A Special Amish Thanksgiving Supper

How do Amish celebrate Thanksgiving? As anywhere, that can vary, but Gloria Yoder shares one special experience in her latest Amish Cook column – an annual supper held for widows in her community:

This year Wanita took charge of coordinating the event. The meal consisted of ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and salad, as well as pumpkin, apple and peach pies served with ice cream. I was assigned a simple job of helping with a tossed salad.

All the ladies and girls from our church were invited. As we stepped into the garage where the dinner was being hosted, Julia, Rayni and I were greeted by the warmth of the Lehman’s wood stove, and the bustle of ladies putting finishing touches on the meal.

Stepping over to the attractively decorated table, I greeted the ladies who were gathering for the meal. Everyone wore a smile and was super friendly, yet I knew that each one must have a story, a difficult story that brought about their circumstance of widowhood. Moving on, I helped get things organized for serving. By 5:00 the meal was ready. Wanita made some announcements and led in prayer, asking God’s blessing on the meal and fellowship.

Several of us ladled food into serving bowls while others passed it. After everyone was served, I made my way to one corner of the table where a few of my friends had been seated. I enjoyed the leisurely conversation, gleaning bits of wisdom from those older than myself. Perhaps the key thought to me, was how one lady shared that she feels joy as she goes through her days, even with some extreme difficulties she’s facing.

Supper was followed by singing, Bingo, and an inspirational story. As far as inspiration goes, I always find how Amish remember the weaker members of their communities – the aged, ill, widowed – inspiring.

Photo by Don Burke

Gloria also warmly invites widowed readers to join in 2019:

Tuesday evening as I looked around the circle of friends, both Amish and non-Amish, I wished there was a way to reach any readers who are widows and invite you to our annual Thanksgiving dinner. Really now, if any of you would be interested in participating a year from now and bring a friend with you, please let me know, and I will be in contact the next time around!

Read Gloria’s column in full here, including her recipe for Sweet and Sour Baked Ham.

In previous Thanksgiving posts, Don Burke gave us an outsider’s look at Thanksgiving in one Amish community. Short version: the place was pretty quiet, though two congregations chose to have church service on Thanksgiving Day. See the photos and post here.

More than any other, this holiday is about good food, and one Pinecraft institution – Yoder’s, an Amish-style restaurant in the Florida Plain community – makes thousands of Thanksgiving pies each year.

A Happy Thanksgiving to all Amish America readers. I wish you full dinner plates and time well spent with loved ones.

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    1. Debbie Tatulinski

      Thanksgiving Dinner

      I loved this article. I would like to participate in the 2019 Thanksgiving dinner.

      1. Glad to hear that Debbie, do you know how to contact Gloria? There is a snail-mail contact for her below which I found at this link from a previous column in another paper: http://www.journalreview.com/news/life/article_de900ff4-215e-11e8-b6a6-cf4be89d0837.html

        Gloria Yoder is an Amish house-wife in rural Illinois. She is the third writer of The Amish Cook column since its inception in 1991. Yoder can be reached by writing: The Amish Cook, P.O. Box 157, Middletown, Ohio 45042.

    2. Spreading the Good Will

      What a tremendous idea – a Thanksgiving dinner for widows, both Amish and English. I’m going to mention to my good Amish friends up in Wisconsin the idea of bringing together, mainly older women so they can share the same – sometimes a traumatic phenomenon – situation and get to know how the other half lives. My wife and I know several Amish widows and English widows, and I’d be willing to bet that both groups will think it’s a great idea. My wife will volunteer to help cook and serve while I will be happy to contribute food…and lots of it.

      1. Nice idea, Ken – would love to hear how that goes.

    3. Andy S. Miller

      Thanksgiving dinner

      I think it is a great idea for widow ladies. But, I am also thinking that there are widowed men out there. They might also like a hot cooked meal by someone besides themselves. Just an idea and thought.


      1. Good thought Andy. I second this idea. I am with Amish friends right now and will ask if they have ever heard of something like that. Maybe Gloria’s community does something like that already or would be inspired to.

    4. Jeffrey B Venezia


      I would like to attend a Thanksgiving Dinner or attend at other time to at a Amish Farm