Someone made a mention about Mennonites in another thread and it brought back good memories...
... for me.
Erica. I was in my late-20's and she was in her early 40's and had recently divorced her
husband of 20+ years. She had been raised pretty liberal mainstream Mennonite and,
with her newfound freedom, was curious about EVERYTHING that she had repressed
It was a wonderful match.
She had a GREAT family, and they often had me over for their HUGE Sunday dinners.
Her Mom was a pretty traditional farm housewife and would make what for Mennonites
were fairly normal Sunday dinners -- maybe 15-20 different dishes to choose from.
Her Dad was a minister or pastor of a church or whatever the Mennonite equivalent for
that position was. I was not religious at all -- but I absolutely LOVED hearing him say
Grace before the meal -- they were always these fantastic secular reminders of many
of the things that we could all be thankful for.
One of her brothers was gay and his partner was as welcome as I was (and he was no
dummy either -- he also showed up for as many of those fantastic feasts as he could).
Eventually, the elders of their church approached her Dad and said he would either
have to renounce his gay son or leave his position in that church.
Without hesitation, he told them (I'm paraphrasing a little here) to go fuck themselves.
That whole family was such a positive experience for me in so many ways.
I was sitting right there at that dinner table, next to you...
Thank you, sweetie...
they were speaking against the Vietnam War--in Dallas, in the early 1970s, at a Christian music concert. Not the most supportive crowd, by any means. I gained a lot of respect for them; they all were committed pacifists.
they were only open Fri,Sat but they had a hot food dept - I never cooked for myself, but stock up on goodies from their hotfood dept...their cakes were to die for..
They always have a booth at the Farmer's Market, and at other events such as the local Herb Faire. Their baked good ARE to die for. One family has goats, and sell the cheeses. Delish! Another family has a restaurant a few towns over. I've never been to it, but I'm told it's worth the trip.
The Mennonites here seem to be more conservative. The women wear longish, simple dresses and a head-covering. I frequently see them at the grocery store, especially the Aldi. There is at least one family there almost every time I make a trip there. It's a great store for stocking up on baking supplies.
( he's a strapping 19 now ) comes running back to the kitchen all excited.
"Mommy, hurry! There are two pilgrims at the door and they wanna talk to you!"
It was two Mennonite young ladies from the settlement down the road, who had lived in the house for years before I bought it.
We still laugh about that.
My Grandparents on Mom's side were Mennonites. My Grandfather used to say Grace before each meal in German and I actually learned to speak pretty good German just by being around them so much growing up.
According to Mom they were relatively strict up until the 70's or so when they really started to loosen up on the social restrictions. The rural area where I grew up didn't have a true Mennonite church since the 50's and most of them moved on to a more non-denominational Christianity well before I came around so I never experienced the true old fashioned Mennonite.
They, and the rest of the Mennonite community where I grew up, were always the most giving and charitable people I've ever met in my entire life. Nobody would go hungry or cold Mennonite or not if they had any say about it.
I was a skinny little bugger until I started to spend most of my weekends eating Oma's cooking. Her Saturday baking regimen is, I'm sure, the main reason for my more portly physique... I inherited her Mennonite cookbooks and now I can't wait to start pulling out the old recipes for Christmas.
It's a lot of fun teaching my kids the proper pronunciation for the dishes and see what they think of each one. To my great joy my daughter likes cottage cheese wareneki (very similar to perogies) with brown butter and sweetened sour cream sauce. The rest of my family including my own father refers to them as "art gum erasers". I guess they're an acquired taste.