Amish Cook: Camping trip full of fun, relaxation and great food

The Amish Cook - Gloria Yoder
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We’re actually settled into our new home, and yes we love it! OK, I can’t say that I don’t have some things that need to be organized yet, like the armoire for example. When my mom needed something in it, I told her, “Get it with your eyes shut!” Of course she knew how I meant it; it simply takes time to get all these corners done.

Several days after moving to our new house, we had a very rare privilege of going on a camping trip with no responsibilities, that is, except our own family.

Let me explain a bit. Our church had a benefit auction where folks donated all sorts of things such as quilts, crafts and baked goods. We were among the fortunate ones who purchased a certificate to go camping with Tim Zehrs and Lois Weaver. This certificate included everything it takes for a primitive camping trip such as firewood to do the cooking, the food, activities and simply taking care of everything.

Talking about some good timing. We really needed the time to just relax and unwind and simply enjoy each other’s presence. My husband, Daniel, suggested that my parents take care of Jesse and Rayni, while the rest of us went camping. It seems like I’m the biggest “baby” sometimes, not being sure if I can make it without them and worrying whether they’ll be OK or not. It worked out great; in fact, by the time we got up the next morning we were ready to have Rayni with us, knowing how much she would enjoy the water. Thanks to my sisters who dropped her off at camp, which was several miles from home on one of the Amish folk’s property. Yes, our camp spot was right next to a nice pond, perfect for kayaking (a favorite of ours) as well as swimming and fishing.

That reminds me of a question that came up recently: “Do the Amish swim, and what do they wear when they do so?” Okay, so our policy is guys swim with guys, and ladies with ladies. While clothes such as dresses are not as convenient in the water, modesty still takes top priority for us. We have what we call “swim dresses” that are made just a bit differently from regular dresses and work well to go swimming on a hot summer day.

Back to the camping trip. Before we left, Daniel told me, “We sure won’t have to worry about a lack food.” I knew he was correct. The Zehrs come from Allen County Ind., and the Amish community there is known for their delicious food and outstanding hospitality. Now add the two together and you really have something cooking. I’ll tell you what; it wasn’t a disappointment at all. As we drove into camp with the tractor and trailer loaded with our sleeping bags, fish lines, a tent and extra clothes, my eyes just kept absorbing the scene before me; next to the pond was a canopy with a table laden with all sorts of foods and supplies for the day ahead. Ice chests were graced with a variety of drinks and many other goodies. Five tiki torches surrounded the camp sight, and to the side, Lois was erecting a tent for the girls, including Julia, to sleep in. On the pond bank were four kayaks ready to go. It really looked too good to be true.

It didn’t take me long to get settled down on a camp chair where I held Elijah, and together we just relaxed and let the world go by. After a while, it started sprinkling a bit. Soon the drizzling turned to rain, which resulted in everyone huddling under the two 12-foot by 12-foot canopies. It didn’t take the men long to come up with a brilliant idea. They simply picked up the canopy they were under and carried it to the bank of the pond and went right on fishing. After an hour or so, the sun was shining and we were ready for some more kayak rides. Lois had also brought her paint riding horse along and gave some of the children horseback rides, much to their delight.

By 6 p.m., we were ready to eat supper. Now talk about a meal and a half. My, they could have had half the variety and it would have been plenty. Baked potatoes and shish kabobs with shrimp, mushrooms, onions, peppers and sausage bites were grilled over an open fire along with burgers for sandwiches. For dessert, they served attractive fruit skewers with strawberries, pineapples, watermelon, kiwis and grapes along with homemade Reese’s cookie bars. Mmmm … I can still almost taste the delicious variety. For breakfast the next morning, we had french toast, scrambled eggs, bacon and orange juice. Since the guys had caught a bunch of fish, we decided to all stay there until the afternoon and have fresh fish for lunch. Fishing ranked on the top of Austin’s favorit activities; he was constantly begging for Daddy to help him.

By midafternoon, we were ready to go back to our new home, and, of course, I was all excited to see little Jesse dear again. He was delighted to see us again and had done wonderfully at grandma’s.

Campfire shish kabobs

Mushrooms

Sweet peppers

Onions

Shrimp

Bacon

Pineapple

Italian dressing

Cut everything into one-inch chunks and marinate in Italian dressing for a couple hours. Next, slide onto a shish kabob skewer or a weiner stick. Alternate items, such as an onion chunk, then a mushroom, a pineapple bite and a shrimp. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Roast over a fire until meat is done. Also you can use whatever meats or veggies you like. Use what ever strikes your fancy.

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The Amish Cook

Gloria Yoder

Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at her new address: Gloria Yoder, 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.

Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write Gloria directly at her new address: Gloria Yoder, 10510 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.