Dinner with the Amish
My Girlfriend and I are going up to Amish country for the long weekend (sometimes I feel like my life is a Seinfeld episode) and are going to have dinner with an Amish family while we are there.
What should we expect? Are there and idiosyncrasies we should be aware of? (i.e. what not to talk about, types of food we'll have, manners to observe, etc.)
Any information anyone can provide would be awesome.
I'm really curious as to how this came about. They are such an insular group that you must know someone really well to receive an invitation from a community member. They live to avoid assimilation and have their way of life influenced by outsiders (the "English," as they say). Or, was this arranged as a tourist opportunity through a travel agent?
To get a run-down on the culture and beliefs, go to www.bbc.co.uk and enter Amish. However, if there is a charge for the dinner, I suspect it may be a somewhat staged presentation with authentic fare.Can you tell us more?
Most Amish are not involved in politics, and I'm not sure if they vote. At times they interact with local politicians for very specific reasons, (ie to change labor laws about kids, or to push for legislation about their crops) I would not talk about the elections, Obama, etc. Not that it would upset anyone, but I don't think that it would really lead anywhere. The meal will be carb-heavy most likely, and totally delish. Since the Amish speak an altered form of German, called Pennsylvania Dutch or "Dutchey", there may be some words flying around that you don't recognize. Gretchy or Grexley means not feeling well or kind of cranky. Rettles= burps. Rootching around = fidgeting. And so on. If something sounds funny, try to put it into context. I hope you have a good time. What else are you going to do while here in Lancaster? Where are you staying?
You will most likley be asked to mnake a "donation". Amish folks do these things for the same reason others offer food for sale, to make money. I will ask you this. Do you think the kitchen was inspected by the state? I doubt it. Do you think it fair that the Amish folks who do these dinners do so outside of the laws regarding sanitation? Is it fair to other business onwers who must comply?
These are money making endevors, not some sort of cultural exchange program.