The Amish have captured the interest of the modern world because of their quaint clothing, homes and buggies, their striking quilts, their lusty food. These people prefer to be regarded as a community of faith who deliberately seek to live in a way that honors God and the creation. They purposely refuse many conveniences to better foster their life together; they choose to live close to the land in an effort to care for their families and the earth.
Because they are highly disciplined, the Amish are often perceived as being grim, austere folks who live as ascetics. They do live ordered lives and, in general, are restrained in their outward expression. But in two particular areas they have exercised color — in their quilts and in their food! In both areas they distinguished themselves only after becoming established in North America. By the mid-1850s and during the next several decades a food tradition evolved that included an amalgam of dishes from a variety of sources: they brought their own cultural taste preferences from Switzerland and Germany; that affected what they copied and adapted from the diets of their English and Native American neighbors; the geography and climate in the area of the New World where they made their homes also shaped their eating. In those ways, however, they were little different from the other German folk who settled in William Penn’s colony.