Well I did try this and it wasn't too bad - not as nice as Butterscotch pie but almost got that butterscotch flavour. I think its made with condensed milk but its a concoction that was invented to keep okay without having to be in the refrigerator - either before they were invented or in traditional Amish folks homes, without a refrigerator.
You will see many family farms worked by the families and their children. I understand that most children are able to fully run their family's farm by the time they're thirteen or fourteen. With the number of children they have, the parents can "retire" to running gift shops, etc. while their very capable children tend the animals and the crops.
This photo was taken outside of Shady Maple Smorgasboard Restaurant in New Holland, Rt. 23. If you want to taste Pennsylvania-Dutch cooking, this is a good place. There's plenty to be had here!
Although we don't live in Lancaster County, our local area north and slightly west of Philadelphia has a strong Mennonite influence. Although our family is not Mennonite, I spent a large portion of my elementary school years in a Christian Mennonite school, so I learned a lot about the culture.
The Mennonites have a wide range of religious persuasion - from those who live close to their Amish brothers' ways by traveling in horse and buggies, etc. to very liberal in religious and political convictions.
We were told that the Amish children have until age 21 to determine whether they will continue in the Amish faith or not. A lot of behaviour is excused until then. A friend of mine saw a young Amish boy in traditional dress pull his horse and buggy into a garage and a short time later re-appeared in jeans and a flannel shirt, driving a convertible.
At age 21, we understand that they must settle down in the Amish ways or be excommunicated from the family circle; however, if they choose to attend a Mennonite church instead, they can then run as far as liberal and chances are this will still be accepted by the family.
Perhaps what you have heard is not always what you see or what "you get" when you observe these cultures. You may see an Amish man climbing into the passenger-side of a mini-van. This is because, while they may not DRIVE a car or have electricity in their homes, they don't necessarily have a problem letting their neighbors take them to the doctor, shopping, or other places. They may store their meat in their neighbor's freezer. And, it is entirely possible that they may have and use generators or propane gas!
Traditional Amish and Mennonite families are usually large (although not always) and are easy to spot by their dress, by the clothes on their clotheslines, by the way they travel, and by (believe it or not) the window shades in their homes.
The traditional dress is easy to distinguish: Amish women wear brightly-colored under-dresses covered by a black apron and black bonnets or white, mesh caps. Amish men wear black pants and vests, usually have beards, and hats - either straw (summer) or black (winter). The Mennonite women wear a particular style of dress with a type of "bib" covering to the waist and is usually made of a cotton print or gingham and a smaller, white, mesh covering. I have seen a young Mennonite girl, however, wearing a dress in traditional style made of pink satin. It was an unusual sight. As you travel through the Lancaster countryside, be looking for their LONG clotheslines. You will begin to see what types of clothes they wear, if not their entire wardrobes!
A common misunderstanding is that the Amish drive BLACK buggies behind their handsome horseflesh; however, it is the traditional MENNONITE who drive black buggies. The Amish have gray buggies. (By the way, be careful to avoid the "mud-pies" left by the horses in more places than alongside the road. There are tethering places at shopping areas for horses, and what they leave behind is not always confined to those areas!)
Look for pull-down windowshades in the color of forest green in the windows. It is my understanding that these signify Amish homes. I'm not sure whether the traditional Mennonites follow the green-shade rule as well.
This photograph was taken in Strasburg. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing an Amish horse-and-buggy going through a modern bank's drive-thru, stopping at the window to do their banking.
Early redware pottery is duplicated in a number of states...and perhaps around the world. In Pennsylvania, the redware pottery which I liked the best was made by a potter named Foltz. His work can be found in several places throughout the Lancaster County. We searched for his studio and found a charming little place hidden away in the country...unfortunately the studio was not open for touring when we got there, but we had a nice chat with Ned Foltz. You can learn about his work at:
The Ephrata Cloister Associates have maintained this fascinating 1700's religious settlement which is now a National Historic Landmark in Lancaster County. It's a beautiful site, with simple but elegant architecture, and an amazing story about the people who built and settled here. I would highly recommend the tour. Their museum store is excellent....there is a reception building with mini theater to acquaint you with the settlement, and you will find rest facilities here as well.
In many Mennonite/Moravian homes the very first Christmas decoration that appears is usually the Christmas Star or Advent Star. (Sometimes called the Herrnhut Star.)
This many pointed star (26 points) is carefully hung in a porch or hallway of the home on the first Sunday in Advent. It is always lighted to welcome visitors and friends.
Apparently the Moravian Star originated in Herrnhut in approximately 1850 and the inventor of the star is unknown. Smaller Moravian stars are used as ornaments, but regardless of size or composition the Moravian Star sends a loving and meaningful message.
It represents the star the wiseman followed. At Christmas time in Lancaster these stars hang in the doorway of many, many homes. It is a beautiful sight.
Telephones and window curtains are not allowed in the home and you won?t find any rugs unless they are in a spare room or parlor. Carpets and other comforts and conveniences involving extravagance are avoided, this includes electricity.
There are no musical instruments, and photographs or taking of photographs are forbidden by the old families especially. Children's dolls have no facial features. Full sized bicycles are also not allowed as they are seen to bring too much mobility and freedom.
Lancaster County is best known for its Amish and Mennonite roots and there's no doubt that this is a conservative and religious area, so be respectful of the values of the locals.
You can easily drive to any point within Lancaster County in an hour or less. The county is 46 miles wide at its widest point and 43 miles long at its longest point.
In Rome do Roman. In Lancaster do Amish. A good way to not be considered as a tourist. Do you agree ?