I live smack-dab in the middle of new Amish country. I have been told that these guys have sold their farms out east and are migrating here to Wisconsin. They are everywhere! Simple farms with those clothes lines that stretch from the house to the barn, neat flowerbeds and gardens with roughly hand painted signs for their wares (NO SUNDAY SALES) out front.
I am not even going to pretend to be an expert on the Amish people–but we have become acquainted with some delightful folk, Mrs B. sells bread, cookies, pies, rolls and whoopie pies (the boy’s fave) out of her side porch on Fridays and Saturdays. Mrs B. and her children always greet us warmly and a few times we found them at the lake when we were all trying to escape the sweltering heat. Mrs. B. has a sister whose family sells garden goods. I love to stop and get whatever is ready–starting with asparagus and ending with squash. I love to see the barefoot boys get all excited when the Tahoe heads down the driveway. We come away with fresh bright eggs, new potatoes, berries and anything else you can grow around here!
One evening the Hubs and his brother (both rather “hulking” figures) decided after watching a barn raising that they needed some straw hats to protect the now hairless tops of their heads. We drove to the hat-makin’ Amish family. A leery yet gracious tiny man came out to meet the Hansons…his friendly wife Sarah measured their heads and charged them $12.00 bucks for custom hand-braided straw hats. The Amish boys laugh at them because they don’t wear a band around and they look “naked”. The Hubs sported his at the Iowa State Fair last year and we got the hairy eyeball from “real” Amish enjoying the corndogs and butter cow just like us.
So last fall I got fresh turkeys! I loved them! Mrs. A (with 15 children) asked if I wanted some chickens come spring…ummm yeah! She gives me a date months in the future and tells me to arrive at 2:00pm–I order 4, write it on the calender and go on with life. I arrive on the appointed day and I feel like I am stepping into an episode of Law & Order–there is a cauldren bubbling away, a board with a nail bent, an ax and chicken heads EVERYWHERE… I am a big girl and a foodie but I am a little shocked! Some of the girls run out to greet me. One of the girls gives me my parcel–4 fresh chickens that saw the sun rise and she says, “Momma said to give the nice Anglish lady this”–then she handed me an extra bag of giblets…wow, I don’t know what to say. Did you know real chicken that is fed cracked corn and roams about is fat and meaty and YELLOW? Ya’ know–the color of the Styrofoam that chicken is normally displayed upon in the meat department at your local grocer. So, here I am this gal from Kankakee with a very large bag of chickens…and this is what I made:
Chicken and Dumplins
Kickin Fried Chicken
White Chicken Chili
Tune in later this week and I will give you my recipes and secrets!