PtL! The cover for Cooking & Such ~ adventures in Plain Living is here! Are you ready for a contest? Keep reading. There are two!
While spooning gravy over my plate of biscuits last winter in Troyer’s Dutch Heritage Restaurant, I leaned in as I listened to my Old Order Amish friends, Levi and Lydia Fisher, present an idea to me that was so incredible, I would barely sit down the remainder of the day. Lydia is the editor of the successful, relatively new publication, Ladies Journal magazine. Knowing my passion for writing and my love of great food, she and Levi thought starting a cooking magazine for Plain folks was an endeavor I would not only enjoy, but could become my life’s work. They prayed about it extensively, they said, before bringing the idea to the table. Literally! And then they told me if anyone was up for the challenge, it would be me.
They were right. After much prayer on my end and several meetings with folks more business-minded than myself, I got that confirmation from God to go forward with the project.
Little did I know then, there would be 15+ people involved making this publication the unique magazine it is. This has been a prime example of true team effort. That breath-taking photo of the Chocolate Strawberries-n-Cream Whoopie Pies was the creation of many hands. A batch of the cookies were baked by 15 year-old Kathleen Schlabach, and the pretty pink filling was a recipe I specially created and whipped up for our Valentine’s Day photo spread. Piping in the frosting just-so and wrapping them with a pretty bow was Lena Kropf. Finally, the sweet, little, frozen (you wouldn’t believe how fast they wanted to melt on us) cookie cakes were photographed by Chris Meyer. They tasted every bit as good as they looked!
Combine creative food stylist/photographers, writers from across the country (Jenni Yoder’s Christmas candy-making story made me laugh and cry), a copy editor, bakers and cooks, and the best graphic designer one could wish for, and viola – with God’s grace, Cooking & Such is now a reality.
I’ve enjoyed unexpected response to my first cookbook, Taste of Pinecraft; Glimpses of Sarasota, Florida’s Amish Culture and Kitchens. Many people know I never anticipated anyone outside our village and readers of The Budget newspaper would ever see a copy. I just set out to write a cookbook for our community – one local folks could pass on as a gift to visiting family and friends. If you told me two years ago my book would be read by people in other countries (a BBC producer in Wales), endorsed by bestselling authors (wow!), and that its contents would prompt a call from The National Geographic Channel telling me, one, they read it and really liked it, and two, asked if they could send a film crew to my house, I’d have laughed out loud at your far-fetched good humor.
Cooking & Such is different. With this project, I purposely set out with a dream of making this magazine a delight to both Amish and non-Amish readers alike. Can we do it? Time will tell. Meanwhile, this has been one the most exhilarating times of my life. But one that did not come without challenges. Creating the winter issue while living in Florida in the midst of scorching August heat was more than a little difficult, to say the least (it was a first for us to do a Christmas cookie baking in the summertime). But we did it! And we hope you love it as much as we do.
The premier issue debuts December 1, 2011. Subscription information is available by clicking on the cover of Cooking & Such on the flash header at the top of the page or you can go to BOOKS, and click on the magazine cover, itself).
I’m giving away a package of delicious, homemade Pennsylvania Dutch Ginger Cookies made with 10 year-old Elizabeth Yoder’s recipe, featured in the first issue of Cooking & Such. To enter, leave a comment here, telling what you’d like to see featured in future issues of the magazine. And I’d love to hear how you heard about this website.
For subscribers only: You can win a FREE gift subscription for a friend! We’ll pick one randomly chosen winner of all those who subscribe to Cooking & Such ~ adventures in Plain Living through this website, only. The winner’s name will be announced in the first issue.
~ Blessings from Pinecraft, the most unique little village in the world.