Editor's Note: There are still cookbooks available. Titles are: "Best of The Amish Cook, Vol. 1", "Best of The Amish Cook, Vol. 2", "The Amish Cook Treasury" and "The Amish Cook's Family Favorites." Each title - shipping included - is $20. Each book is approximately 200 pages with plenty of recipes and stories. The set of four can be purchased for $65. Send order to: Oasis Newsfeatures, PO BOX 2144, Middletown, Ohio 45042. Books will be autographed, Delivery by June 30. All books are packed with facts, stories and tidbits about Amish life, along with plenty of recipes. The Treasury, however, is just recipes, a collection of recipes from Amish, Mennonite, and German Baptist kitchens. Anyone who orders a full set of cookbooks through June 1, 2006 will receive - via FedEx - a free copy of "The Amish Cook Family", a colorful photo-filled coffeetable cookbook when it is released in September 2007. )

On May 10, my sister Susan will celebrate her 30th birthday. To mark the occasion, Susan invited us and some others over to her house on Sunday. She served a homemade pizza and ice cream dinner. In addition to having a good meal, it was also a beautiful day, so the adults did some bicycling and the children were taking pony rides.

My husband Joe gave me a new tri-bike for my upcoming birthday. I didn't expect a gift with the expense building our new house is taking. We grew up in a community where the Amish didn't allow bikes. The Amish here in Michigan do allow them. At almost 35-years-old and after having eight children, I am scared to try a two-wheel bike. I'm afraid I might fall and break a bone. What Joe got me, though, has two wheels in the back and one in front. It really is a smooth riding bike. We have had lots of fun biking together as a family. It's so relaxing to go for a bike ride after a hard day's work. A person doesn't notice the rolling land until you bike.

On Saturday we had our frolic. (Editor' Note: "Frolic" is a term the Amish use to describe a gathering of volunteers that meet to complete a task, often a barn-raising, in this case, the Eicher's house). Most of the second floor has now been framed. Also the 20 x 20 foot added on utility room was framed in.

Now the rafters should be going up this week and maybe the windows. The crew hasn't been here yet this week but they plan to come tomorrow and the rest of the week.

Our neighbor, Marlin, plowed our new garden and now Joe just needs to till it. Maybe I'll get some garden out this week finally, although we have a lot of rocks to pick up first.

On Friday morning we plan to leave at 5 a.m. to attend the wedding in Berne, Indiana for Joe's nephew Clarence. We will come home that evening. I am glad it's on a Friday as Joe won't have to leave for work the next morning. Eight month old Kevin hasn't been feeling too good this week. He seems to have a bad cold, as does our daughter, Lovina. We will leave them with my sisters, Verena and Susan, while we go to the wedding as I am afraid they would get worse if we took them. Our children Verena, Benjamin and Loretta decided to also stay at their aunts house. I'm glad to not have those three missing any more school. Our oldest, Elizabeth and Susan, will go with us to the wedding. It seems they catch up easier with their work. Verena does too but she thinks it'll be fun gong to her aunts house. She loves school so that helps. Sister Emma brought us some rhubarb and winter onions so I need to use the rhubarb up yet. And low and behold, Asparagus is now popping up here and there on the dirt piles around the house. We thought they had been buried by the construction work. So I might still have asparagus. I fixed a meal of fresh asparagus, creamed and added bacon pieces and cheese. Joe likes it served that way. Try it!

ASPARAGUS WITH BACON-CHEESE SAUCE

1 to 1 1/2 pounds fresh asparagus, cooked and drained

2 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

1 cup milk

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup shredded American or mild Cheddar cheese

4 to 6 slices crisp cooked bacon

Melt butter in saucepan; stir in flour until smooth and bubbly. Gradually add milk. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Add salt and cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Pour sauce over hot drained asparagus then sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve hot. Serves four to six people.

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