I have an Amish friend in Pennsylvania whom I call from time to time when I need to check my facts about the Amish. Her name is Priscilla. She has three little girls and a husband who does housework, and she occasionally owns a cell phone. I say occasionally, because she gets a cell phone during certain times of the year so that her husband can take it with him when he goes hunting. She doesn’t like him being out in the woods by himself without a phone. In Huckleberry Harvest, Noah Mischler owns a cell phone so he can keep tabs on his dat. Priscilla gave me the inspiration for that plotline.
Priscilla has taught me a great deal about the Amish. At their core, they are simply normal, good people who have chosen to live a different lifestyle. They have the same desires for close family relationships and lives of service to God. They treat neighbors and outsiders alike with exceptional kindness and strive to live according to their religious beliefs.
Another thing that Priscilla often reminds me is that every Amish community is unique. Some communities are vastly different from others. The most conservative sects eschew indoor plumbing and battery-powered lights. Other communities use modern LP gas stoves and fridges and solar power.
Individuals in a community are just as unique and different as in any neighborhood in the country. The day I talked to Priscilla, she was making chicken bacon ranch pizza for dinner. I asked her if she had any favorite recipes to share, and she told me she doesn’t like to cook.
She did share a recipe for chocolate cake that she doesn’t mind baking because it’s easy. Here is Priscilla’s mother’s chocolate cake recipe for people who don’t like to cook.
Susie Riehl’s Chocolate Cake
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
¾ c. baking cocoa
A pinch of salt
2 t. soda
1 t. baking powder
½ c. vegetable oil
1 c. milk
1 t. vanilla
Put all the above ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Add 1 c. boiling water and mix. Spray a 9×13 pan with non-stick spray and pour the batter in the pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool and frost.
Optional: As soon as cake comes out of the oven, spread ½ to 1 cup of peanut butter on the hot cake. Let cool and frost with chocolate frosting.
Jennifer Beckstrand is the award winning Amish romance author of The Matchmakers of Huckleberry Hill series and The Honeybee Sisters series for Kensington Books. Huckleberry Summer was nominated for the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award and the 2015 RITA® Award, and Huckleberry Hill won the 2014 LIME Award for Inspirational fiction. Both Huckleberry Hill and Huckleberry Christmas appeared in Examiner.com list of top ten inspirational books for 2014. Visit JenniferBeckstrand.com for recipes, upcoming events, and news about books and giveaways.