I grew up in central Illinois just a few hours from the Arthur, Arcola area where many Amish families live, farm and work. The countryside is beautiful and a drive in spring sometimes even offers a chance to see planting with Belgian horses and farm equipment. On the back roads you will often pass an Amish buggy and in downtown Arthur you can enjoy stopping at a few of the shops, restaurants or antique shops or even a trip to Beachy’s, the Amish bulk grocery store where we stock up on bread, jam and other delicacies homemade by the wonderful Amish cooks.
While I have done all of these things, dining in an Amish home was on my list, and yesterday with the assistance of Stella’s Amish Adventures, I did just that. Mom and I and my friend Rose and three of her close friends, all set out to shop and dine. We arrived at the Arthur Visitors Center and met Stella after a whirlwind shopping down Main Street. Stella gave us directions the Elizabeth Schrock’s home where we were going for our Amish dinner. We set out taking two cars carefully following Stella’s directions with our mouths watering already.
Once we arrived at the Schrock home where trees were in bloom and her garden was ready to plant, Elizabeth ushered us in to her lovely home and set us down at the long table she had set up. We said a silent prayer, then started our meals with water and lemonade and a serving of homemade bread and butter and apple butter. Soon we were digging our forks into the lettuce salad and homemade ranch dressing. Elizabeth was very gracious and answered our questions about what she grew in her garden and how she prepares her food.
We had fresh corn, mashed potatoes and gravy. Although I bypassed the gravy, I loaded up my potatoes with the amazing noodles and broth. Elizabeth said that is how she also prefers to eat her potatoes too. I never did figure out how she managed to get the potatoes so fluffy and smooth by just using a masher. We had chicken and meatballs then to top it all off, a choice of strawberry or peanut butter pie. I had no business trying the pie, but I did. I chose the peanut butter and stuffed in every bite! It was the lightest pie I think I have ever had.
The meal was excellent and we had fun conversing with Elizabeth who said she has served from four to sixty-five in her spacious open concept home. This was my first time inside an Amish home and I enjoyed seeing the home is not much different from ours, just without the electronics and the floors were clear of carpet, and probably easier to clean!
After dinner, we headed to Beachy’s to load up on our own Amish goods to take back home. I had strict instructions from the hubby to return with a loaf of whole wheat bread and smoked cheddar cheese. I added a jar of tripleberry jam for good measure and today at home we had toast and jam for breakfast and used the bread for club sandwiches at lunch. I don’t want a crumb to go to waste!
While part of the group did more shopping and headed to nearby Tuscola for outlet mall shopping, mom and I loaded up and headed home, full from our wonderful dinner talking about it most of the way.
If you would like to schedule a dinner or a tour of an Amish home or business, log onto Stella’s homepage at http://www.amishadventures.net/about.html. She will also set up accommodations for you as well. Stella had these wonderful tours that provided things to do that even those of us that travel in the area regularly were unaware of. Take advantage of the chance to try something few are able to do. A visit and meal at an Amish home is a cultural and educational experience with some very good food to boot!