Living

Amish Kitchen: Serving as head cook for 1,000 wedding meals leaves Lovina a bit tired

Many neighbors, church members and family brought their buggies to help with food preparation before the wedding of Lovina Eicher’s niece.
Many neighbors, church members and family brought their buggies to help with food preparation before the wedding of Lovina Eicher’s niece. Provided photo

The wedding for Menno and Emma is now history. We wish them a long and happy married life together, with God guiding their way.

Once again, we do all that work for just one day, but it’s a special day they will always remember.

When two become one in a marriage until death do them part, it takes effort from both to make it a happy marriage. My prayer is for every couple to have a blessed marriage.

The cold weather made it harder to prepare for this wedding than for most, but we stayed warm all day. The building in which the tables were set up seemed warm. The wedding wagon (a rented unit in which the food is prepared) was throwing a lot of heat, and with the propane heaters, the building warmed up. Wedding services were held on Friday at their neighbors’ in a big heated building.

Neighbor Laura and I were head cooks, so our job was to make sure we had all the ingredients there to feed about 1,000 people. Six hundred pounds of chicken were grilled by Menno’s uncle. They started at 3:30 a.m. Four hundred pounds of potatoes were bought.

The wedding wagon came with plate settings for 360, but there was only room for 260 plate settings. We needed to save room in the building for heaters and a place to fill the serving bowls of food, which we would have done outside in warm weather.

Laura and I were there Saturday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday before the Friday wedding. Cooks came on Wednesday and Thursday to help prepare food and do jobs that could be done before the wedding day.

Sixty-four pies were baked, the chicken cut up and washed, 30 loaves of bread toasted for dressing, pudding prepared for peanut butter pie and dirt pudding, vegetables diced and shredded, plus so many more jobs completed.

The menu consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, mixed vegetables, lettuce salad, cheese, dinner rolls, fruit topped with Danish dessert, angel food cake, dirt pudding, cherry, pecan and peanut butter pies, and candy bars. Ice cream was added to the menu for the evening meal.

Daughters Verena and Loretta and sons Benjamin and Joseph were table waiters at the wedding (Loretta’s partner was her boyfriend Dustin). Daughter Lovina was a coffee server and son Kevin was a helper. He help pass the guest book around and passed out gifts to the guests such as pens with the bride and groom’s names and wedding date on it and also letter openers with the same on it. Daughters Elizabeth and Susan were cooks and their job was to make the many hundreds of dinner rolls fresh for the noon meal.

With the girls and I being there every day, our laundry kept piling up at home. On Saturday morning, we finally washed our laundry, which was bigger than normal, and then headed over to see if Jacob and Emma still needed help cleaning up.

They had the cleaning up pretty well finished, and Menno and Emma were opening their wedding gifts. This is usually done on the day of the wedding under a tent, but with it being so cold outside, the tent wouldn’t have worked.

I almost liked it better this way, because they could take their time and enjoy opening their gifts. Menno’s family was there to watch them open the gifts. I have to admit that I was tired by Saturday, so I didn’t mind getting out of cleaning up (smile!).

I want to thank my good friend Ruth for all she did to help us with the wedding, and also for penning this column for me last week. My mind was going a thousand different directions, and I couldn’t concentrate to write.

I want to wish my daughter Verena a happy 21st birthday, which was last week. She is a great daughter, and I don’t know what I’d do without her or any of my children. It’s just so hard to believe she’s 21. Her two nieces adore their Aunt Verena.

God’s blessings to all.

Snowball cookies

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

  • 1 3/4 cup flour

  • 1/4 cup walnuts

powdered sugar (for coating cookies)

Directions: Cream butter, sugar, salt and vanilla together. Crush walnuts until fine. Add to butter mixture. Slowly add flour to mixture until combined. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and chill several hours. After chilled, preheat oven to 325 degrees. Drop the dough by small scoops onto parchment-lined cookie sheets. Bake 10 minutes. Let cool, then roll in powdered sugar.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She is the co-author of three cookbooks; her newest cookbook, The Essential Amish Cookbook, is available from 800-245-7894. Readers can write to Eicher at PO Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or at LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org.

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