(Editor’s Note: This week’s column is written by The Amish Cook editor Kevin Williams)
We are moving into 2021. I think many people will utter the words “good riddance” to the year, a year that was so difficult for so many. For me, 2021 will mark 30 years as editor of The Amish Cook column. That seems utterly insane to me. I was 19 years old when I launched the column with Old Order Amish grandmother, Elizabeth Coblentz. If you had told me back then that I’d still be doing this, in some form, 30 years later, I would have christened you crazy. But here I am.
The Quincy Herald-Whig in Quincy, Ill., remains the place where The Amish Cook has run the longest. But others like Kokomo, Ind., and Cincinnati, Ohio, are not far behind. And we have newer subscribers like Monticello, Ind., and Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
The newspaper industry has changed incredibly since 1991 and I’m not sure anyone knows where it will go from here. Newspapers have shrunk in size and more and more circulation is not measured by print copies but by digital page-views. The Amish Cook racks up more views each week online now than in print. Who would have thought?
But the one constant: you. And I’m grateful.
The Amish have also changed a lot in 30 years. The first sizable group of Amish arrived in the United States in 1720....so the column – I’m rounding – has been published for approximately 10 percent of the entire Amish history in the U.S.A. That’s not insignificant. More and more Amish, for instance, are accepting of photography (a story – I never could confirm it – about an Amish man who would grab the cameras of tourists and run over the cameras with his buggy was popular when I started this in 1991). More and more Amish use photos, indoor plumbing, some even drive cars and the digital world is catching up to the Amish. But even with all of these changes, the Amish remain a bastion and beacon of simplicity and humility which I think we can all emulate a bit.
So while Gloria takes a deserved week off, meantime, enjoy this New Year’s favorite from the Yoders! Sauerkraut is a staple in Amish homes with the arrival of the New Year. You won’t find most Amish people watching the ball the drop or jotting down resolutions. But will find them celebrating the New Year with food. And I heard tales of one elderly Amish man in the Berne, Ind., settlement who would blow on a conch seashell at the stroke of midnight sending out a loud, piercing bellow that spread out through the settlement.
Another way to celebrate is through this amazingly hearty and flavorful dish of sausage and sauerkraut. The custom of sauerkraut as good luck on New Year’s Day cuts across cultures and the Amish is one that seems to enjoy popularity.
Amish Sauerkraut and Sausage:
1 pound bulk sausage
1 large can or bag sauerkraut
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 diced onion
1 cup ketchup
In a large skillet, brown the sausage.
Mix the cooked sausage, sauerkraut, brown sugar, onion, and ketchup in a large bowl and pour into a casserole dish.
Bake at 275 degrees for 4-5 hours.
You may want to add a little water to desired consistency.