Amish Kitchen: A rousing start to the new year for the Eicher family

A favorite delicacy for the Eicher family after butchering a fresh beef each winter is thinly sliced beef fried in hot oil and eaten fresh out of the pan.
A favorite delicacy for the Eicher family after butchering a fresh beef each winter is thinly sliced beef fried in hot oil and eaten fresh out of the pan. Provided photo

A brand-new year lies before us. What does it hold?

Last year brought us two more grandchildren who bring us joy. But Joe and I each had a brother die unexpectedly, which brought sadness into our lives.

We need to remember that God is in control and to fully put our trust in Him. He knows best and makes no mistakes.

Our year started with our entire family coming for the night on New Year’s Eve. We played games around the kitchen table until midnight. (Sometimes I think I’m getting too old for this!). My bed looks so much more inviting than staying up late in the evening.

Abigail was wide awake at the time the new year arrived and had fun going outside to shout “Happy New Year” to any of the neighbors who were still awake. Of course, the other children outdid her little voice. They decided to go out to the pole barn where our phone is and leave voicemails on some friends’ and families’ phones saying, “Happy New Year!”

The next morning, we had a late breakfast together. Brunch rather. We didn’t do much else other than wash dishes and clean up the house. Games were played and we had fun spoiling the little ones. Baby Timothy is so sweet to hold. Abigail and Jennifer on the other hand take up way more energy to entertain. So precious to us.

Church services were held at Jacob and Emma’s house on Sunday. Joe and I went to assist them with their work the Thursday before. I’m sure they are ready to relax now that their daughter’s wedding and hosting church services are over.

Baby Timothy, just weeks old, will wear warm hat, coat and mittens for his buggy rides to Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Provided photo

We hosted the Christmas gathering for our Michigan family. Every year Jacob and Emma, and Joe and I take turns hosting the gathering of the four sisters here in the community.

Since our extended family gets together in the summer months now, it is nice to get together with those in our community. We are now a total of 27.

We got together on Sunday for a brunch and gift exchange. We also played games after the dishes were washed; snacks were served in the afternoon before everyone left for home.

Son Benjamin, 19, return to work at the RV factory on Tuesday. Son Kevin, 13, and daughter Lovina, 14, went back to school on Monday. My husband Joe has another week off. It’s not often that he has three weeks off for Christmas.

Although it’s nice to get work done around home, it’s harder to not have a paycheck for three weeks. Joe has been at this factory 14 years. In March it will be 15 years since we moved here from Indiana. The years go by much too fast.

Joe and our sons-in-law were disappointed to not go on their ice-fishing trip last week, but I’m sure it was smarter with the weather being warmer than usual. Our weather has been warmer than most winters and no snow over the holidays. Usually, we can go sledding in the fields this time of year.

Now that the holidays are over, we think of work — or so it seems. Sons Benjamin, Joseph, Joe and I recently cut up the beef we had hanging in the cold part of the pole barn. What a big job but I think we did well even though we were all tired by night time.

Of course, we couldn’t do that without having what we call rare beef for supper. We slice steak thin and put salt and black pepper on both sides, and then deep fry it in oil. The oil has to be really hot; then take a slice and stir once, flip and stir again and it’s ready to eat.

Usually I make it while they eat it. It’s best to eat fresh from the pan. It’s a greasy job but a favorite meat around here. Our children like eating Colby cheese with it.

Today the hamburger will be ground, steaks sliced, beef chunks canned and I will also can some hamburger. The rest will be packaged for the freezer. It looks like another busy day.

The girls did the housework, folded laundry, etc., while we worked on the beef. I enjoyed coming back to a clean house after working out in the pole barn all day. But we are so thankful for the meat to put in the freezer for the year ahead. So many are less fortunate.

Next week our church members who are able will help can meat to send to other countries or to those who have no food.

God bless everyone.

Apple butter cake

  • Apple butter cake

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup soft butter

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 cup apple butter

Directions: Sift flour and spices and set aside. Cream butter and sugar together, then add eggs and beat thoroughly. Add flour and spice mix to the butter, sugar, and egg mixture, alternately with buttermilk. Then stir in apple butter and pour into greased 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 55-65 minutes.

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, “The Essential Amish Cookbook,” is available from the publisher, Herald Press, 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 email and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.