51 responses to Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • I think a big part of what makes the Amish version of food better is that people often times stereotype all Amish women as being great cooks. This stereotype may cause people to think of all “Amish made food” as being better than it actually is. My experience with Amish baking/cooking has varied. There have been times where it has exceeded my expectations, and others where it is as good as any “englisher’s” cooking. I think it really just depends on who’s doing the cooking!

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

    • Mary Donnellan
      Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 30th, 2013 at 10:33)

      Amish Cooking

      I have had some Amish cooking (or supposedly Amish cooking) that was excellent. I have had some Amish cooking that was mediocre. I have also noticed that when you go to some Amish settlements in Ohio and Indiana, the food is EXACTLY alike. It has to be made at some central location. I can’t believe that Mrs. Yoder makes her chicken, dressing, pies, etc. EXACTLY like Mrs. Miller. Even the cole slaw is exactly like the cole slaw in several places. Once I went to a workshop that boasted Amish food for lunch. Lunch was a turkey lunchmeat sandwich on white bread, chicken noodle soup, and chocolate chip cookies. That was a huge disappointment, and it wasn’t inexpensive. I do like shoofly pie, sugar cream pie, and the sweet peanut butter spread found in some Amish restaurants, and I don’t find it outside Amish places.

      Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • amish cooking

    Claire. I agree with you. There are good and not so good cooks in the English , French, Italian etc. I am sure it follows true to the Amish

  • Amish Cooking

    I think we all know that the reason the Amish baking is ‘generally’ better is because they bake more and have bigger families, more church related gatherings, etc. Practice makes perfect, so all the experience pays off. Real lard used in the crust, and also often times fresh fruit was canned and preserved. To restaurant cooking, I agree that too many times it is ‘branded’ and not truly from scratch.
    I have had some good cooking in the ‘Englishers’ World, too.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Samantha Bobbitt
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 30th, 2013 at 09:32)

    sambobbitt

    I come from a community in Daviess County Indiana. My grandparents and all of my family on my Dad’s side are Amish or Mennonite. I grew up eating special meals made by my Grandma Viola and her daughters. Nothing better in the world and all the memories of eating home made jellies and jams and all the goodies. My favorite growing up was the canned beef and mashed potatoes, noodles and corn…mmmmmm. makes me hungry just thinking about it. Hospitality and love makes it all the more special.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Amish cooking

    Yes, we all cook differently, no matter what area you live in or come from. I’ve noticed the Amish way of cooking, is very similar to the way my mom always cooked — and she was not Amish. Although, I did find out when in Lancaster, PA and in Pinecraft, FL, that the meals were delicious!! I think it is the “simplicity” of recipes and being homemade and fresh that makes Amish cooking stand out. Back when my mom learned how to cook, (1920′s, etc) there was less convenience foods, and everything was either fresh or homemade, and most grocery stores were not the ‘gigantic’ big box stores, that have everything imaginable!

    Also, Amish restaurants or Amish-made is not the only way you can experience “good home-cooked” meals; Down here in the South, we have many “mom/pop” restaurants that have homecooking and are prepared simply and are freshly made, too. We call this “Country” cooking, in some areas. But we all have those fond memories of many a meal, shared with family, that “momma” used to make! (At least I do).
    SharonR

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • At my bnb I bake my own homemade pies with recipes handed down from my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and lastly to me. I have on occasion purchased half moons or pies to serve from a local Amish stand. I can depend on this particular woman’s pies to taste just as good as mine; her crust is perfect, light and flaky. One day I stopped at another Amish home stand and decided to buy some of her pies. YUCK! Her crust was so tough, I can’t imagine what ingredients she used, and it was more goo than berries. Very disappointed and will never buy hers again. So as others have commented, it all depends on the baker! But I will say, when I’ve had store bought pies, they never compare in any way with a fresh baked Amish baked pie!!

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • New York State of Mind
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 30th, 2013 at 10:06)

    When I was visiting friends in Pennsylvania, they took me to an “Amish” restaurant. There wasn’t an Amish item on the menu. The restaurant wasn’t even decorated with Amish items. The food was great, but it wasn’t Amish, which I had a taste for. All I could think of was tourist trap. My friends paid the bill which made me feel a little better, but still it wasn’t what I really had a taste for.

    They do the same thing in some shops in New York State. The name is Amish this or Amish that and there isn’t an Amish item in the store. There are many stores that have Amish items-that tell the truth, but there are some that are really streaching the truth.

    Marilyn

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Greetings,

    I have found since I opened my business and even before hand, almost all stores, (especially chain stores, like grocery stores) and many restaurants use pies that they buy wholesale and are frozen and not baked. They bake them on the premises which allows them to say “fresh baked on the premises” and the like.

    When many of the Amish stores and restaurants make pies they will often use commercially made pie fillings and make their own pie dough for the crust. This is the method I use rather than frozen. I am honest and tell my customers it is a commercially made filling and I make the dough. They are happy and say they are the best tasting pies around. Putting a pie together in this method is definitely fresher and better tasting than the ones that a commercially produced and frozen for later baking.

    I would imagine Erik, is what you found in the Kroger store was one that was frozen and baked on the premises.

    Until recently, Beachy’s in Arthur used the same commercially made fillings as I do now. We have the same food distributors but they have since gone in house and have started making their own fillings both to use in their pies and also canned to sell to their customers.

    Blessings, Alice

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Amish Cooking

    I live in Northeast Missouri close to the Iowa state line, where many Amish communities abound. I’ve eaten Amish made pies and other dishes many times. Claire is 100% correct. It depends on who is doing the cooking. I’ve had some very tasty Amish made foods,and some not so great. As with ‘englishers’, the Amish ladies all have their own individual ways of preparing food.

  • Sometimes

    I have to say that sometimes I can tell the difference and its not a good thing in some cases. I live about 30 minutes away from one of the largest Amish settlements in Ohio and while I love many of the Amish goods I can get, I’ve had some negative experiences with them as well.
    I belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture endeavor)where they brought on an Amish bakery as part of the CSA for extras if you’d like to buy them.
    M’honey loves rhubarb pies so I ordered one from them. It was nothing more than red colored cornstarch.It was totally disgusting. There was not one single piece of rhubarb that we could see or taste and we threw it away. Its sad since I know I can get a good “amish” made pie at a restaurant out there so thats where I go for them if Im not baking one myself.

    Another example of Amish made bakery is the loaves of bread we got thru them. They molded fast which tells me its fresh which is great, but you cant slice it and use it for sandwiches because it crumbles apart too bad. So.. theres good & bad to those two examples.

    The veggies & eggs I get from my CSA & hence the Amish are wonderful. They’re certified organic and we go on farm visits at least once a month and they’re very open & friendly about us coming over any time. I love this about the CSA & our Amish farmers.

    I also love to get cheese from an Amish Co-op in Middlefield,Geauga Co. Ohio. They get most of their milk from Amish farms and make most of their own cheeses on premises. You can watch them during the weekdays thru large windows into the factory. This cheese is much better than another well known cheese company who portrays itself as being Amish but is not.

    Also, the cheese at the Co-op is live food and it goes bad faster than store-bought cheese but to me, that is telling me that it is a real food with life, not a food like substance.

    I have to say that some of the foods they eat regularly, we dont eat at all and I was kind of shocked to find they eat more what I consider “junk foods” since many have a closer tie to the land and farms than some of us, but I guess no matter what your background, its all about choices you make.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Definitely, it is the one cooking, along with the ingredients that they use, that makes the difference — Amish or not Amish! However, when you live near/in an Amish community and KNOW the cooks, and KNOW they are using fresh, home-raised ingredients, Amish cooking is the best!

    This coming Saturday several churches/communities in SW Kansas are doing “Ground-Hog” Suppers fundraisers. No one there is Amish, but the home-raised/processed sausage, sausage gravy, along with homemade biscuits and pie, will bring about some of the best eating for miles!

    Ingredients are what makes it good food — great food!

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Major difference using cookstove

    During the summer when the wood cook stove is not capable of hot oven temps, (a raised fire grate is used for cook top only) my wife uses a gas oven. Like electric, home and commercial ranges all have vents and allow air circulation around food. Most are designed to crack the bottom broiler or storage door when in use for proper circulation. (most don’t know this) We have a double oven commercial Garland for summer cooking, however our only heat source all winter is the Kitchen Queen Amish built cookstove. The oven runs 300 to 350 when home heating, so it’s always ready to go, even before being turned on. The difference with coal or wood fired ovens, is the oven door has the same gasket seal as the firebox. There is no air circulation in a wood or coal fired cookstove. This steams the food as well as bakes it. More difficult to brown the tops of sticky buns or caseroles, but it doesn’t burn things even if higher temperature than wanted is achieved. Browning things are done on the stove top, after baking. You must be aware of keeping your face and body back when opening the oven door due to steam as well. Baking a ham, roasting turkey, chicken or other meats with moisture, you must place towels on the floor in front of oven door, since when opened to baste or check food, the door cools and condensates the moist atmosphere in the oven, and it actually drips off the interior of oven door onto the floor. This isn’t required with ovens that circulate air and are vented. So there is a big difference in summer and winter food. (I’m not looking forward to summer but my body is. I go from 140# all summer to 160 every winter)
    Recipes usually don’t specify brand name ingredients as well. Comparing notes with Amish wives, my wife has found certain brands make a huge difference. Some products are only available in Amish areas so using a replacement just isn’t the same. (Root Beer extract) To perfect her ShooFly, she has experimented with combinations of clear and dark Kero Syrup as well as different molasses of different strengths. (Original, Full Flavor, Mild….. 2 or 3 grades by each company) Same as our canned pickles and chow-chow. It’s all good, but it takes years to find just the right combinations. When she figures it out, like many, she won’t share those secrets. She won’t even tell ME what goes in her ShooFly.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

    • Amish cooking, etc

      Very informative, Mr. Long! WOW…never cooked on a wood stove, before, and seems like a lot to know and learn about them, and I bet there is a difference in meal quality, etc. I have used gas stoves, however, which I like using. Thanks for sharing!
      SharonR

    • wood cooking

      This summer my daughter was up visiting from North Carolina with her husband. They had planned to stay at Mark’s house but that was when the temp was around 108 and Mark doesn’t have air-conditiong. I only have one bedroom at my place and while I’d be willing to share, Fritzi isn’t. Anyway, they decided to get a room at an air-conditioned motel in Kenton. Mark was kind of showing them around. He’d always wanted to visit a bulk food and bakery owned by Mary Slabaugh in the Hardin County area. Well, they asked directions and made it there. They went in the shop and Mark said he knew how Shadrach, Meshach, and Abedneggo must have felt in the “Fiery Furnace.” It was 108 outside and they had the wood fired oven going inside baking pies. Mark said it was like an inferno inside. Didn’t seem to bother Mary and her helpers he said. They were just bustling around like the heat didn’t bother them at all. Mark said he figured it must have been 120 inside. When he got outside, the 108 temp outside felt polar to him. I don’t know how they can stand it.

      Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? No.

    What you’re looking for is a good cook using good ingredients. The Amish are just more likely to be armed with their grandma’s recipe and to be using fresh ingredients. Everyone around here, Amish and English, has access to local fresh fruits and veggies right from the farm, big brown Amish eggs, maple sugar, honey, and cheese. Phyllis at the B&B is not Amish and she makes a breakfast to die for. And our local pie ladies are legendary.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Patty Tolliver
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 30th, 2013 at 12:12)

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

    My mother was from Nebraska and we definitely aren’t Amish. However my grandmother grew up with a German grandmother who was from Pennsylvania. My grandmother encorporated the German, midwest and African American cuisines together and most of the time she cooked from scratch. Even when it was just her and my grandfather. My mother was pretty much the same. Most of the deserts were backed from scratch until my mother’s arthritis took over. Consequently I have a great appreciation for homemade food and try to do the same in my home even though I’m the only one living there. In short I agree with most everyone else that it is probably the repetition,the fact that they make it with love and that they use fresh or canned items instead of going to the box for their dishes that makes their food so memorable.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Mr. Long said it best.

    I heat and cook on an Amish built wood cookstove, Bakers Choice, most of the year. it seems to be a well known fact that food cooked on a wood fire taste much better. When i go visit the MS amish, they all still cook on wood cookstoves, and Yes there is a big difference in their food. Also, for those of you not from the rural areas, home canned and cooked food does not taste like store bought. I have lots of fresh egg customers, who say fresh is best.These same people are the first to buy produce when the garden starts. As the saying goes, “Close to the land, close to God.”

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • I am going to tell you something not want to hear. I LOVE my community but this is the truth! Amish women mostly use shortening (not lard) in their pies. Especially if they are make a lot of them. Many, many, many times they use bulk pie fillings and they love to put canned creaam of mushroom soup in everything!! Lol! I am Beachy Amis h-Mennonite and I have made lots and lots of fry pies and whole pies with both Amish (old and New order) and Mennonite ladies and anyone who is making them in quantity (typically) is going to do it the cheapest way they can

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • LOL…..Kroger does have good pies…..like someone said, they do bake them there, but they do not MAKE them there….I asked….
    They also have a pretty good pizza…..bought one yesterday on sale, a large for $3.49, usually sells for 6 or 7.99…..try it on sale and see if you like it…bought a personal size DIGIORNO last week, for almost that much….and it was horrible…..was all crust……

    I usually only buy Amish bakery items….have eaten in their restaurants, and I really don’t think their food is all that….had a turkey dinner there, the stuffing was horrible…..stove top is much better….even tried their peanut butter pie (my son wanted it) so we share it…I only had one bite…..I can make a much better peanut butter pie than that was….just sayin………. :)

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Amish cooking

    As always, I asked my son, Mark’s, take on Amish cooking. First of all he wanted to comment on Amish restaurants. There are very, very few actual Amish owned restaurants. Most Amish ordnungs would not permit electricity from off the grid and a restaurant would just about have to have that. So, “Amish” restaurants are actually restaurants that serve “Amish” style food. They can be owned by English, former Amish, or more liberal Plain churches. As to Amish cooking it might surprise you. Mark says that Tex/Mex is really popular with the Amish. Taco salads, burritos, tacos, etc. Also, all kinds of casseroles, chicken, ham, etc. A popular dish to fix for large crowds is scalloped potatoes and ham chunks. Mark probably cooks more of what people think of as Amish food than most of the Amish do. My wife learned how to cook from her mother who lived beside us or with us the last twenty or so years of her life. My wife’s mother was, in turn, raised by her grandmother. So the foods Mark ate when he was growing up were the country foods of the 1800′s, literally. I never liked casseroles, myself so I certainly never encouraged Charline to fix them. If you were to come to supper at Mark’s house he might fix you boiled beef and potatoes; boiled ham with fresh green beans and potatoes; chicken and noodles; etc. One of the meals I really miss now that Charline is gone were her breaded pork chops. Pork chops drudged in egg and cracker crumbs. Then, fried in lard. Heart attack on a plate but they surely tasted good. After Charline got sick and was paralyzed from cancer she told us she would like breaded pork chops one more time. Mark went to the store and got the chops and lard and tried to fry them up the way his mom always had. He didn’t do too bad considering it was his first time.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • New York State of Mind
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 30th, 2013 at 15:40)

    I was at an Amish house and bought a glass jar of canned beets that was for sale among other things. When I got a good look at the jar at home, I wasn’t sure if it looked right on the inside or not. I don’t can, so I don’t know. A Mennonite friend called me a couple of days later and I got the jar (still sealed) out of the refrigerator and told her what it looked like. She said to throw it out and don’t open it. If I did open it, it could send those beets all over the kitchen and the jar could break. It was what she called a bad canning and just toss it-which I did. So I guess there are good cooks amd bad cooks in Amish, Mennonite or English.

    Marilyn

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Lard is the traditional ingredient Amish used for pie crust. My Mom who grew up Amish made the absolute best fruit pies with thinly rolled out crusts and NEVER,EVER store-bought filling. No one would ever have any trouble distinquishing from a store bakery. My Mom also went through 3 lbs of home-made butter every week for cooking. Yes there is a difference!

  • I would agree on two of the ingredients that improve the taste: wood cookstoves and lard. Sadly, I no longer have the first ( we now use gas) and can’t eat much of the second….

    Erik, since you’re two hours from the nearest Amish community, next time you’re in the mood, take a ride up to South Boston to the Windmill Bake Shop. It’s Mennonite, but there are Amish working there, and the baked goods are pretty good. It’s a good thing I don’t live too close myself, or I’d weigh 300 lbs….

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • When you visit Lancaster County, a must stop at location is Bird in Hand Bake Shop. Down home honest Amish cooked Pies and such. Love going there :)

  • I’ve never had the pleasure of eating Amish food. But I know that any food made with love tastes better.

  • Just counted...lot of states on this thread

    Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi, Kansas, Nebraska, Virginia…it seems people are eating all across the nation :)

  • www.facebook.com/authorsherrygore on Jan. 8 asked a similar question, “What is it about Amish cooking that makes it special/different to you?” From the 70 answers, here are a few, some of which are about same as some comments above: cooking from scratch, it’s comfort food, made with love, down home country cooking, fresh homemade, like Mom’s cooking and Grandma’s, garden to table, has no aftertaste, “melted to the point of browning” real butter, simple ingredients, no additives, and lots of butter and cream.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Runion

    Mark told me that one of the secrets to Amish fried or baked chicken is something called Runion. I’ve never seen it but it some kind of seasoning mix that the chicken is fixed with. Mark said it is mixed with flour, etc, to make the coating for the chicken before it is fried or baked. Anybody else know about Runion? Mark says he gets it at the local bulk food store.

    • Runion chicken is the best. I’m from Canada and have been making it for years. You can buy it at Walnut creek cheese, in Ohio. I used to have it shipped to us, but when I’m there I aways stock up. Its a mixture of flour and spices (i think it comes from Tennessee). I love to make Runion chicken wraps, my recipe is submitted on the walnut creek cheese site. Try a bag, you won’t be disappointed. I do alot of Amish cooking, (must have over 50 cookbooks) and there is a differance in taste, from everyday “english” food. I know most dishes are richer and hearty, so we don’t have them as often. My mothers’ pie crust recipes is an old farmers recipe that call for lard, and its the flakey crust, ever. I visit Ohio, Indiana and Ontario amish areas, and I do find the cooking to be similar. I think with Ohio and Indiana, the Essenhaus and Dutch valley are the same owners, so the food is always consistant. Mrs. Yoders Kitchen is my favorite place to eat. Worth the wait, everytime. Thanks, mb Windsor Ontario, Canada

      Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

    • I, too, have a bag of Runion Mix for breading. It has flour, corn flake crumbs, baking powder, spices, and more.

      When I visit a Chinese Restaurant, I usually cannot find mashed potatoes. Are mashed potatoes Amish or German or American or Pennsylvania Dutch?

      It may be better to eat food with ingredients you can pronounce!

      Sugar is used rather heavily in Amish food. Some pecan pie is too sweet. Of course, sugar is in desserts, but also in Potato Salad, Macaroni Salad, Cole slaw, deviled eggs, peas, creamed corn, Harvard Beets, sweet and sour dressing, bread and butter pickles, and on top of grapefruit. At least real sugar is not artificial. One idea is, to make food taste good, just add sugar! Isn’t that sweet!

      Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • If it’s made from scratch, it will always be better, Amish or not.
    I’ve never eaten a pie from a store yet that came close to a homemade one, taste-wise.

  • Slightly-handled-Order-man
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 31st, 2013 at 22:08)

    Homemade is always better than store bought. I’ve replied a great deal about perogies, and I remember that the homemade potato filling was a doughy but wonderful treat, especially when there where more of them than the number of casings.
    I can vaguely remember my father and his elderly mother making them when I was a kid, and later I think my father and I where in happy awe when we went to a Polish church basement to buy some homemade ones when we saw the little production line of older Polish women making them, probably snacking on the odd one if I recall.

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Slightly-handled-Order-man
    Comment on Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”? (January 31st, 2013 at 22:11)

    moderation

    [sorry, i forgot to click the "not a spammer" option, and now I got a message on the site that read "Your comment is awaiting moderation", I wasn't thinking straight, I was thinking perogies and grandma.]

  • I agree – lard. Sold in giant blobs in every grocery and Amish store around here.

    Also, my Swartzentruber fry pie neighbor down the road – she uses both purchased bulk pie filling (again, available everywhere the Amish shop here) and her own preserves or filling. My absolute favorite filling is the lemon and that is from bulk, and I don’t care, lol! In fact, I could skip a couple of miles down the road and buy a large plastic sack of the same lemon filling right now and just eat it straight, but I’ll let her add the tasty glazed pocket! :)

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

  • Another secret is that a really good meal often, usually, is worked on for hours. Lovingly stirring, peeling, scrubbing, chopping, cooking, and baking to make so that everything turns out right, and ready at the same time. I was raised conservative (Beachy Amish) Mennonite, and I love love love to cook and bake. It is therapy to me, and I put a lot of love into my made from scratch food for my family.and friends. I get told often how much people like my foods, but they aren’t extraordinary. I think it’s just that they are made with love, care, and forethought….

    Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

Leave a reply to Can you really taste the difference in “Amish cooking”?

 

amish