Saturday, January 16, 2010
Winter Breakfast, Plain and Simple
In the early autumn of last year, DH and I went looking for a country-styled furniture store we had heard about that was about 25 miles north of us. Once we turned off the main highway and began to travel a side road deep in to rich farmland, we began to notice the yellow horse and buggy signs. Veering off on a graveled lane and crossing a low-water bridge, we ended up smack dab on an Amish farm. Sitting along side a perfectly manicured garden was a metal building housing an Amish business that sold Amish furniture from Ohio and bulk foods. The woman clerking sold me some tapioca, bulk oat bran, and some unrefined salt. She said we had just missed the community breakfast and invited us to come to the next one.
The temperature had crawled up to the high thirties, making the land look like a spring thaw. There was a marriage of mud and leftover snow on the road shoulders. Once off the main road, the country side road was softer than Play Dough; a slide off in the ditch could have been axle deep mud. Three quarters of a mile down this narrow road, a right turn took you onto an Amish farm. Continuing on, passing the assembly of horses and buggies, we found the breakfast being held in a huge structure used for constructing smaller farm buildings. We parked, waded across thick, oozing mud and met earlier eaters leaving while carrying an armload of baked goods. “The doughnuts are extra good this morning,” said the man in farm clothing and cap, a satisfied smile on his lips.
Just inside the door, a sea of shades in black, ecru, purple and aqua unfolded. It looked like room wrapped in the rich colors of a velvet quilt. The bearded faces of men in bowl hair cuts helped the women with heads all covered in the same white cap, strings tied under their chins. Three rows of workers were set up at stations cracking eggs and stirring biscuits, flipping pancakes or frying on gas ranges, or serving from a long buffet table. Eaters got their own plates and sat at benches family style. The sausage was obviously Amish made and delicious. The biscuits were flaky, and pancakes were perfect. On all the bench tables were plates of warm, freshly fried doughnuts that were outstanding. The men and young boys were helping to cook, serve, and wipe tables along side the women. Dishes were being washed in another corner of the cement floored building. I had a nice visit with a young Amish girl who was eating her own breakfast before taking a turn at working at the food tables. After a wonderful breakfast with these gentle people, we peeked at the baked goods for sale and brought home some bread and a pumpkin roll. It was hard to leave the pies, fried pies and doughnuts that were left!
The buffalo and wildlife, like the Amish farmers, were spending a winter day eating, resting, and socializing before spring weather and work returned. Neither was bothered by the ankle deep mud and misty air, as there was more winter yet to come.