The Amish Kitchen

Dear readers,

I’m Lovina’s youngest daughter (also Lovina). I feel very privileged to share the same name as my mom. I’m proud of how far she has come in life and hope to maybe write a newspaper column someday like she does.

It’s a lot different being the only girl living at home right now. I like to label myself as “Manager of the House” because I do my duty of keeping the boys in line. I even check their rooms to make sure they’re clean.

The other night, I was cleaning brother Ben’s room and saw he had water bottles stuck in between the window and the screen. I couldn’t understand what they were doing there, but he later explained he gets thirsty through the night and sticking the water bottles outside the window keeps them cold in the wintertime.

When I get thirsty at night, I just walk to the fridge and grab my water bottle, but he decided to “work smarter not harder.” At the end of the day, I got a good laugh, and he got a clean room. On the bright side, I have personality traits other than being a “bossy” sister.

I do miss having sisters here at home, but I’m just thankful all four of my sisters are alive and healthy. I also learned if I ask really, really nicely, brothers do help with dishes.

I look forward to decorating Christmas cookies, and I definitely look forward to eating them. Christmas is my favorite holiday and not because we all get gifts but because of what it stands for.

Mom won’t be home in time to make supper, so she left me with doing the honors. I considered asking her if peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will work but figured my three brothers and dad would protest against that. So instead, I decided to make Barry Salt Casserole. It is one of my favorites and also very easy.

There is a story behind the name of this casserole: Barry Salt was a man who sold stainless steel cookware sets to the Amish families when my mom was a young girl. Mom’s sister, Leah, and a cousin of Mom’s would go along when Barry would make supper for the families to show how to use the waterless (no cooking liquid required) cookware. He would make this casserole in a skillet, and it became a favorite of my mom’s family — which then was nicknamed “Barry Salt Casserole.” Leah and her cousin would help wash the dishes for him after supper.

Today has been exactly a year since my sister’s husband, Mose, passed away. We miss him every day. It’s been a long, lonely year for Susan. Mose was a great husband to her and an amazing father to their kids.

Mom wanted to do something special for Susan, so she took Susan and the kids out to eat. My sister, Verena, also accompanied them. Jennifer and Ryan have gotten very attached to her since she moved in with Susan.

The other day, Mom and I went Christmas shopping. I think she was doing some shopping for me, too, because when I showed a special interest in something, it magically ended up in the cart.

When I asked her who she bought it for, she said, “Probably Kevin.” Although she sounded very convincing, I doubt Kevin started taking a sudden interest in women’s sweaters.

It’s hard to believe this year is coming to an end. Life goes so fast, and if this year taught me anything, it is that we might not have our loved ones as long as we want.

So, I’d just like to mention I’m so thankful for my family and friends. I’m also very thankful special friend Daniel is a big part of my life.

Merry Christmas to all! God bless!

Lovina’s Amish Kitchen is written by Lovina Eicher, Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. Her newest cookbook, “Amish Family Recipes,” is available wherever books are sold. Readers can write to Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (please include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply), or email, and your message will be passed on to her to read. She does not personally respond to emails.