Monday, March 22, 2010

Amish Wedding Feast Minus Bride And Groom

Only a bride and groom were missing Saturday from a wedding feast prepared by Old Order Amish couples to benefit fire company. Here's the recipe for an Amish wedding feast in Paradise:Roast chicken with filling and gravy, mashed potatoes, creamed celery, cole slaw, roll, applesauce, fruit salad, doughnut, apple or cherry pie, ice cream, lemonade.Plus gravy and butter. As much as you can eat. No-frills farm food served with red paper napkins and smiles all around."To me this is real food, not like so much of what you get in a restaurant," said George Book, who attended the Paradise-Leaman Place Fire Company "Authentic Amish Wedding Dinner" Saturday evening."This is more like home cooking," agreed his wife, Nancy.The Books live on Belmont Road, about two miles from the fire station. They each ate their $12 worth of dinner sitting in the banquet hall next to an engine room cleared for cooking. Others took enormous bags of takeout home with them.The volunteer firefighters began serving what seems to be Lancaster County's only Amish-dinner fundraiser two years ago. It draws many area residents, some tourists and a few people in between.Ken Stalter and his family drove over from Phoenixville, Chester County. They wanted to compare the Paradise meal to the wedding dinner served at the Honey Brook Fire Hall."Everything is really good," said Stalter, "except for the creamed celery."Not everyone shares Stalter's taste in celery."People do eat the creamed celery," exclaimed Chris Beiler, an Amish firefighter who organizes the fund-raiser each year. "It takes a lot of celery. I mean a lot of celery. It takes a heck of a lot of celery."As well as 40 roasting chickens, 300 pounds of potatoes, 44 heads of cabbage, etc., etc.All produced by a couple dozen Old Order Amish couples, dressed in bright-colored dresses and shirts and black everything else, cranking out the chicken casserole and mashing the potatoes in the vacated engine room."The married couples do the serving at weddings," Beiler explained, "so that's the way we do it here."Amish make up more than half of the company's active firefighters, so finding church members to volunteer for fundraisers is not difficult.And they are happy to discuss the tradition of Amish wedding feasts with visitors.Amish weddings in Lancaster County begin in late October and, with a break for winter weather, continue through March. Serving and eating the wedding dinner is an essential part of the celebration."Eating in the fire hall is a way to experience the culture," explained Stacy Herman, the fire company's treasurer."Without getting married," added Beiler.Among Saturday's diners were a number of people who have left the church."A lot of former Amish come. They want to stay in touch with their roots," Beiler said.But that's not why most people eat this food. Three bags of takeout in hand, Paradise resident Ann Eshleman succinctly explained why the fund-raiser is so popular."I don't have to cook and it's a good meal and the money goes to the fire company," she said."My wife will eat anything to get out of the kitchen," joked Floyd Thompson, who included the Paradise Fire Hall in an unusual weekend itinerary.Thompson drove from Unionville, Chester County, to take out food at Paradise and then went on to the Caernarvon Fire Hall for a sit-down turkey dinner. He's saving the Paradise food for Sunday supper.Nevin and Ruth Hershey, who live half a mile from the fire hall on Oak Hill Drive, attended the event because their grandson, Neal, is a Paradise firefighter.Also, they really like the food."We've been at some Amish weddings," Hershey said. "This is just as good, if not better. I ate my share of it."For diners who did not "eat themselves full," Ada Ruth Beiler, Chris Beiler's granddaughter, was selling homemade chocolate Easter eggs for 50 cents each.Those who could wedge one in beside the doughnut, pie and ice cream said they were delicious.

1 comment:

  1. Can you tell me if this will be happening this March?