Any time I can go into the home of a local when I travel, I feel like the luckiest woman in the world. I love getting a glimpse into the lives of the people who live in that region. Ohio Amish Country booked me for Dinner in an Amish Home. I had done something similar years ago and I knew it was going to be good.
We arrived at Rachel Miller’s house. It didn’t look as “Amish” as one might picture, but that’s because we get these images in our heads of how we imagine an Amish house would look. Actually, as you drive the back roads of Amish Country, what you should really be looking for is not necessarily the big, wooden farmhouse you might imagine (or maybe it’s only me), but a relatively more modern, clean and tidy house that has a barn or two outside and a buggy in the yard.
One of the outbuildings may actually be a “case” house; humorously named such because it’s an empty building that the Amish can use “in case” they are hosting a church service or wedding. There are also bench wagons that they use to tote wooden benches to these houses for the occasion.
But back to the Millers.
We stepped inside and saw that we’d be dining with five other people. In the first few moments of chatting, we learned that we were all from different parts of Ohio and that became significant in a way because the last two guests who had signed up for the dinner didn’t show.
Rachel Miller started bringing out food: homemade bread and peanut butter fluff, an Amish specialty of sorts made with peanut butter and marshmallow. There is nothing like it on a fresh piece of bread. Then she brought out platters and bowls of food: fried chicken, roast beef, mashed potatoes, butter noodles, and green beans. An abundance of food overflowed the table and we implored Rachel and her husband to sit down and eat with us. They’d been nearby as we all introduced ourselves and started chatting. I think that because we were all Ohioans, and everyone but me and my daughter were farmers/gardeners, too, and because there were two empty spots and no way to refrigerate the leftover food, they agreed.
So we talked about vegetables. And farming. And deer and rabbits. We talked about crops and whether the Millers were completely self-sufficient. They are not. They host dinners a couple nights a week in the summer and they also worked at a poultry farm and a mill. They talked about vacationing in Sarasota, Florida each winter (more on that in a future post) — something I never would have imagined, but apparently there is a strong Amish community there. And they talked about people they knew in common who lived in southeastern Ohio where one of the women at the table lives.
It was a wonderful dinner. Exactly what you might imagine an Amish dinner to be like. We had nice conversations, raved about the food (boy, did we all overeat!) and then finished the evening with a piece of peach pie.
I’m sure there’s plenty of good food throughout Amish country, but I definitely recommend booking a dinner in an Amish home as well. It’s a glimpse into their lives that you might not otherwise get. I guarantee you’ll consider yourself lucky, too.
Any surprises in this post? I know the Sarasota piece was a huge surprise to me.