Beverly Lewis has worn her Amish heritage well, writing several acclaimed novels about life among the old order, and now contributing her royalties for this collection of grandma's recipes to the Christian Aid Ministries of Berlin, Ohio, in the heart of Amish country.
This is a pleasant, tasty melange, not a world-shaking or diet-altering surprise. It's spiced liberally with quotes from Lewis's novels and the Bible.
Readers looking for authenticity will not doubt that the "faded recipes cards" left by Lewis's grandmother provided the basis for the concoctions, but some may be disappointed that the majority of these dishes have a disturbingly modern feel. You just don't think of an Amish woman basing a meal around Ritz crackers and canned mushroom soup.
For instance, this direction appears in the otherwise succulent sounding "Amish Roast": "Alternative: Bird may be baked in Reynolds Oven Bag according to directions in box."
So if you were anticipating something comparable to The Victory Binding of the American Woman's Cookbook, you've got your wooden spoon in the wrong crockery pot. This collection is modern, savvy, and cites brand names like Mrs Dash, Ritz Crackers and Jell-O as though they were, well, Amish household words.
No need to be churlish, however, since the recipes are varied and undoubtedly cook true. The names may be uniquely Amish: I'd never heard of Cracker Pudding, made with breadcrumbs, or Midnight Cake, Wet-Bottom Shoo-Fly Pie, or Chicken and Waffles.
My advice: ignore the historical anomalies and get out the mixer!