that there was something lacking or not 'full-ime really' in being a homemaker..sigh.
So I can't even begin to say what it meant to me to know there were still woman in this modern world that lived such simple lives. They inspired me then and even now influence a lot of my ways.
That initial interest spread to all Plain People - Mennonite, Shaker, Quaker, Old Order Brethren, Hutterite etc etc. although the Amish & Old Order Mennonite/ Mennonite remain my main interest still. Now I have quite the library of fiction and non-fiction books about their lives. So far as I know, there are no Amish or Mennonite people living in New Zealand.
Often people will ask me "What is it that interests you about them? " .To be honest, I can't give a simple answer, other than that they seem to give me a feeling of peace.
I know I deeply respect their values, their simplicity of lifestyle, their hard work and humble faith in God. I admire the way their lives are lived in submission to God, loving and serving their families and church community.
The Amish have a sort of code of conduct (the Ordung(, which they adhere to, which I'm not sure is necessarily written down, but it seems to dictate along with their bishop what they can and can't do/wear etc. These guidelines/rules are there to protect their identity or 'Amish-ness', the family unit and to live lives avoiding opportunities for pride to develop. Humility appears to be valued and sought above all else.
When it comes to theology, there are things I don't agree about, but that is by and by for as far as I'm concerned, as I see so many things in their lives that are of great value and seem to work for them. In comparison there is a great lack of values and morals in our world today and in comparison, I believe the Amish are richer for there 'rules'. (Just my thoughts). They somehow are able to still remain uniquely 'themselves' amongst all the insanity in this world today,and be in the world (as many of them have jobs amongst the 'english', but yet they are not off it... and that in itself is deeply inspiring (and worthy).
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Just recently I finished reading one of my Amish books. It was a Novella 'An Amish Second Christmas' The last story in the book was about a mothers prize winning, secret recipe, which she hands down to her daughter. The recipe is 'Vanilla Crumb Pie' .The story made the pie sound so delicious I checked to see if they had included the recipe at the end of the book (as they often do), and they had ! So once I finished the story I decided to make it, and it was very good. I doubled the recipe and made two pies and invited family around to share it. Everyone loved it !
This pie was even nicer after it had been chilled overnight. The filling was set more and the crumb topping just a little bit softer. Recipe below is for one pie.
Vanilla Crumb Pie
1 x Pie crust
3/4 Cup light brown sugar
2 Tablespoons Flour
1/2 Cup light corn syrup
1 t cream of tartar
Pinh of salt
3 teaspoons Vanilla
2 eggs beaten
1 1/4 Cups Water
3/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon Cream of Tartar
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
Pinch of salt
90 grams of butter (3/4 stick)
1. Preheat oven to 350 C degrees. Lay the pastry in the pie dish and flute the edges.
2. In a large saucepan combine brown sugar, flour, corn syrup, cream of tartar, salt, vanilla and eggs. Slowly stir in water and cook over medium heat, stirring until mixture boils and rises. (I stirred it until it was thickened too.)Remove from heat.
3. In a medium bowl, mix crumb topping ingredients until crumbly. Pour cooled brown sugar mixture into the crust to 3/4 fill the dish There may be some mixture left over.
Note: Their was for me, so if their is any extra pastry a mini pie could be made too.
4. Sprinkle the crumb topping evenly over the top.
5. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and set.
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