HomePosts Tagged "Amish"

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to love like a prepper. They are simple folk, trying to live a very simple life; some may call them minimalists, but I can’t see why they’re mock just because they chose to live without electronic gadgets, electricity, and as far away as possible from the hustle and bustle of the city. I would be lying If I were to say that I’m envious about their life choices.

Yes, I am a prepper and, even more than that, a person who’s ready to sacrifice comfort for safety, if the situation demands it, but not willingly. Sure, I can make do without a tablet, the latest Samsung Galaxy with four motion-triggered cameras or going to the cinema every weekend to see a movie, but there are some things I just can’t part with (well, not right away).

Anyway, the other day, as I was taking my daughter back from school, I stopped at a light downtown. Even though it was well after two o’clock, the traffic was downright infernal – you know what that means; lots and lots of patience. So, while standing there, waiting for the green light, I noticed that the driver on my right side kept sliding his hand out of the window in an attempt to snap a picture.  Nothing curious about that considering that, sometimes, becoming stuck in a traffic jam brings out the artist inside all of us.

However, the man kept on doing this, whilst talking to someone on the driver’s seat. When I looked in the direction of his camera I saw the embodiment of ‘screw you, I do what I want with my life.’ Standing in the dicky of four-wheeled coach, there were two men – father and son, I gathered. Both of them were dressed in black from head to toe, had these thick, bushy beards, glasses, and clergymen hats.

What amazed me was the fact that although most of the drivers were snapping pictures and mocking them, they went on about their business as if nothing was wrong. I can’t imagine being that calm when someone is calling me names. But, then again, I can very well assume that this isn’t the first, nor the last time that they had to deal with people staring at them as if they were zoo animals.

Well, long story short, once I got home, I started to read a bit about the Amish community.  And, as you’ve probably guessed it by now, the article you see before you is the result of, shall I call it, an exploration into America’s most conservative community. So, without further ado, here are 6 life and survival lesson I’ve learned from the Amish. Enjoy!

Family and togetherness mean a lot more than all the treasures of this world

Last time I paid my folks a visit, I sort of got one of those Hollywoodian flashbacks. More than 20 years ago, I was in the living room with my mom, dad, and grandma. ‘Twas around the time of the prom. I wanted to tell my parents that right after the party, I was going to hit it off with my girlfriend and two classmates.

As you would imagine, my parents were not too thrilled about this. Dad was adamant about me getting back home. Guess he would have rather seen me hitting the books for my college entry exam then reenacting Adam’s intro of Summer of ‘69. Long story short, we argued, a lot, and everything ended with me saying some very nasty things about my family.

This is one of the things I kinda envy the Amish – no matter how shitty things are; they stay together. Everything they do, they do for the family. More than that, they do not believe in stuff like “hey, I have this thing, but you can’t have it, because you will have to work for it just like I did.” Nope. If one family makes more than it needs, it will wholeheartedly share with the rest of the community, especially with the more unfortunate ones.

I can’t say that my family is perfect. No, we don’t argue all the time, scream at each other, say things like “I’m going to leave you and take the kids with me,” but tempers do flare from time to time. In those moments I come to realize that we have everything we need and we should try to play nice with each other. I mean, the Amish communities are like stepping into a time machine and ending up in pre-colonial America- no electricity, no Internet, no gadgets. And yet, they still have more tightly-knitted families than 90 percent of the people I know or grew up with.

You really don’t need to become a member of the Amish community to figure out the meaning of “family.” Just talk or read some books about them. Trust me – after doing this, you won’t be that eager to raise your voice at your wife, punish your kids for stuff they didn’t do or laugh in your neighbor’s face when he asks for help. Remember the saying: “give an inch and take a mile.”

The Amish rehashed “self-reliance.”

There’s no such thing as being too self-reliant, whether it refers to cooking your own meals, washing your stuff or learning to make things rather than buying them from the store. Emerson’s Walden may have been a good read for a lot of preppers, but for the Amish, that book’s almost sacred. Imagine living in a very small community with no money, no debit or credit cards, and no stores. Sounds interesting, does it not? Well, in traditional Amish communities, a family’s only way to obtain certain goods they need around the house, say lamp oil, is trading. And yes, everything being trading within the boundaries of this community is produced or manufactured there.

And let me tell you, those people really know their business – I’ve seen Amish canned goods, oil lamps, furniture, tobacco, bread, coffee, and even toys for the little ones.

There’s a lesson in this, folks – when you do decide that it’s time to drop off the grid, you must ensure that you know how to make stuff. Otherwise, it’s just what I like to call prepping with benefits.

Treating your livestock as if it’s part of the family

Can’t really say that I like livestock that much – sure, baby goats and horses are gorgeous, but not as cute as kitten or puppies. What struck me the most when watching YouTube videos about the Amish community is the bond they share with their livestock. When I was a kid, my grandma used to tell me these stories about her parents keeping animals like baby horses, goats, sheep or chicklings inside the house during the winter.

Sure, it’s a heartwarming story, but I didn’t take it for granted. However, after seeing these people care for their livestock, I kind of began to believe in them. If there’s one worthy takeaway, it’s learning how to see if your livestock is healthy or there’s an illness running amok.

Overcomplicated farming is not a recipe for success

We are literally surrounded by supermarkets, farmer market’s, and hypermarkets, yet all the food we eat tastes like cardboard. Granted, we have the means to feed millions of people thanks to the advancement in farming technology, but all this stuff doesn’t mean anything if the final product lacks the very stuff our bodies so desperately need. I wholeheartedly recommend viewing a video on Amish farming methods. To say that it’s fascinating, would be a major understatement. They have no need for trucks, tractors, cultivators, subsoiler, rollers or spike harrow – they toil from dusk till dawn to sow the ground with horse-pulled plows. That’s it! Yes, I know that it’s very hard work, but, my God, their veggies are astounding. I’ve seen cantaloupes the size of a basketball and beets as big as my beer belly. Their secret – plenty of hard work, dedication, and using all-natural solutions.

Hand sewing is not just something you see in the movies

Nowadays, nobody pays too much attention to sewing – if your parka needs stitching, you just take it to tailor’s shop, and that’s basically it. If I were to ask someone about hand sewing, he would probably look at me as if I’m from another planet or something. The only thing close to actual hand sewing was this old lady who had a stand at an exposition hosted by our local history museum. She could make anything from tunics, socks, underpants to carpets and upholstery. However, for the Amish, hand sewing is a vital skill. Although the women do the heavy lifting, the men also know how to sew back a ripped button or patch a hole in their shirts.

I am well aware of the fact that hand sewing clothes and other things is not a skill that can be learned overnight. Heck, some members of the Amish communities spend half a century honing their skills and perfecting their techniques. So, the next time you see an Amish couple in your hometown, don’t mock their sense of fashion – just remember that everything they wear is made by the head. The same thing cannot be said about us town folk, who buy every piece of garment from Mall stores.

That hard work is a virtue, not just a 9-to-5 undertaking

The next time you complain that your cushy 9-to-5 is exhausting, think about the fact that the regular Amish workday begins at five in the morning and ends well after sunset. And it doesn’t matter if the weather’s nice or really bad or if that person woke up with a major headache because he drank too much last night – for the Amish community, work is sacred. And, dare I say, the results speak for themselves. I’ve never seen an Amish home in disarray or a family that has nothing to eat or to wear.

If that’s not enough for you, get a load of this – Amish don’t work just for themselves. They work for the entire community. Sure, your land and livestock are important, but so is the rest. For instance, if a new couple moved into ‘town,’ the entire community helps them settle in. Yup that means even giving them a hand to raise a house or a barn.

By the way, if you need new furniture, you may want to try out your local Amish store or get in touch with a member of the community. Why? Because their furniture’s all-wood, not that cheap crap manufacturers use to whip up low-quality beds or couches. It’s a win-win.

That about wraps it up for life and survival lessons learned from the Amish. What do you think about this topic? Hit the comments section and let me know.

I haven’t been able to understand why the expression “to live like an Amish” has a pejorative meaning. Not until I started to live like a prepper.

I don’t need to remind just how darn important it is to know what to cook when the power goes out. There are so many recipes on the grand world-wide-web that you need only type in “gimme food” in Google to figure out your next step.

The trouble with these “whip-up” dishes, as I like to call them, is that they have a very limited shelf life, despite being bagged and refrigerated. In my searches for the next cannable superstar (be sure to check out my article on canning and pickling pork meat), I’ve stumbled upon a most interesting recipe – the so-called Poor Man’s Hamburger. According to its description, it should be an Amish dish, although I find it very hard to make a connection.

Anyway, the recipe’s pretty straightforward and if you have a good pressure canner, you can keep this stuff in your pantry for at least three months if not more. The weird part about preparing this recipe is who or rather what gets the spotlight – though it’s a meat-based dish, the gravy’s actually the one who steps into the limelight.

Crazy, right? Not in the very least! As you’re about to see, the gravy you get is what you might consider a great SHTF asset – it can very easily be combined with the meat of all sorts (chicken, beef jerky, spam) but it can also be eaten, well, plain, as a sort of early-morning broth.

Before we get to the cooking part, I should warn you that this recipe takes time. If you have something big planned that day, I will leave it for another day, preferably a lazy Sunday. So, without further ado, here’s what you’ll need to do in order to prepare Cannish, aka the canned version of the Amish Poor Man’s burger.

Gathering your utensils and ingredients

For this recipe, you’ll need the following tools:

  • Canning jar (the bigger, the better).
  • Plastic container (I would go for a 35 quart because you’ll have a lot of stuff to mix)
  • Food processor.
  • Oven grill (if you don’t have one, you can always use the top part of an old BBQ which you can place it over a tray).
  • Mouth rim (you’ll need this to shape your burger patties).
  • Skillet (for cooking the gravy).
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Lots and lots of patients.

As for the ingredients, go raid the pantry or the local farmer’s market of the following supplies:

  • Celery (around five cups).
  • Onions (five cups will do).
  • Saltines (I used one and a half pounds of saltine or six packs).
  • Eggs (two dozen).
  • Milk (five cups).
  • Lots of salt and pepper.
  • Ground beef (this recipe calls for at least 30 pounds. That’s around two or three big-ass rolls).
  • Canned mushrooms (five cans).
  • All-purpose flour.

Yes, I know it’s a very long list, but as I’ve told you, this is the kind of recipe that kind of makes you spend the entire day in the kitchen. Still, do bear in mind that will also be some waiting time, which would be right after you stick those burger patties into the over. All done with the tools and ingredients? Great! Let’s get right down to business.

How to prepare Cannish

Step 1. Grab a cutting board, a sharp knife, and get to chopping. Have your food processor ready, because everything you’ll chop or crush from this point forward will require a little bit of mixing.

Step 2. Leave the chopped onions and celery aside for the moment. As for the saltines, you can either use a mortar and pestle to crush them or place everything inside a zip-lock bag and use a rolling pin to beat the living daylights out of it. When you’re done, add them to the food processor, and give them a good mix (I scrambled them for 10 or 15 seconds to make sure that there are no chunks left).

Step 3. Grab yourself a large bowl and crack open two dozen eggs. Whisk the shit out of them.

Step 4. Measure five cups of milk.

Step 5. It’s now time to put everything together. Place the plastic container on your work table and add your chopped celery & onions, saltines, whisked eggs, and milk.

Step 6. Get dirty! You have two choices for the mixing part – wooden spoon or hands. I personally prefer the latter (make sure you’ve washed your hands before dipping them in the mix).

Step 7. Add some salt and pepper to the container (I used two tablespoons of rock salt and one and a half tablespoon of grounded black pepper) and continue mixing.

Step 8. Stick the container in the mix in the fridge for 30 minutes. It will be easier to handle once you get to the patty-making part.

Step 9. Get your ground beef out of the freezer and use a knife to remove the membranes. Add the meat to your plastic container and use your hands or a wooden spoon to bind the mixture. FYI, it’s easier to do this if you dip your hands in ice-cold water. Fill a small bowl with cold tap water and keep it next to your container.

Step 10. Start making patties. Take a handful of meat and stick in the metal rim. If you’re skilled patty—maker, you can ditch the ring, and form them by hand. Don’t make them too big or thick. Remember that your goal will be to place each cooked patty inside the canning jars. You shouldn’t also take into account that this type of meat is packed with fat, which will kind of end up in the oven tray.

Step 11. Stick the formed patties in the fridge for 15 or 20 minutes. To prevent them from sticking to each other, create patty layers separated by baking parchment.

Step 12. Get the patties out of the fridge and arrange them on your grill. If you use the exact amount of ingredients, you’ll end up with 28 or 29 burger patties.

Step 13. Preheat your over to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 14. Place the BBQ grill with a tray in the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Don’t forget to flip the patties after 15 minutes. Depending on your rig, this step can take anything from 2 to 6 hours. In my case, it took about three and a half hours to bake all the burger patties. When they’re done, place them in a large roasting pan. Cover it with two layers of aluminum foil. Allow the burgers to cool down.

Step 15. In the meantime, get a skillet and prepare the gravy. Here’s how to do it. Get one and a half cup of fat from the patties and add it to the skillet. Set your heat to medium-low. After the fat begins to warm up, and half a cup of all-purpose flour.

Use a spoon to stir. Don’t rush it! Gravy’s something that takes a lot of patience. If you see that the mix is about to go up in flames, lift the pan off the stove, and put it back again. You’ll know that the gravy base is done when it turns light brown.

Step 16. It’s time to prepare the mushroom soup. In a big pot, pour the contents of five mushroom soups cans. Using an empty can as a measuring cup, add five cups to the shroom soup and bring it to a boil.

Step 17. While the shroom soup’s still hot, grab a ladle and carefully add it to the browned flour mixture. The secret to not ending up with burned gravy is to stir while pouring shroom soup with the ladle. It may take a while longer, but it’s worth it. If you feel that the mix is too thick for the spoon, use a whisk instead.

Step 18. When you’re done adding every last drop of shroom soup, give the mix a good whisk, and let it bubble for five more minutes before killing the flame.

Step 19. Take a breather. Smoke if you have them. After the gravy cools down a bit, it’s time to put everything together.

Step 20. Give those canning jars a good wash. You can either submerge them in a tub filled with water and dish detergent or boil the Hell out of them before using. Your call.

Step 21. Place five burger patties in each canning jar and cover with gravy. Put the lid on, tighten it, and allow the jars to cool down overnight before placing them in the fridge or pantry.

Congratulations! You’ve just made your first batch of canned Amish Poor Man’s burgers. Your kitchen probably looks like a scene from WW2 or something, but who cares when you have delish marinated burgers. If stored probably, you won’t have to worry about running of food, at least for a couple of months. Although the canning part allows you to store this stuff in any place outside of the fridge, I would strongly advise you to keep your jars refrigerated and to consume it in two months’ time.

Another thing about this recipe is that it will take a while to figure out how to make the gravy base. For my part, I had to discard the contents of two skillets and ended up using more than three cups of fat before I was able to make a ‘stable’ base. As I’ve mentioned, the trick is to gently stir the mix and to lift the skillet every now and then. If the weather’s nice, you can always skip the oven part and cook your patties over a charcoal barbeque.

As for the mix, if you can’t find any saltines, you can always replace them with other types of crackers. Just make sure that they’re salty. The dish can be eaten hot off the oven but, if you want to get more kicks out of it, stick in the fridge and leave it overnight. By morning, the patties would have sucked in all that delicious gravy. You can heat them up in your microwave or in a pan with boiling water.

That’s it for my Cannish recipe! What do you guys think about this SHTF dish? Hit the comments section and let me know your thoughts.

Before you go, you may also like:

This is more than just about your guns…
How to survive any medical crisis situation with ease
10 Easy Steps to Secure your privacy
Secret Military Solution For Power Independence

DIY Unlimited water source
Why a food reserve is way better than the Federal Reserve
Lost Skills of our Ancestors that still work today

Anyway, the recipe’s pretty straightforward and if you have a good pressure canner, you can keep this stuff in your pantry for at least three months if not more.