Amish Dinner

SHERMAN – If you are looking for a delicious, but different dining experience, why not check out Cindy Burkholder’s Amish wedding dinners? Wedding dinners, you say?

“Dinners like we have at our Amish weddings,” Mrs. Burkholder said. “I serve chicken, stuffing, mashed potatoes, creamed peas, plate salad, homemade bread and jam, two kinds of pies and date and nut pudding. You can have a choice of meat if you don’t want chicken. That is turkey, meatloaf, ham or roast beef. The roast beef is wonderful, my husband’s favorite. The stuffing only comes with chicken and turkey. I serve coffee and iced tea or hot mint tea.

“I would invite everyone to gather up their friends and family and come try it,” she continued. “I can seat 55, but usually have smaller groups. If two people want to come, I can add them to a larger group. We’ve had people from Arizona, Washington, D.C., Montana and even Spain, exchange students that we gave buggy rides and we have given little children pony rides.”

She also gets visitors from Chautauqua Institution, since her home is located less than 6 miles from the grounds. She tells about a group from Harborcreek, Pennsylvania, that held a bridal shower at her location.

“Groups can stay and visit after dinner. The Red Hatters have stayed playing games and laughing,” she said. “A group of bankers came at 2 and ate at 5 and had dessert at 6:30.

“I love to cook,” she continued. “I learned from my mother and grandmother in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania. One year my dad planted 1 ton of potatoes. He butchered three pigs, a beef, plus we had four deer. We canned vegetables. There was hardly ever dessert.”

She added that they “try not to live out of the store. The home cooking is so much better.”

“The Iced Coffee is delicious,” she said. “We made it for a benefit and we had a lot of people asking for the recipe. We sold 500 pounds of fish as a dinner with French fries, cole slaw and pie. We actually used my chicken coating and added it to a 50-pound bag of Bisquick. We even sold the leftover coating at the auction. People stood in line out to the road for an hour waiting for fish dinners.

“My Aunt Judy used to make the Monkey Bread all of the time when I was a little girl, but she used bread dough,” Mrs. Burkholder continued. “The Ho-Ho Cake is good with ice cream. The Pizza Casserole, Ho-Ho Cake and the Melt-In-Your-Mouth Chocolate Chip Cookies are made in many Amish homes. The chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorites, but my husband is tired of them.”

Mrs. Burkholder and her husband, David, have been married nearly 20 years. They have eight children aged 3 to 18, three boys and five girls.

“The three (oldest) girls help with the dinners and have cleaning jobs at Chautauqua Institution,” she said. “I worked at Chautauqua when I was first married, and now my daughters work there doing spring cleaning and clean on some Saturdays during the season.”

Her oldest son works with his father in his carpentry business and works for a neighboring farmer evenings and Saturdays.

Amish children start school at age 6 and are finished when they are 14 years old. The Burkholder children had 43 children in their first- through eighth-grade school last year, with two teachers. One taught grades 1-4 and the other taught 5-8.

“That is considered a very large school, and they are going to build a new school soon,” Mrs. Burkholder said.

The Burkholder home is located at 7769 Titus Road in Sherman, just 30 minutes from Jamestown. The cost is $16 for one meat choice or, for groups of 20 or more, $18 for two kinds of meat. Reservations, made at least a week in advance, can be made by calling 761-2022.