The Role of Amish Food within the Amish Way of Life


Amish food plays a large part within the culture and traditions of the Amish people of Lancaster County. This is largely due to the practicalities of Amish living rather than anything to do with the faith and religion of the people. Because the people come from agricultural backgrounds where farming, gardening, butchering and similar forms of food preparation have long been a major component of the economy, it is only natural that those values would carry over to the social traditions as well.







Furthermore, since the community grows and prepares most of their food themselves, a big budget is not necessary to eat well.

Therefore, at special occasions such as weddings, the joy of the celebration tends to be expressed by the abundance of food as opposed to other such indulgences such as flowers and dancing.

The Amish of Lancaster County largely come from Swiss German origins and this can be seen in the varieties of their cusine. It is commonplace for the Amish cook to prepare such traditional Swiss German recipes such as spatzle soup, knepp, dumplings, scrapple, and fleisch-kraut.

Traditionally, Amish cuisine was shaped by the necessities of the time. In the absence of freezers, vegetables and salads were often pickled as a way of preservation. Thus, arose such dishes as chow-chow, cabbage, and cole slaw.

Likewise, historically pigs and steer were butchered in winter months which provided fresh meat. The meat was then smoked, cured and canned as a way to preserve the meat so that it can be enjoyed at a later time.

Amish food tends to be heavy in carbohydrates and fats. Such a diet might be okay for physically active farmers. However, weight and health problems may likely threaten those who live a sedentary lifestyle.

For those interested in trying some of the cuisine of the Amish, and the Pennsylvania Dutch in general, there are many available Amish and Mennonite recipes available in books store or online.

For the Amish cook, creativity tends to be expressed in the preparation of pies, cakes, puddings and jams. For the Pennsylvania Amish and Mennonites, salads, vegetables, and meats are thought to taste better when prepared simply. For instance, vegetable such as corn and green beans are often thought to taste their best simply steamed until tender, salted, and, then, browned in butter.




To learn more about the Amish and Pennsylvania Dutch food available in Lancaster County, please see the following:

MeatPiesPickled RelishPotato SaladSauerkrautVegetables












To learn more about the Amish people of Lancaster County:


Adult BaptismAmish and MennonitesAmish Children Amish Church Services Amish Clothing
Amish CultureAmish DollsAmish EducationAmish
Folk Art
Amish History
Amish HomesAmish Religion Amish Way of Life Amish Weddings Amish Women
Barn Raising Cars and the Amish Lifestyle Health Care and Modern Medicine Horse and Buggies Ordnung
Rumspringa Shunning Within the Amish Community Technology and the Amish Farm





Back to an Introduction to the Amish People of Lancaster County




Return to the Welcome to Lancaster County Home Page from Amish Food