Incorporate Amish cooking traditions this fall in your kitchen with Lucy Leid’s Gather Around the Amish Table. Straight from Amish kitchens to yours, this cookbook offers favorite family recipes and charming stories from Amish and Mennonite cooks. Gather your family around the table to sample the nourishing fare and trademark charm of the plain people. In the words of one cookbook contributor: “Bake someone happy!”
Why this book…
You may be wondering why a Christian book review blog is reviewing a cookbook, I assure you I have many reasons. The first being that since my husband and I got married in 2004, he has been the primary cook in our family (I’m blessed, I know). However, his new job demands longer hours so I thought I would step in and try to take some of the meal preparation responsibilty off his plate. The second reason has to do with the abundant amount of Amish Christian fiction that permeates the market these days. I’ve only read one Amish fiction novel, so while my knowledge of the plain communities is limited, my curiosity remains unsatiated. Finally, Fall is in the air. The days are cooler, our appetites seem bigger, and the desire to fill the house will savory smells is so tempting. Henceforth, an Amish cookbook review.
Gather Around the Amish Table entered our house amidst screams of “I want to help” from both of our children. Cooking is a family affair in our household and I never run low on sous chefs or taste testers. Upon opening this cookbook we discovered there would be no shortage of recipes to try. So, with grocery list in hand, we began our evaluation of Lucy Leid’s collection of Amish favorites.
Appetizing images of sweet and savory dishes appear every few pages with a smattering of Amish community photographs sprinkled intermittently. As far as the organization and layout, recipes are grouped into one of ten categories, listed in the table of contents, and quick referenced using the index. We found the ingredients clearly listed, however the instructions were at times over simplified. “Mix everything together” works well for some recipes, but for others a little more direction would have been welcomed. For instance, when we made Gourmet Eggs the baking pan dimensions were absent which resulted in our need for a longer baking time. The opposite was true for our Vegetable Loaf which reached the proper cooking temperature 40 minutes faster than prescribed. Another thought I had after making (12 cups) of Peanut Butter Granola, was that it would have been nice if storage tips were included. Something like “the best way to store it,” or “how long it keeps” would have been helpful.
In all we’ve prepared 8 recipes – 3 breakfast, 1 bread, 2 meats, and 2 cookie. The Gourmet Eggs and Chocolate Chip Cookie recipes were our favorites. Others were met with mixed reviews, but given the book has numerous contributors we will continue trying the recipes.
Before I conclude, I’d like to give my impressions of the non-food related elements of this cookbook. As a rough estimate, I would say nearly 1/3 of the recipes have a paragraph or more accompanying them from the contributor. Most appear to be memories the various authors associate with a particular dish: how they came to possess the recipe, who they’ve made it for, cooking mishaps, and even special occasions they’ve prepared it for. With the narratives focused on the dishes, they didn’t shed much light on life in the Amish community as I had hoped. Still, they were interesting and a some were rather humorous. In all, Gather Around the Amish Table earned a good – 3/5 rating.
I received this book free as a member of the Litfuse blogger program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”