Inside an Amish Home: Swartzentruber Amish Kitchen

Following up last week’s photo of a Michigan Amish kitchen, we have another shot courtesy of Karen Johnson-Weiner.  I think you’ll notice quite a difference between this week’s and last week’s photos.

This one was taken in a Swartzentruber Amish kitchen.  Swartzentruber Amish are among the plainest and most conservative Amish groups:

amish kitchen swartzentruberI’ve zoomed in on a couple of bits.  The utensils:

amish kitchen utensils




And the stove:

amish stove

That dog looks pretty happy!

More Amish home interior posts:

Amish Living Room

Swiss Amish Home

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    40 Comments

    1. Richard

      A rare photo of a Swartzentruber kitchen,that stove is made for some serous cooking.And that dog should be happy, i bet that’s his/her favorite spot of the house, waiting for food scraps,lol. Have a good day everyone.Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish community.

      1. Dody Bush

        That’s the same type of stove I have and I’m not even Amish. I love the way she hangs her spoons. I am going to ask my husband to fashion me one of those so I can hang mine.

    2. OldKat

      Other than the wood burning stove, it almost looks like a commercial kitchen. I’d think that some serious cooking takes place in this kitchen!

      Reminds me of something you might see in a Norman Rockwell painting; very plain but functional.

    3. OldKat

      Wow, Richard. Were we on the same wavelength or what? I hadn’t read your post when I made mine, hard to beleive we both said that the stove / kitchen was made for “some serious cooking”. lol

    4. Marilyn in New York

      One of my aunt’s use to have stove that like that in her house when I was growing up. An old wood burner. They had out house, one electric light in the house, pumping water, etc. When my aunt and uncle got divorced he got the house and the day the divorce went through he had the contractor over there-out went the wood stove, the bumping water, he burned the out house and got in door plumbing-he remodeled and updated the whole place. Kind of sad in a way.
      Marilyn

      1. Anonymous Australian

        Get with the times: it’s fine for a Cabin: but not in the horrible winter.

    5. Magdalena

      That’s a lot like my new stove – made by Suppertime Stoves of Aylmer, Ontario; yes,they are still in production, and it is as efficient as anything. I’ve cooked on a lot of woodstoves, and this one is – by far – my favourite. It holds a fire overnight, too. This looks a lot like my kitchen except I don’t have that nice stainless steel drainboard, which I would love. And we had a little white dog a lot like that, who now lives with our youngest daughter.

    6. Alice Aber

      When can I move in? I love it!!! It looks a lot like the stove in my grand parents old homestead. My step-granddad taught me how to cook on it when I was a little girl. Even though my biological grandparents were deceased before I was born the homestead stayed in the family for many more years. Grandpa, (step) stayed in the house until the mid 70s. It was my favorite place to be. Out in the country on about 26 acres, mostly wooded.

      Even more than 25 years after Grandma past there was still canned food in her wells stocked basement pantry. It looked like a small grocery store down there.

      Grandpa would tell me stories of how grandma could go to that basement and put on a meal large enough to feed several unexpected visitors and fit for a king. Seems she has some how rubbed off on me even though she passed long before I was born. I too have a basement pantry full of canned food and some store bought bargains, LOL.

      I have always planned on getting my own wood burning cook stove once I am in my own house. There is nothing like smelling food cooking on a wood burner, gas and electric just do not produce the same smells, LOL.

      Love the kitchen!! Stainless steel utensils are the best and really not much more expensive, they just look it. I love mine and would not trade them for anything. 🙂

      Blessings, Alice

    7. Elin

      I like the stove and the atmosphere of the kitchen. I would like indoor plumbing (can’t see if they have that or not) and a fridge but then again I am not Amish. I would love to have a wood stove in my kitchen but I assume that I will end up with an electric stove anyway because the houses we could live in with our economy and life situation do not have wood stoves and if they once had they have been thrown out now. I guess I would be happy enough if I could just get out of living in an apartment so perhaps it would not matter in the end. Love the stove though!

    8. Plain Lady

      There is nothing that can beat the warmth that that stove can give to a cold person coming from milking the cow!!! And the food cooked or baked with it is delicious!
      Actually they are not that difficult to use. Sure there’s more to it than turning a knob but it does the job. Actually 2 jobs, heating and cooking!

    9. Lindsay

      Do many Schwartzendruber have summer kitchens on their property? I would imagine it’s cozy in the winter, but extremely hot and uncomfortable in the summer!

      1. Theresa Ledbetter

        swartzentruber summer kitchen?

        Although I live in Alabama, my very best friend in the world is Amish and lives in ethridge Tennessee! Sarah is as plain as any Amish could be! The picture looks very much like her kitchen, tho it is not. During the summer months you will often see the cook stove on the porch ( some times front, sometimes back). She doesn’t move hers from the kitchen and often I wonder how she stands the heat! She says she’s used to it. I guess its like the old saying; if you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! 🙂 Love my Amish family!

    10. Lance

      For those looking at the pictures and not knowing what things are: The large box on the left is a wood box, usually it is child’s responsibility to keep it full for the cook. The stove is a Pioneer Maid made by Amish in Canada. Behind the stove, on the wall between the stove pipe and window is a drying rack in the collapsed position. The window has typical Swart. Amish curtains, the whole house has the same type. The hook is probably a nail, the rod is a dowel. The window trim and blue paint are typical Swart. The indoor dog is not. Lower right is the dry sink. Swart. Amish do not usually have indoor plumbing so the dry sink is where dishes are washed. Wash water is carried in from the pump and dumped out the door into lawn when done. This dry sink looks to be used as a counter top too. They don’t have counters or built in cabinets so tables, dry sinks and hoosier cabinets are used. There is probably a kerosene ‘perfection’ oil stove somewhere too. Many have summer kitchens with another wood stove there. In the summer, wood stoves work a lot better for canning than oil stoves, but man do they make the house HOT, hence the need for the summer kitchen.

    11. Mona

      Nice pictures, but I was surprised to see the dog in the kitchen!!!!As I did not think they allowed animals in the house….I know I read that somewhere…..they have dogs, but they stay outside/and in the barn…..

    12. Christina

      I was also surprised to see the dog in the kitchen, or house even.

      I would guess being a Swartzentruber home, they would not have a propane fridge, but would they use a kerosene one or would they use an old-fashioned ice box? Do you know Eric?

      Lehman’s sells the Pioneer Maid and Baker’s Choice wood cookstoves along with some fancier wood cookstoves as well. I’d love to learn to cook on a wood cookstove and have seen a few around in antique stores and at a salvage company in Seattle, but I just don’t have any place to put one:-( Perhaps in the future.

      1. Beverly

        Wood stove

        Christina-Are you in the Seattle area?? So am I ! What salvage company are you referring to??

    13. Alice Aber

      Thanks everyone who sent cards for Frank’s birthday he had 25 to open this morning and I know there are more on the way. He said to be sure to tell everyone thank you so much they meant a lot to him. He is really enjoying his birthday. 🙂

      We will be going out to dinner this evening but I will be posting some pictures of the day on my blog after we get back. ceramicslady.blogspot.com

      Frank opened and read each card. We laughed, we smiled, we cried but it was all good. Thanks again everyone!!!! You made this day really special!!!

      God bless each of you!!
      Love, Alice

    14. Alice so glad to hear that. Another is on the way from PL, but don’t tell Frank that 🙂

    15. Swartzentruber refrigeration

      Christina it would likely not be a fridge but an ice box of some sort. Some of the most conservative Amish groups use running water to keep food items such as milk cool. When they are selling produce or pies outdoors in the summer they will keep these in your typical plastic coolers.

      Many Amish households have dogs as pets. It’s not typical but am sure some would let these canine friends into the home. But your typical farm dog is going to stay outside and as Lance says this is not common. This guy either snuck in so he could be in the photo, or has gotten in really good with his masters 🙂

      And Lance, thanks for the descriptions. Lance would know these things so if anyone is curious what the items are just read his comment above.

      1. Dody Bush

        Isn’t the running water kept in a spring house? My grandma Mary had a spring house with running water and crocks set inside to keep food good. (circa 1987)

    16. Kevin Williams

      Interestingly, I’ve only seen dogs IN the house of an Old Order Amish person twice. Both were converts to the faith which is unusual in itself. Both converts (one was in Aylmer, Ontario, the other Belle Center, Ohio) said that was one concession to Amish life they couldn’t give up was having the dog indoors. I am hearing anecdotal evidence that more and more Amish are embracing dogs as indoor pets. I’ve not met her, but I have heard about an Amish lady in Indiana who carries her little “designer dog” poodle around in a bag ala Paris Hilton……

    17. Robin Miller

      This reminds me of my grandmother’s kitchen, used up until she died in 1962 when I was 9 years old. She cooked and heated her kitchen with a wood stove though did have the luxury of our hand-me-down refrigerator and a propane gas stove near the end of her life. However, that wood stove made the best fried chicken and biscuits.

    18. Alice Aber

      Ooops Erik, I already let the cat out of the bag, sorry. But when he was opening a card from England I could not help myself, LOL. Most of the cards came from folks here on Amish America and I am so very grateful to everyone!!

      Have to stop and get gas on our way to Bloomington to Biaggi’s so I better get moving still have to get ready.

      Love and Blessings,
      Alice

    19. Amish Cook

      No worries Alice, that is good. He’ll be able to study up on Polish 🙂

      Robin, sign me up for the biscuits.

      Great anecdote Kevin, thanks for sharing it. I’m guessing the bag is probably not hot pink. And by the way I was just reading your piece on the Amish Cook having a 20-year anniversary coming up. That is awesome. Did you ever think you’d be doing what you are doing now back in 1991? Congrats in advance.

    20. Richard (www.Amishstorys.com)

      Greetings again everyone, i think you have been on fire especially on the last few post Erik, some things do really get better with age. And its hard to believe that the Amish cook has been going strong for almost 20 years, and congratulations to Kevin and the Amish cook to that milestone. I would congratulate myself for something, but it seems I’ve run out of lies today,lol. Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish community.

    21. Michelle P

      Liking that kitchen!

      I like the kitchen and I miss cooking on a wood stove although it isn’t a lot of fun in the summer. We also had windows close to the stove which does help some if there is a breeze!

    22. Robin Miller

      Eric, if only I could. The biscuit recipe went to Heaven with my grandmomma. Her secret ingredient was LARD … used it in her biscuits, fried chicken … good thing they didn’t realized how BAD it was for them. Her stewed tomatoes, fresh limas and greens … and cured hams and butter … oh my goodness!!

    23. Al in Ky.

      I was in some of my Swartzentrubers friends kitchen last Saturday
      and it looked very, very similar to the one in the pictures —
      except no dog! Two of the older girls were ironing clothes
      while I was there and were heating their irons on the left hand
      top side of the stove. We enjoyed eating a warm, homemade raspberry pie fresh from the oven, too.

    24. Swartzentruber stove

      Why that is kind Richard, I have really been enjoying the comments lately. And on that note I can congratulate/complement/commend you on your interesting, warm, and funny notes on this here blog. Much appreciate what you have to share.

      Michelle, I am liking it too. I know I just did a post yesterday on romanticizing the Amish, but there is something about this photo that seems timeless. Maybe it’s the light and the color. Maybe the invincible-looking stove. Heck, maybe it’s the dog.

      I was in touch with Karen this evening and she reminded me of another photo with a similar type of stove–and as it happens I’ve actually already posted it. It’s on this post, the photo midway down, of sausage making:

      https://amishamerica.com/new-york-amish-book-giveaway-and-interview-with-karen-johnson-weiner/

    25. Amish iron

      Robin, sorry to hear that. You ate well when she was around, no doubt. Lard is a powerful substance. There is a traditional Polish way of smearing it on bread. You can feel your waistline expanding as you eat it. Not an everyday food.

      And Al sounds like you ate well quite recently. By the way I have tried that trick with stove-heated irons at a PA Amish friend’s. You have to be nimble…I have enough trouble with a plugged-in electric iron!

    26. Richard (www.Amishstorys.com)

      No problem you deserve it Erik, and you have done “good” with yourself. Now if i could only do something constructive, maybe i can get a pat on my back. Who am i kidding that’s not happening. I think i hear the phone wanting to ring, id better go now,lol. Richard from Lebanon county’s Amish community.

    27. Marilyn in New York

      When the Farmers Markets come out in the Spring thru Fall I sometimes by Mennonite pastry and most of them use lard. I have also bought Amish pastry and they use lard too. So I guess it is something Amish and Mennonites still use. The pastries sure taste good though.
      Marilyn

    28. Slightly-handled-Order-man

      Although not quite the same, the stove reminds me of my grandmother’s stove in the family cottage. Only her’s was white with black trim. Quickly I learned to not touch the stove at Grandma’s cottage. I hope the cousins like the heat and wonderful smell it generates, it is in their side of the family. We’re not “Swartzentruber Scottish” however 😉

    29. Alice Mary

      My Polish Grandma (who lived upstairs from us) still had an old wood cookstove (cast iron, and fancier than the one in the photo). I remember as a very young child (she died when I was 5 or 6) standing, peering into the side “door” where you put the wood in. I can still see the blazing fire (and hear admonitions not to “touch”, though I couldn’t understand Polish). And Erik, my mom told me of their “depression era” dessert consisting of (just as you said) lard spread on bread, but sprinkled with sugar. Mom used lard for pie crusts and frying crullers, too, but switched to Wesson oil later. Unfortunately, Dad died at age 54 of coronary thrombosis…there were SO many Polish foods he loved that he shouldn’t have eaten so much of, but who knew? (sausages of various types, pierogi…you name it). Busia also had a “sad iron” she’d heat on the old stove (come to think of it, she had a pot bellied stove in her dining room, too—it was a pretty dangerous place for a curious kid like me!)Maybe that’s why the Amish appeal to me—they’re like family from way back!

      Alice, I was thinking of Frank and the cards and am so glad to hear they cheered him up…such a good idea!

      Alice Mary

    30. Leo

      I know of a Swartzentruber family who have both a large outdoor dog and a small indoor dog. The one Swartzentruber kitchen in New York that I have been in has a pump on the kitchen sink instead of a hot/cold faucet, so they do have cold water plumbed in. I don’t know if the water source was a cistern or a well. Next time I visit, I’ll ask.

    31. Lindsay

      I only use lard when making pie crusts…it’s just far superior to any butter/crisco combonation.

      I was under the impression a lot of traditional Amish pies used vegetable oil crusts? At least most Shoo Fly/Funny Cake recipes I have seen call for a vegetable oil crust.

    32. Rachel

      sociologically interesting

      This is fascinating! Especially all the comments.

    33. Dan

      Dog inside?

      I noticed the dog inside the house in the kitchen. I visited an Amish home for the first time this past weekend in Lititz PA, the one of the girls told me that they did not allow any of their animals including the family dog inside the home. It sounded to me she meant it was an Amish rule not a family rule? Any thoughts?

      1. DOG OF THE HOUSE

        Our OOA friends in Ohio have a dog that is a house-dog, 100% and their married daughter and family that live next door have a yard-dog, 100%. I think it’s up to the family to decide where the dog lives.

    34. Jennifer Armstrong

      Amish Australia

      I love reading about the Amish communities and how they live. It would be great if Amish communities were more common in Australia.