Monday, June 17, 2013


Simply Delicious Amish Cooking:

Recipes and stories from the Amish of Sarasota, Florida

Sherry Gore
Zondervan Non-Fiction


Unbeknownst to many folks outside the Amish Mennonite population in America, Pinecraft, Florida---a village tucked away in the heart of Sarasota---is the vacation paradise of the Plain People. Unlike any other Plain community in the world, this village is a virtual melting pot of Amish and Mennonites from around the world, intermingled with people, like author Sherry Gore's family, who live there year-round. Gore has put together a cookbook that represents the people who make Pinecraft unique. With hundreds of easy-to-prepare recipes, 16 full-color photographs and black-and-white photographs throughout, this cookbook includes traditional favorites such as Sweet Potato Sweet Mash and Mrs. Byler's Glazed Donuts, as well as Florida favorites including Fried Alligator Nuggets, Grilled Lime Fish Fillets, and Strawberry Mango Smoothies. Interspersed with the recipes are true-life stories about births, engagements, weddings, deaths, funerals, celebrations, wildlife encounters, and accidents told through years of Sherry's Letters from Home column published in The Budget, the Amish newspaper. This delightful cookbook offers readers a faith-based, family-focused perspective of the simple way of life of the Plain People. It is truly a breath of fresh air from Sarasota, Florida!
Meet Sherry

Sherry Gore is a caregiver, storyteller, writer, accidental editor of The Pinecraft Pauper, author of Taste of Pinecraft, and owner of a double barrel shotgun. She's a non-resistant Christian and loves pie.

Sherry is a year-round resident of beautiful, sun-kissed Sarasota, Florida, the vacation paradise of the Plain People. She shares her home with her children and pet miniature wiener dog. She is a member of a Beachy Amish Mennonite Church.
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Reader review . . . 
All Amish do not live in Pennsylvania, and all Amish do not eat only German-influenced foods.  Their communities can be found all over North America, and one of the more unusual locales is Pinecraft, Florida where they, like everyone else in the area, enjoy seafood and the occasional alligator meat.  They also continue to cook traditional dishes handed down through the generations.  

This cookbook, which in the print copy is a spiral-bound edition, includes anecdotes of local life in Pinecraft and excerpts from Ms. Gore's column in The Budget.  The recipes have been compiled from various Amish contributors with credit given to each one.  The book has the comfortable feel of a church cookbook, and the recipes would be welcome at any church dinner or family reunion.  

I tried several recipes while working on this review, and all were winners.  One was "Savory Fish Filets" (p.147).  Using only cream of celery soup, shredded cheddar cheese, and paprika, this was a simple entree and surprisingly delicious.  I even substituted tilapia for the flounder, and it still turned out good.

Another favorite was Ruby Zehr's "Spaghetti Sauce" (p.120).  The sauce was spicier than my usual spaghetti sauce, and my husband declared it to be a keeper.

Spaghetti Sauce
 12 ounces tomato paste          1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon sweet basil             1 clove garlic or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
6 ounces V-8 juice                       1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon oregano                   1/2 cup V-8 juice
 1 pint stewed tomatoes
Combine all ingredients, except 1/2 cup V-8 juice, in a 6-quart stockpot, and simmer on low heat 1 hour.  As it thickens, add the 1/2 cup V-8 juice.  Makes 8 cups.
"Anna's Barbecue" (p.116) was good, but I wouldn't actually call it barbecue. I knew from reading the recipe that it would be similar to homemade Sloppy Joes, and it was.  Not a disappointment, you understand, just slightly mislabeled.

Overall, this is a nice cookbook.  I think many readers could be disappointed by the non-stereotypical Amish recipes, but it only serves to remind us that the Amish, like all of us, are a diversified group who cannot be pigeonholed.  Personally, I liked it enough that I intend to order a copy for my own use.

4 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”  


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