By Gloria Yoder
The Amish Cook
The sun is shining, ah how wonderful. Yes, it’s cold and breezy, but the sun is shining. After months of minimal sunshine, each cheery day in the great outdoors is quite welcome. The children love curling up inside the south kitchen windows as the gentle rays kiss their cheeks, giving them a sense of quietness and rest.
As I write, so much is churning all around us. There is confusion, hopelessness, and despair, trying to seep in throughout the world. What can we do? We can talk and talk, debate till midnight, and even have the right answers, but in the end, what can we do? Really what can we do? Disaster strikes, you wonder whether the peace and safety in the nation will hold together another week or even for a day. So what can we do? I’m just an ordinary little housewife and mother. I cannot change the world, no matter how hard I try.
My mind keeps going back to my little ones basking in the sun, soaking up the gentle rays. Then I ponder, “What happens when I rest in the rays of the Father’s love that is streaming down, through his Son?” Or am I perhaps too knotted up to even think of basking in His love for me during these traumatic times? I know there have been too many times when I couldn’t soak up his love beams in my heart, simply because I was too occupied with trying to work things out on my own. It’s those times I end up in despair, wondering how I could ever come out on top again, and life looks chilling cold, hardly even worth the fight to live. As I muster the courage to simply call out, “Jesus!” his rays of love gently warm my troubled being. Now like Hosanna inside the window, soaking in all the sun she can get, I find myself turning toward the Son of God to comfort my heart with His warmth I never imagined possible.
Now, as I think of sunshine in my life, it gives me the urge to be a ray of sunshine in others’ lives. Something that adds sunshine to my children’s day is to help mom make something special for Daddy. Honestly, I enjoy it having them all in the kitchen with me. Yet, since it takes so much more time when coordinating a bigger project with five or six little helpers, I tend to do at least some of my cooking and baking when several children are at play or napping.
Today will be different. I will need all of their help to help me with the recipe Hosanna requested a week ago that I shared with you. Our project will consist of making Old-Fashioned Super Soft Homemade Pretzels. Austin says he’s going to make one in the shape of a house. Hosanna will undoubtedly want an “H” for Hosanna, as she is really getting into letter names. Yesterday two-year-old Elijah made an “E” all by himself for the first time, so he’ll go for that, I’m sure.
Old-fashioned super soft homemade pretzels
4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 cup milk
½ cup warm water
2 teaspoons butter
Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.
Heat milk; add water and butter.
Mix in flour mixture.
Reserve 1/4 cup for glaze.
Add rest of eggs and enough flour to form a soft dough.
Let rise one hour.
Punch down and shape into a short rope and make a pretzel (or whatever shapes you like).
Place pretzels a few inches apart on a greased cookie sheet.
Allow to rise another 30 minutes, then brush lightly with beaten egg, then sprinkle with pretzel salt. Save excess salt in the bottom of pretzel bags to sprinkle on top.
Bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven, dip into melted butter. Serve hot, with cheese sauce.
Yields approximately 24 soft pretzels.
Gloria Yoder is an Amish mom, writer, and homemaker in rural Illinois. The Yoders travel primarily by horse-drawn buggy and live next to the settlement’s one-room school-house. Readers can write to Gloria at 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427.