Monday, December 01, 2008

Stuff I Saw in Amish Country on Saturday

A young woman gave us a guided tour of the farmhouse, and filled us in on the history and customs of the Old Order Amish. The Amish broke away from the Mennonites in the 17th century because they didn't think the Mennonites were strict enough.

We learned about the custom of Rumspringa, where Amish teenagers run around in the modern world sewing their wild oats. Then they either come back and settle down or they get shunned. And you thought your parents disapproved of your lifestyle!

My friends and I had lunch at a smorgasbord the size of a football field. Since the Amish, unlike the Hasidim, have no dietary restrictions, they go to restaurants frequented by outsiders. So when you're lining up at the buffet you see a bunch of regular suburban families in fleece hoodies and baseball caps, and then a bunch of Amish people in the hats or the bonnets. The line looked like a casting call for Witness.

There were also a lot of Mennonites at the smorgasbord. The women had skirts above their ankles. Those hussies!

I enjoyed a meal that included creamed dried corn, bratwurst and shoo-fly pie.

I realized that all ethnic cuisine, including Pennsylvania Dutch, was invented by people who pushed a plow all day instead of sitting on their fat behinds in a cubicle.

I realized that I could be Amish, maybe: The black clothes and the minimalism, yes; the shunning, not so much.

It's been a while since I've had news from the land of Intercourse.

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