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Amish cook — A good day to learn to sew

By Lovina Eicher

Oasis Newsfeatures

It is a cold, rainy March day as I write this. I was hoping to get caught up on laundry today and have a nice afternoon to hang it all out on the lines. But since it is rainy, I decided to wait for a nicer day tomorrow.

Instead, I will try to do some sewing. I am teaching daughter Elizabeth, 13, how to sew. She would like to learn how to sew her own dresses, which would help me out a lot. I hope she’ll love to sew as much as I do.

I learned to sew when I was around Elizabeth’s age. I remember really disliking when Mom would make me open a seam and redo it. Now, I am thankful for everything she taught me. She wanted us to sew neatly and get our seams straight.

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When I was around 18 years old, I started working at a sewing factory. I worked there until a little before Elizabeth was born. I learned a lot about how to fix my sewing machine. The only difference is that those were electric and would sew much faster than ours at home which were foot pedal. Over that time, I remember when I’d go home and want to sew very fast like I did on the electric machines. It was confusing switching from an electric to a treadle.

(Editor’s Note: In a change from a generation or two ago, many Amish people work in non-Amish owned factories that use electricity and other modern conveniences. The church allows this, but these "luxuries" are not permitted at home)

On Tuesday, my sisters and I spent the day at my sister Emma’s. She had us all come for breakfast, which consisted of scrambled eggs, fried potatoes, bacon, cheese, hot peppers, and homemade bread.

Because of Baby Steven’s heart problems, Emma and Jacob skipped their church turn in March, but their house still needed spring cleaning and we were happy to lend a hand. We did her laundry as well as cleaning walls, furniture and mopping.

Yesterday, we spent all day at brother Albert and Sarah Irene’s house. They had church services there in the morning and then had singing for the youth in the evening. It was enjoyable to hear the youth singing together.

I am guessing there were probably around 150 there for supper. Sarah Irene had a delicious meal for everyone. Her supper menu consisted of casseroles, salads, corn, ham sandwiches, pickles, red beets, homemade cakes, mixed fruits, ice cream and pies. There was plenty of food for everyone.

We came home around 8:30 p.m., so the children had a long day. They were ready for bed as soon as we came home.

Joe and the boys have been building a dog house in their spare time.

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They have one done now and would like to make two more. The boys enjoy hammering and pounding nails into wood.

Last week, I tried a new recipe for supper one night that someone in church gave me. My children didn’t want to eat the meal when they saw the ingredients, but they ended up enjoying it so much that I barely had enough to feed everyone. I’ll definitely be making it again. I will share it.

Spicy potato casserole

1 1 /2 pounds hamburger, browned

1 package (1.25 oz) taco seasoning

1 small onion diced

8 medium potatoes boiled and shredded

4 tablespoons butter, melted

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2 cups grated cheese

1 teaspoon salt

1 pint sour cream

1 can (10 3/ 4 oz) cream of mushroom soup

1 soup can of milk

2 1 /2 cups crushed cornflakes

1 /4 cup melted butter

Combine hamburger, taco seasoning and onions. Brown in a skillet over medium heat, then put mixture in bottom of a casserole dish. Mix potatoes with four tablespoons butter, cheese, salt, sour cream and mushroom soup. Mix with milk. Spoon over the hamburger mixture. Top with combined butter and corn flakes. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

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The Amish Cook is a weekly column written by Lovina Eicher, an Old Order Amish woman who lives in Michigan. To comment, send mail to Eicher at P.O. Box 2144, Middletown, OH 45042.

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