Music Village Brain Drain

Thoughts, articles, links following last week’s Ohio visit:

My new favorite soup?  Cheeseburger.  To the extent that you can call it soup. So thick it’s really a stew.  Or let’s cut to the chase, this is basically a liquefied cheeseburger.  Had a rib-sticking bowl last week at my Amish hosts’ table.  By the way, is this an “Amish soup”?  What makes something an “Amish soup” for that matter?  Perhaps its fat content? 🙂

Ohio Amish Library  Finally visited this place after hearing of it for some time.  The book and document collection is located in the bottom of a nondescript building just outside Berlin.  It’s not a huge place, but one I could spend no small amount of time in, I suspect.  It made me realize, again, how short our time is compared to how much there is to be read.

Crossing the Border Following some discussion on border transit requirements for Plain People, Linda directs me to this information from the Amtrak website, under “Documents required to cross the US-Canadian border”:

Amish and Mennonite Old Order only:
– copy of birth certificate, and
– signed copy of IRS form 4029, application for exemption from Social Security and Medicare taxes and waiver of benefits.

Are Amish and Mennonites crossing the US-Mexican border treated in the same way?

Trains  Speaking of Amtrak, or rather “Amishtrak“, I spent a day with an old-timer last weekend in Ohio who described how trains were a part of travel at one time in Holmes County.  Belle Center, I learned, once had a station too, though that may have been pre-Amish.  Trains are generally handy for Amish to have around.  But Amish in Montana maybe don’t think so.

Amish TV  One unofficial report has it that Breaking Amish has a new season in the works, with some filming slated for Sarasota.  Amish Mafia apparently makes its next appearance in March.  Ira Wagler gives a thoughtful take on the latter program.

Beard-cutting appeals  So far 10 convicted in the beard cutting trial have filed appeals.

Voice recording  A reader writes with a question: “have you heard that the reason that Old Order Amish people will refuse to be recorded in an interview is because they think of a recording as a ‘photograph of the voice’?”

For what it’s worth, my experience has been that voice recording is not much of an issue.  This was the case with the several dozen Amish business owners interviewed for my first book, at least.  I don’t recall that anyone refused.  The implicit understanding was that these interviews were not to be played publicly, however (though I don’t know how many would have really cared if they were).

Also the people I interviewed were mostly of “mainline” groups and not of the highly conservative churches.  I can think of a number of productions featuring recorded Amish voices, such as the PBS Amish film, or Burton Buller’s documentaries.  Though I could hear objections from more traditional Amish in particular.

Bonnets will travel Notice in a recent Ohio Gemeinde Register: “Check your bonnets. The one I have is marked E.W.Y. Call 330…”.  Below this you find a similar notice for a “thick, black  denim coat” leaft behind at church. Even with initials, how often do clothes items go home with the wrong owner?

Music Village USA  Taken in the lesser-traveled western half of Holmes County. Population 197:

Nashville Ohio

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    1. Linda

      Pinecraft Park

      Thanks for the information, Erik, about more filming of Breaking Amish in Sarasota. They were at the Pinecraft Park, according to

    2. Margaret

      Be careful of what you're eating

      I don’t know what Amish feeling on eating horse is but everyone needs to wake up to what is happening in Europe. Over 100,000 American horses (and this includes the horses the Amish use)are regularly sent to slaughter via Canada or Mexico.

      Pay attention to what is happening cause I believe it won’t be long before we’re told that our food chain is equally if not more so contaminated with horse.

      I understand the Amish see horses differently than most Americans. But unless your slaughtering your own horses and or cows your not going to know if you’ve been contaminated. Most people regularly give Bute which is also called horse aspirin–a drug that clearly states on the label that it is not intended for food source animals. Worming medications, fly sprays are among others that make horse unfit for slaughter.

      1. I’d bet I’ve eaten horse a few times when in Poland, in one form or another. There is a type of small sausage that was long traditionally made from horse, though I understand it is now more often made from different meat.

      2. OldKat

        They eat them by choice

        It is not like the Europeans are being deceived or mislead in what is in their food supply when they eat horse meat. They do it by choice. Especially the French. They have sales for horses going to slaughter, just like we do for beef (and older dairy) cows going to slaughter.

        Horse meat is considered perfectly acceptable over there. Never has caught on over here & I am glad of that. However, it would be perfectly legal to sell horse meat in the U.S. if it were labeled as such. It is NOT legal to sell it and attempt to pass it off as beef or anything other than what it is.

        The reason that you don’t see it in meat markets here is not because it is illegal to sell, it is because people here have an aversion to eating it & that includes me. So to state that their food supply is being “contaminated” with horse meat is not entirely accurate. They know they are eating horse & they are okay with it. To each his own …

    3. Alice Mary

      "Just read!"

      That’s my motto, above. I adopted it since I’ve worked in libraries for over 25 years and have grown weary of the way we have to “bribe” (my opinion) people to read, and not JUST kids, with Summer Reading clubs, Winter Reading clubs, contests, all luring into the library with prizes of all sorts (and not just cheap chotchkes—our Grand Prize for our children’s winter reading club was an overnight stay for a family of 6 to an indoor water park a few towns over!)

      That said, YES, Erik, “So many books (or other reading material), so little time!”

      I would love to see photos (inside and out) of the Ohio Amish Library (it sounds like a place I’d like to retire to, and volunteer there, too). What types of reading materials and documents do they have? How is it arranged? Do they maintain some sort of catalog? It sounds like a place close to my heart! (Can you tell?)

      Interesting post. And Margaret, I’ve known about the “horsemeat” issue for years, and agree we don’t know WHAT we’re eating if it’s imported from countries with dubious food-processing practices. The “chemicals” we use on and in and around animals should certainly be of concern to anyone who EATS in this country (unless, as you say, you grow & fully process all of your own food—highly improbable).

      Alice Mary

      1. Inside the Ohio Amish library

        I wished later I had gotten some Alice Mary…was towards the end of our outing and I was a little out of it I guess. You wouldn’t think the building contained a library if you didn’t know. When you enter you see a rectangular room, maybe 40 x 15 feet, with a number of rows of shelves with books arranged both by Amish and Anabaptist topics as well as books in categories you’d see in any other library. There was a back room with boxes full of very old records of Budget newspapers. There were quite a few very old books with crumbling covers, Ausbunds and other important tomes. The place was fitted out with the kind of gas lamps you see in Amish homes. Apparently the ceiling is fireproofed in case of fire in the room above.

    4. Lattice

      I’m glad Ira addressed that. I find myself nodding my head a lot when I (on occasion) read his blog.
      And I agree with you Erik… There is so much that I hope to have time enough to read.


      As an aside to the photo above, it is just north of this little village where the largest drive-through Christmas Lights show happens each year. And if you think the Amish don’t care for yards a decorated up at Christime, think again! We went out there from Mt. Hope two nights in a row with our Tahoe loaded to the gills with our OOA friends. While we were out there we saw several open-top buggies filled with families taken in the sites of the neighborhood. It was quite amazing how much they enjoyed going out “to look at the lights”!

    6. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Major’s Maggot, Jeff Martin and Ms Yoder

      What are the chances the Y in E.W.Y is for “Yoder”?

      Inspired by the straw sun hats post I am listening to a CD (yes) of music put out by a music re-enactment group out of either Old Forts George or Erie performing music dating as far back as 1651. Some of the battle story songs of English history wouldn’t be acceptable to the Amish, but the instrumentals are quite beautiful. There is one that reminds me, this is a 1990s Canadian rock alternative reference, of The Tea Party’s [with Jeff Martin, Lead singing, the comment title’s reference] “The Badger” a very cool sounding instrumental I’ve always liked.

      1. Yoder or Yutzy?

        Pretty good chances Shom, but could also be a Yutzy in that community. Now you’ve got me thinking if there are any other common Amish names I’m missing that start with “Y” (not just in Ohio). None come to mind…

    7. Karen Pollard

      Cheeseburger Soup

      WHAT???? No recipe for the cheeseburger soup??? Not fair to tempt our taste buds and then not share the recipe!!!

      1. I was too busy enjoying it to secure the instructions Karen 🙂 I know, a real short-sighted way to eat my soup. Plus I wouldn’t have whatever magic Amish ingredients they put in but don’t tell you about to make it taste that good (surely there are some of those, right?)

    8. Karen Pollard

      Cheeseburger Soup

      Okay, I’ve rescued you. I found this recipe online in several places, and it sounds good. In fact, I’ve printed it out to make it tomorrow night for our supper.

      1- 1/2 cups milk
      3/4 cup shredded carrots
      3/4 cup chopped onion
      1/2 lb. ground beef
      3 cups chicken broth
      4 Tablespoons butter
      1 teaspoon dried basil
      3/4 cup chopped celery
      1 teaspoon dried parsley
      2 cups cubed Cheddar cheese
      1/4 cup all-purpose flour
      4 cups cubed potatoes (5-6)
      1/4 cup sour cream

      1. In a large pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter or margarine over medium heat: cook and stir vegetables and beef, until beef is brown.
      2. Stir in basil and parsley. Add broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil, and then simmer until potatoes are tender; about 10-12 minutes.
      3. Melt remainder of butter and stir in flour; making a roux. Add the milk and stir until smooth.
      4. Gradually add milk mixture to the soup, stirring constantly. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a simmer.
      5. Stir in cheese.
      6. When cheese is melted, add sour cream and heat through.
      Do not boil.

      Several people said they doubled the recipe and/or added more ground beef. If it’s too thick; add a little more chicken broth. Sounds pretty good to me since we’re expecting sleet and freezing rain tomorrow night!

      1. Erin

        I have a very similar recipe and it’s AWESOME!!! Goes great with homemade bread and honey, too! I never thought of it as being an “Amish soup” but it would make sense since there are so many veggies!

      2. Karen Pollard

        Cheeseburger Soup

        I finally made this tonight and we really enjoyed it. The idea of putting a milk roux into a ground beef dish was not appealing to me, but it turned out delicious. It’s definitely a keeper, and I will be making it again.

        Also shared the recipe with several friends on Facebook!

        Thank you for posting the name of the soup so I could find it!


    9. Loretta

      Ohio Amish Library

      Erik, I am planning a trip to Berlin later this year and would like to visit the library outside of Berlin. Could you give an address or approximate directions or something it’s near? I need to dig into your site and learn some places of interest in Berlin.
      Thank you for this site, I read it daily 🙂

    10. Loretta

      Cheeseburger Soup

      Karen Pollard, please tell us what you thought of the soup and how you might have “tweaked” it. Thanks

      1. Karen Pollard

        Cheeseburger Soup

        I haven’t made it yet due to weather, but it’s coming soon!!! Gotta get to the grocery for supplies first.

    11. Marcus Yoder

      My wife makes this and it is awesome, especialy in the winter.
      Marcus Yoder

      1. Karen Pollard

        Cheeseburger Soup

        I made it two nights ago and we loved it. It will definitely be a repeat performance!

    12. Marcus Yoder

      Erik did you see Leroy Beachy?
      Marcus Yoder

      1. I did not meet him Marcus, Eddie Kline came while we were there and it was nice to talk to him a little.

    13. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Book brain drain

      I am thinking about borrowing the book “Plain Secrets” from my local public library. Has anyone read it, is it a good read?