Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Do the Amish churn their own butter?

My husband almost ran off the road, our car swaying, as he belted forth laughter. When something makes Tim laugh, it’s loud and uncontrollable.

Why was Tim laughing? I told him that someone wrote an Amish romance novel about…sigh….the Amish churning their own butter. Yes, a man falls for a woman because she tenderly teaches her siblings how to churn butter, hence, he sees the true woman deep inside.

Ach, vell, what can we do when folks want to believe the Amish are Little House on the Prairie? But wait! I think even Ma Ingalls didn’t churn butter, did she? She bought if from Mrs. Olson, right? In exchange for eggs?

Bonnet Books, books with a lady in an Amish bonnet (prayer kapp) situated in a pastoral setting are selling in record numbers. That leaves lots of room for writers, pressed by publishing houses to write about the Amish, even if they’ve never met a single Amish soul. And writers who are called by really Amish sounding names…pen names….to make the reader think they’re Amish.

So, I found the book, Thrill of the Chaste: The Allure of Amish Romance Novels more than educational and fair. I highly recommend it to those who want to read realistic Amish novels. Valerie Weaver-Zercher sheds light on the goot and not so goot bonnet books, calling out authors by name. This book just had to happen. It’s a tool to help readers decipher if the book is true to Amish life. And to my delight, the book redeems Amish fiction that I contribute to and love, and tells why. But novels need to be based on a factual framework.... and the Amish buy their butter at Wal-Mart, most likely. ;)
           Emma Yoder teaching young Samuel how to churn butter 
on their Amish farm in Lancaster, PA. ...LOL.





  1. This might be generational, since she's an adult now, but Mary Ann Kisinger wrote the book "Life with Lily" based on her own Amish childhood. In it, she describes making butter, including how to tell by listening to the paddles hitting the butter whether it was at the whipped cream stage or the butter stage.

  2. Not only did we make our own butter we also made cheeses and yogurt. I still occasionally make butter. Nothing quite beats the taste of good homemade butter on freshly baked bread.

    A lot of Amish still churn their own butter though more and more of them don't. Not having a family cow makes it harder to save enough cream for butter making.

    P.S. Yes, Ma Ingalls also churned butter. We were just reading about it the other night in Little House in the Big Woods.

  3. Thanks for stopping by Maryann and hope all is well with you. So many think the Amish live a Colonial American life-style and I see them all the time at Wal-Mart, even buying bread! Gasp!