Thursday, May 21, 2015

Called to Be Amish Book Review and Recipe

I wasn't sure about this Amish book because isn't of the normal Amish fiction, it was Amish non-fiction.  What a true story from the Amish?  I was skeptical but interested so I decided that I should read it and get an opinion from the actual book.  Who isn't interested in the Amish and how someone would have joined them?  I was!!! Called to Be Amish: My Journey from Head Majorette to the Old Order by  Marlene C. Miller was an retelling on one women's life who left a "normal" life to be part of the Old Order sect, her husband was a former member.

Fewer than one hundred people have joined the Old Order Amish and stayed since 1950. Marlene C. Miller is one of them. In this rare memoir, Marlene recounts her unhappy and abusive childhood, how she throws herself into cheerleading and marching band, and how she falls in love with Johnny, the gentle young Amish man who helps her lace her ice skates. Against the wishes of both sets of parents, Marlene and Johnny get married and begin a family. Follow the author on this unusual journey to find out how God's love called her out of bitterness and depression and into the warm embrace of her new Amish community. Accompany her as she dons an Amish dress and prayer covering and gets baptized. Learn how she endures the strain of ten children, a hundred-acre farm, and accidents and tragedy, and find out how she comes close to walking away from it all. Turning Amish has proven to be anything but plain and simple for this former majorette. But nearly fifty years later, Marlene is still living out God's call as an Old Order Amish woman.

The beginning of the book was a little hard to read going back and forth between parts of Marlene's life.  I was afraid that I was going to have to fight to get through the book.  Then everything changed and I got into the book and couldn't put it down.  I am at a mixed opinion on what type of rating to give this book because at the end, I was glad that I read it but at the beginning I was afraid I wasn't going to be able to get through the whole book so I am in between it was OK and I liked it.  It is worth reading because there is lots of information about the Amish community that Marlene joins and learning the difference between fact and fiction.  The parts that I didn't like about it was the parts where Marlene says how patient Johnny (her husband) was with her because she was so bad at being Amish.  She gave up her whole life to become closer to his family and faith and she spends all of the time saying how bad she is at cooking, cleaning, taking care of 9 kids and farming.  I know people can be hard on themselves but it is a little much to read over and over in a book.  The other part was more of an implication that she became Amish because her parents abused her.  There are plenty of people that have been abused and don't turn to the Amish so that is a silly conclusion but everyone upbringing affects them so I can certainly understand that she made decisions based on her past that lead her to her current life.  Overall, the story was heartwarming about how she found her place in the world and very sad with some of the trials that she went through but I enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who won't give up at the beginning of the book because the journey is worth the read.  I hope that you pick this up at your local library or bookstore and see what you think!

In addition, the back has a few fun recipes including some that I know I will never make mixed with a few that I just might.  She has Amish Dressing, Scrapple, Old-Fashion Date Pudding, Potato Doughnuts, Puffball or Quick Tea Doughnuts, and Dampf Knepp (Caramel Dumplings).  The two that are most interesting to me are, of course, the doughnuts. I went straight to the internet to see if there was anyone else out there making these tasty treats and found one here.  She suggests a little thinner batter so I am going to try it out and see and so can you with the following recipe.  The recipe for Mashed Potato Doughnuts seem to be all over the place on the internet so I am going to make a note of this one and see if I get a chance to make them.

Puffball or Quick Tea Doughnuts

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
2 c. milk
2 Tbsp. melted fat (or canola oil)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour (plus more later in recipe directions)

Beat eggs.  Add sugar and milk.  Add dry ingredients together and into the liquid.  Beat thoroughly and add melted fat.

Add more flour to make a batter stiff enough to hold a spoon in a standing position. (I found that made pret-ty dense puff balls. I add flour to make it like stiff pancake batter, or the same consistency as corn fritter batter. That makes much better puffballs!) Drop by spoonfuls into deep fat at 375 degrees.  Remove when brown and drain on absorbent paper.  This makes approx. 4 dozen.

**I received a copy of this book for my honest opinion and review from the publisher.

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