The Essential Amish Cookbook: Your Question Suggestions For Lovina

Lovina Eicher is an Amish mother of eight and author of the Lovina’s Amish Kitchen column (and formerly the Amish Cook column).

I’m working on a Q-and-A for Lovina about her latest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, to publish here on the site.

Do you have anything that I should ask Lovina? If so, share those questions in the comments below.

I’ll choose some of the best ones to add to the list/letter that gets sent to her.

Tasty Recipes (And Fun Names)

I have been reading through the cookbook the past several days. It has beautiful photos and a lot of recipes that look delicious.

Lovina typically adds a comment at the end of each recipe, either a helpful hint – for instance, what you can substitute if you’re missing an ingredient, general tips and suggestions, or something personal, e.g., like about how her family likes the dish.

Here are a few examples:

The first year I had a garden, I planted twelve zucchini plants. I had more zucchini than I knew what to do with! The next year I planted two plants and they both died, so I didn’t have any zucchini that year. So goes life with zucchini.

This is our favorite cheese ball. We always made it when I was growing up. We like it with a variety of crackers. 

Potato salad is popular in the Amish community. It can be served at weddings, funerals, reunions, and picnics. At home we would eat potato salad on bread for sandwiches.

Some of the recipe names are plain and descriptive.

You’ll find a lot of classics, like Meat Loaf, Bread and Butter Pickles, Church Peanut Butter Spread, Plain Apple Pie, and Breakfast Casserole.

Others are quite creatively named, suggesting surprising ingredients or other innovations.

Here are some of my favorites (meaning names, not going by taste, as I haven’t tried these – yet):

Lazy Day Lasagna

Hobo Suppers

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stay-Crisp Coleslaw

Refrigerator Rolls

Poor Man’s Steak

Amish Wedding Nothings (aka Knee Patches)

And some of the recipes are simply surprising in their combination of ingredients. For example:

Buttermilk Cookies with Glazed Maple Nut Frosting (And Bacon Bits)

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Bread

Banana Whoopie Pies

Peanut Butter Cracker Fudge

I think it’s time for me to go grab a bite.

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    1. Kathy Baumbusch

      Bishop’s Approval

      Was it hard to get the bishop’s approval for you to do your blog? I’m glad he did!

    2. Questions for Lovina

      Here’s a question you could ask Lovina.

      “When it comes to cooking, what season do you enjoy cooking the most and why?”

      BTW, I read her article weekly in our local newspaper

    3. Terry Burk

      Retired Baker in Training

      I have purchased all of Lovina’s books. The only thing that I have noticed when a recipe fails, is that the instructions do not indicate whether the dough should be refrigerated for a better result. This occurs more with Cookies. The Basic Brownies are a constant request by family and friends. Thank you Lovina!

    4. Erin

      Cooking for a crowd

      Maybe Lovina has already answered this, but I’d like to hear more about cooking for a big group. Tips on multiplying recipes, any recipes that can’t be multiplied, and strategies for planning/working in the kitchen for a large group.

      1. Good question Erin, there are sections on both Amish church and wedding meals (I assume they are group-sized recipes though I don’t have the book in front of me right now to check). I’ll add something about this topic for Lovina.

        1. Joan Solders


          I want to mention that I was born and raised in Northern Minnesota on a farm. I want to say, there is no difference between Amish cooking and the food my Mother cook. Pies and cake and cookies are the same. My Grandmother’s used everything in there gardens. We canned everything that could be canned. My husband and I have traveled to many places and ate at many places and to us farm cooking is the best.

          Thank you,


          I love Amish peanut butter, I even made some once and it turned out great.

        2. Bonjour,

          Je suis Alsacienne et j’aimerais faire des recttes Amish, certaines ressemblent à notre gastronomie mais les livres sont tous écrits en Anglais et il n’y a pas de recettes en “grammes” mais en c’est des mesures en “tasse”. En France cela n’existe pas.
          Cela serait bien si il existait des recettes avec une équivalence en grammes. Certains aliments aussi sont introuvables en France dans des supermachés comme la mélasse par exemple.

    5. Saltine Crackers & Milk

      Dear Lovina,
      I have heard of an Amish breakfast dish made of boiled saltine crackers and milk. Do you put cinnamon & other ingredients to sweeten it?
      Does it taste like oatmeal or maybe cream of wheat? I am curious as to how it started. By the way, adore banana whoopie pies!
      Thank you!
      Guienevere Allen

    6. Crackers !?

      Does she have any recipes for crackers ?? Or do the Amish buy their crackers for the most part ?

    7. Mary Turner


      I have noticed that the Amish recipes use lots of onions,
      I can’t eat onions,will the recipes be ok without them?

      1. I have a love/hate relationship with onions Mary. Love cooked onions (like on a Philly cheese steak sandwich), not a fan of fresh onions (because of the aftertaste lasting hours).

    8. AJ

      I wonder if calf liver with onions in gravy is a traditional Amish food? What about stuffed pig belly? What about goose or duck?

      I ask this because these were typical dishes my grandmother used to eat. She was German, but grew up in NY. I assume maybe the Amish might have had similar food. These foods are no longer popular like they were in my grandmother’s days. I find them to be really good, but as soon as you mention them to younger people my age they automatically say “liver sounds nasty”, but not because they ever tried it.

      1. Liver 'n' gizzards

        Liver is an underrated treat. I like it a lot. I guess people shy away because it is one of the foods named directly after an internal organ – rather than the generic “meat”.

        I also love chicken gizzards and hearts. My dad used to fry them up. Kind of a country delicacy (he grew up in rural NC) but I recently saw them in a somewhat fancy restaurant. I actually never really knew what part the “gizzard” was. It’s a specialized stomach some animals have.

        Probably not good to visit this link right before a chicken gizzard meal, but if anyone’s interested:

    9. Pat M.

      Amish bakers stingy with spices; at least in our area.

      We live around the Arthur/Arcola Illinois area. We’ve purchased numerous baked goods over the years from Amish bakers and have noticed they all seem to be stingy with spices. For example cinnamon anything; i.e. rolls… hardly ever have much cinnamon in them; especially compared to how most of we English prepare them. Of course we realize that most Amish are extremely frugal and have thought perhaps that’s why they don’t use the amount of spices that at least we would prefer. I thought this would be a perfect time to ask why they may be so stingy with spices. Thank you in advance.

      1. Interesting observation, Pam. Commercially-produced food may not always match what Amish make for themselves…

        There was a recent discussion by readers on this food quality topic which you might like to check out:

        Since based on that discussion other people seem to be interested in this topic, I might tweak your question to ask Lovina about her impressions of food produced for sale by the Amish in general.

        1. Reply to Erik's response to my comments regarding spices

          Erik, you may have a point; but I’d think if they’re commercially producing it, that they’d want to make it as good as they could so people would “come back for more.”

          I’d welcome you tweaking my question to ask Lovina. Thanks, Erik.

          BTW it’s Pat; not Pam. I’ll generally answer to anything polite though. 🙂

          1. Ack – sorry Pat! I think my brain took your M initial and smushed it into your first name to turn you into Pam. Noted 🙂

            I would think the same about the food…but on the other hand, if most of your business is tourist-based, you might not have many repeat customers even if they love your food. Not saying that’s a great reason to skimp on quality, but I can see the thinking, and Amish are human too.

            1. Erik, no worries. Regarding the Amish being human, we’re very well aware of that.

              Some people idealize the Amish; we don’t. There are good Amish and bad Amish just as there are good English and bad English. We have Amish friends and acquaintances as well as English ones.

              A few months ago my husband shared something with me he’d heard someone say regarding a less than positive situation with Amish: “that’s not Christian; that’s Amish.” Of course nearly all religions/cultures could be substituted for Amish depending on the situation.

              1. That’s a VERY good statement Pat — there are good Amish and bad Amish. I wish it were not that way but I have yet to find any group of people who are all perfect OR all bad. You have a very realistic view.

          2. Difference in tastes — sometimes when we buy non-Amish made foods like pumpkin pie or cinnamon rolls, they taste “too spicy” or too strong for our family, so it is possible the cook is cooking or baking to her own idea of what tastes good. Check in an Amish printed cookbook. 🙂

    10. Bare Feet

      I have always wondered HOW the Amish gals and children can get their feet clean, after going barefoot, most of the time?
      I, too, live on a farm and Usually go barefoot, summer and winter! (But I am a great gram, so have old feet! lol) My heels especially are always rough, and the dirt gets into all of those cracks & no matter how much I scrub, my feet always look dirty! Only a trip for a pedicure can get them clean, but who can afford that repeatedly lol Thanks for asking Lovina my question!

      1. You guys are asking some interesting – and unexpected – questions! I like this one Carol, I’m going to include it for Lovina.

    11. Pam Colle

      Children recipes

      Does Lovina have special recipes for children Birthdays?
      Also, for Christmas and Easter. Thank you.

    12. John CARBONE


      What type of lard does she use …. what recipes does she have where lard is the ingredient which makes the difference … does she ever use leaf lard?

    13. TiaB

      Weekly Meal Diary

      I’d be interested in knowing what an average two week meal “diary” looks like at Lovina’s house.

    14. Dorothy Prange

      (Can’t think of a short title?
      We lived for years in Chester County Pa. right next to Lancaster County, and I learned to cook several Amish dishes. I have wondered why you didn’t include recipes in Amish America?
      My Question?
      I have made several supposedly WET BOTTOM SHUFLY PIES, some have turned out WET most have not….How do I get a ‘sure fire wet bottom pie’?
      Thanks, let me know where to buy the COOKBOOK?

      1. Hi Dorothy, there are some recipes in various sections throughout the site, but it’s not really my main specialty so I don’t do a lot with it (I’m a pro at eating, cooking not so much). Kevin Williams at Amish 365 deals more with Amish food and recipes so you might want to check his site out.

    15. Ruby Wiseman

      Amish Diabetic

      I have wondered for some time how the Amish with diabetes handle a Diabetic meal plan. I need to learn how to plan my diabetic meals in a frugal way. Can you please help,please. I also need to know how to shop for low cost groceries to make these meals. In closing I would like to know how the Amish diabetic handle group meals? Thank you ahead of time for your much needed information. Ruby

      1. Hi Ruby, I actually already sent the questions out to Lovina’s side – I will see if I can add this one somehow but it might be too late. Stay tuned.

    16. Donita Johnson

      Food allergies

      Do Amish ever have food allergies? If so,how do they compensate for them? My husband is severely allergic to tree nuts. I am gluten & dairy sensitive. My daughter is lactose intolerant. I have a son who is allergic to onions & his wife is lactose intolerant and allergic to corn. It makes family dinners interesting.

    17. Louis Brumaghim
    18. Food allergies

      Hello I just love your books,it reminds me of life with my Grandmother.

      I was wondering if your family has much trouble with food allergies/intolerance? Where do you buy supplies flours ect and supplies for your home? Thank you have a wonderful day God Bless, Linda