“Gloria, the way it sounds we have another carry-in to plan,” Eunice said to me. We were sitting side by side on hay bales on the trailer as we headed out for an evening of Christmas caroling. Eunice is on the food committee with me.
Visitors from Bellefontaine, Ohio, had planned to come to Flat Rock to attend the nearby surprise 50th anniversary open house for a couple in our church. The out-of-town guests also were going to stay for Sunday school. We don’t usually have a lunch after services on Sunday school weekends but wanted to do something different since we had so many guests in town. Now it was up to us to plan a meal for the guests and the 110 people in our church. Having lunch together gives us and our guests more time for fellowship and chat after the services.
“I’m in the mood to plan something different, something out of the ordinary,” I told Eunice. We discussed casseroles and haystacks, but both are pretty common in our community.
Later, I flipped through several of my cookbooks and came across “breakfast haystacks.” That’s it — there we go! For once it clicked. My husband, Daniel, and I both like breakfast menus and we haven’t had breakfast stacks in a long time.
I asked Eunice for her opinion. She responded positively so we made a list of the dishes that needed to be made and how many ladies to each dish. The church ladies could then mark off which item they preferred to bring. Many hands do make work light.
In our Amish community, we take turns, two couples at a time being youth leaders and on the food committee for a year. Daniel and I are a half year into our term. We are responsible for planning and coordinating youth activities as well as planning menus for events, such as our annual community hog-butchering or the youth Bible studies we have each year. If we have a funeral in our church, the food committee also plans the menus for the funeral and visitation as well as making sure everyone has a place to spend the night. In our Amish circle, most of the guests spend the night in the homes of other Amish people, whether they have been acquainted with one another before, rather than spending the night at a hotel. This gives us the opportunity to get to know one another on a more personal level and also exercise hospitality.
A ring binder with notebook paper is passed along to those who are on the food committee. In it, we record food amounts, the number of people that were served, and how many leftovers we had. We also make notes of tips and ideas of things that could be done to make everything flow more smoothly the next time.
For example, it is recorded each time the youth go Christmas or Easter caroling, along with who they sang for and what time they started singing. In December, when they were ready to start caroling, I flipped back to the recent years of caroling for the list of individuals in the nursing home that they sang for the last years. We are never limited to what was done the previous year, yet it gives us something to work off of. This past season, we took the youth caroling four times. We enjoyed it. I love singing about Jesus and what he has done for us. Not only does he remain a baby, but lives in our hearts today.
How about joining me as I plan and help prepare the breakfast haystacks for Sunday? It’s the type of thing I prefer for guests rather than having so many different items just for us. Also add or omit anything to suit your taste buds. For example, you may want to add cheese to your scrambled eggs rather than having a separate cheese sauce. The peppers and onions may be fried with the eggs if desired. Ingredient amounts are not given so that you can adjust according to how many you are trying to feed.
Green peppers, diced
Tortilla chips, crushed
Prepare enough ingredients for the people you are serving. Serve in order list and stack on your plate in the order listed above.
Readers with culinary or cultural questions or stories can write to Gloria Yoder, 10568 E. 350th Ave., Flat Rock, IL 62427-2019. To see more on the Amish, go to www.amish365.com.