Whoopie for the Amish!
My dear friend Laurel grew up in Fredericksburg, Ohio. It’s a tiny community in northern Ohio . When I went home with her on a weekend from college, I was introduced to the lifestyle of her intriguing neighbors, the Amish. I had never seen people driving horse drawn buggies as their only means of transportation. Those images never left me.
It was an unfortunate personal turn of events that brought my friend Laurel back to her home in Fredericksburg a few years ago after having lived away from there since college. Back at home, she contemplated how to make some money while living with her 94-year-old Mother. Before long a neighbor requested a favor. This neighbor is what is called in Amish country, an Amish Hauler, known to us city folk as an Uber Driver. Could Laurel help her with a few pick-ups, she asked? My adventurous friend agreed and two years later she has been continually busy from early morning ‘til sundown almost every day of the week hauling her Amish neighbors all over Wayne County. This particular sect of Amish are not allowed to own cars or drive them, but they are able to be driven to the places they need to go that are too far or dangerous to get to with a horse-drawn carriage. Laurel has taken her clients to the hospital to deliver their babies, to the grocery store, barn raisings, music lessons, birthday parties, and weddings. I’ve often thought she should write a book about her experiences, but as an artist, one who has numerous pieces hung on the walls of the BonBonerie, she may be better off illustrating her stories with oil pastels, her most glorious medium.
In case you were wondering why I am introducing you to my friend Laurel and her Amish hauling career, here is the connection. I was flying home from NYC a few months ago and struck up a conversation half-way through the flight with a gentleman that sat beside me. We were cautious conversationalists, speaking sparsely through our masks. He asked me towards the end of the flight if I worked. When I told him I owned the BonBonerie he burst out with immense exuberance extolling not only his affection, but his true obsession with our whoopie pies. From the moment the flight attendant announced us to ready ourselves for our final descent into Cincinnati until we pulled up to the gate, he couldn’t refrain from expressing his enthusiasm over our whoopie pies. He told me how he had tasted whoopie pies wherever he travelled and none compared. Where did the recipe come from? What was in our filling? How many do we make a week? He had so many questions. Finally he wondered if he could buy some over in Northern Kentucky as it was a very long ride for him over to O’Bryonville . I told him we delivered to Kremer’s Market which made him a little happier. As he exited the plane, he proclaimed that he was indeed a whoopie pie gourmand and I truly believed him.
I love when I hear how happy we can make people with our pastries and cakes. I wanted to write about this experience, so I looked up the history of the whoopie pie for a historical reference and believe it or not, the story led back to the Amish.
From Google Search:
The recipe for whoopie pies has its origins with the Amish, and in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, it is not uncommon to find roadside farm stands offering these desserts. Amish cooking is about old recipes that have fed families for generations, with no trendy or cross-cultural fusions or mixtures. These cake-like whoopie pies were considered a special treat because they were originally made from leftover batter. According to Amish legend, when children would find these treats in their lunch bags, they would shout "Whoopie!”
I want to shout “Whoopie” too, as did my flight companion. I told him to ask for me if he ever made it over to BonBonerie so I could introduce him to Liz, who has been making whoopie pies for us for over fifteen years. She is the one responsible for such whoopie pie perfection.
Have a beautiful and fun summer. It looks like whoopie pies are not just for kids. We’ll have them all summer long for everybody to enjoy!