Lovina remembers a time before toilet paper was available
It’s a rainy Wednesday evening here in Michigan — a week before you are reading this. Supper is over and the girls are washing dishes. I decided to sit here at the kitchen table and get started on this column.
The girls are talking to each other, so my mind wanders over to them, making the task of writing a little difficult. The boys are taking their showers and things are slowing down for the day here at the Eicher farm.
The girls made hamburger potato skillet casserole for our supper. It is made with hamburger, onions, potatoes, cream of mushroom soup and Colby cheese, layered in a skillet.
Son Kevin, 14, has been having school here at home this week due to school doors closing because of the coronavirus. Kevin’s teacher brings him his work whenever he needs some more.
Kevin goes to a small public school of around 300 students in K-12 that is located about three miles from here. The Amish schools have all closed their doors as well here in Michigan.
It is hard to get groceries that are needed when the shelves are emptying fast. We have plenty of meat in the freezer and canned goods, but items such as toilet and Kleenex tissues were off the shelves.
I am not one to stock up on such items, as they are usually available in the stores. Once in a while when they go on sale, I buy a few more packs than needed. Of course, with eight people in the house, it takes quite a bit already.
The first store I went to was out of toilet tissue and Kleenex. The second store had a few six-roll packs of toilet tissue left, which of course I took, but they were out of Kleenex and all the other brands except the very small purse size packs. I took some, as not everyone’s nose is okay with paper towels.
Yes, fortunately, I was able to get paper towels. I know a lot of people use hankies, but I never did just because I really think it’s carrying germs to use it over and over.
I also remember well when I used cloth diapers. I was one of the mothers that, if our paycheck allowed it, added disposable diapers to our grocery list. Of course, with my children being closer in age and having more than one child in diapers, that wasn’t always possible.
I was telling our children how well I remember going to church as a little girl and, at some places, there wasn’t any toilet tissue in their outhouses — only newspaper and magazines. They were amazed that one would even consider using that.
Yes, times have changed and life goes on but one thing will never change and that is our almighty God! Let us not fear but keep our trust in Him. He will take care of us in times of need. We do want to use common sense though with this virus. I pray all of you will stay healthy and safe. God will provide if we put our full trust in Him.
Meanwhile, our sons-in-law Tim and Mose have cooked a lot of sap into maple syrup from the trees in the woods beside Tim and Elizabeth’s house.
A reader asked if the bags they use are reusable; they are not.
The guys gather the sap with the horse and wagon, and the bags are emptied into the buckets on the wagon, then the sap is taken to the cooker to cook down, which takes hours and hours.
I was very excited to receive my brand new cookbook. The pages are so crisp and new. I’m looking back at all the hard work we put into it, and now the finished product. I will share a recipe from the book that uses maple syrup.
Morning Maple Muffins
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup sour cream
1 egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons chopped nuts
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold butter
In a large bowl combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl combine milk, melted butter, maple syrup, sour cream, beaten egg, and vanilla. Stir milk mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full.
Topping: Combine flour, sugar, chopped nuts, and cinnamon; cut in cold butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.
Bake at 400 degrees for 16-20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before placing muffins on wire rack.
Lovina Eicher is an Old Order Amish writer, cook, wife and mother of eight. She, her husband, Joe, and their family live in southeastern Michigan. Contact Eicher at P.O. Box 1689, South Holland, IL 60473 (include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a reply) or email LovinasAmishKitchen@MennoMedia.org and the message will be passed on to her to read.