The mention of an Amish meal evokes thoughts of generous portions of chicken or beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing, noodles, corn, applesauce, salad, rolls, and desserts of all kinds. Such a menu, of course, is typical of an Amish wedding meal, a meal for thrashers, or a family holiday dinner. Their usual summer everyday meal choices; however, are reflective of their way of living, simple and uncomplicated, perhaps green beans from the garden, a grilled cheese sandwich, and fresh garden tomatoes. Rarely mentioned is the fact that, during the summer’s busy harvest season, almost every Amish family enjoys any variety of a quick and convenient peasant-type cold fruit soup. With summer’s heat and no air conditioning in the home, a bowl of cold fruit soup, perhaps banana, blackberry, peach, or strawberry provides the main course for nourishment and refreshment. I have never seen a recipe for this soup in any of our cookbooks; perhaps because it is so almost embarrassingly simple. There is no recipe. You simply, place into a bowl, some fresh fruit, add bread torn into pieces, pour enough cold milk into the bowl to cover the bread and fruit, then add enough sugar to sweeten to taste. Yum! Yes, the bread is soaked in milk, but if you’ve grown up on this soup, it’s a delicious treat! It was not uncommon for us to enjoy it twice a week in the summer.
I asked my Amish neighbor lady how often she might make mashed potatoes for an evening meal. She thought about once or twice a month, so the big Amish meals are just as wonderful a treat for the Amish as they are for the “English” as they refer to all others outside their close-knit society.