Let’s talk about the real reason we go on road trips, shall we? Everybody knows it’s the food. The good, the bad, and the total guilty pleasures we’d never consider snacking on at home. I mean, when else am I going to snap into a Slim Jim or freeze my brain cells with a cherry Icee?
There was no shortage of eating on our trip to Amish country, and little of it would impress a dietician or someone concerned with cholesterol levels and clothing size. Please, follow me.
On Friday night, we had dinner at one of the many traditional Amish schmorgasboards, which is basically a fancy European word for “unlimited country buffet”. Amish main meals are typically built around hearty meat dishes like pork chops, ham, meatloaf, fried chicken and roast beef and accompanied by potatoes, buttered noodles, rolls and some vegetables. The meal did not rock my world, but it was a fun experience.
And it’s tough to complain when you’re given a window seat at sunset and this is the view.
On Saturday morning, we got up early (which is pretty much necessary in Lancaster County–seemed like most activities closed by 5) and headed to the Central Market in the city of Lancaster. It’s the oldest farmer’s market in the country where local farmers and bakers sell their wares out of an old brick building.
One Amish guy at a deli counter had a hair net over his beard. He ruled.
The Amish may not have Kindles or “Sex and the City” reruns on demand, but hell if they don’t have fresh herbs.
And candy. Beautiful, rainbow-colored candy.
I loved these bad-ass Hershey Harley’s.
And these super cute “for-dogs-only” doughnuts.
But it was the fresh flowers that really stole the show.
Of course, the Amish are really best known for their baked goods. Unfortunately I didn’t hear about the legendary Amish Friendship Bread until after our visit, but we did manage to try almost everything else.
Whoopie pies are HUGE in Amish country, and we had our fair share.
Shoo-fly pie is also a major Amish specialty. I didn’t try it because anything boasting molasses as a primary flavor is definitely not up my alley. Know what is up my alley? Name-dropping. Prepare yourselves: I totally know the guy who holds the current shoo-fly pie eating world record. His name is “Eater X” and he is expected to defend his title in Lancaster this summer. He also owns the tiramisu-eating record. Do I know people in high places, or what?
Dutch pretzels are also a major player in the Amish food scene.
Get your minds out of the gutter and into this pretzel shop
for a yummy treat. They even give tours and teach you how to twist your own pretzel.
Eating one requires no instruction. I got that down to a science.
As you can imagine, the Amish are also really into canning stuff. Pickles, jams, jellies, salsas and some mysterious pickled delicacy called ‘chow-chow’.
We went to a neat place called Kitchen Kettle Village where they had every imaginable jarred good known to man, and everything was available to sample.
When all was said and done, we drove home with 3 bottles of jam, a jar of apple butter, 1 bottle of pineapple salsa and a big bag of tortilla chips, a half-dozen chocolate chip cookies, 3 whoopie pies, a bag of kettle corn, a two-pound bag of oats and a container of homemade butterscotch peanut butter. I feel like ralphing.