I wrap my blond hair into the bun at the nape of my neck and secure my prayer cap on my head. Staring at the mirror in the break room of Young’s Amish Kitchen where I work as a waitress, I look every bit the Amish girl that I had been until a few months ago when I made the decision to leave the Amish way.
Now the plain dress and prayer cap are a uniform for my job. I look so normal in the Amish girl outfit that I was sure the Englischers I serve fried chicken and meatloaf to have no idea that I ride my bike to work in jeans and a T-shirt.
I push the door open into the kitchen. The Amish ladies who work there give me half-hearted smiles. They are friendly and pleasant, but they make a point not to speak PA Dutch when I am in the room. Do they think I forgot my first language when I left Amish life? They don’t make eye contact either. Things are different. I am accepted and unaccepted all at the same time.
“Becky, stop standing there staring into space,” Ellie Young, my boss and family friend bellowed. Ellie was the only Amish woman outside of my immediate family who doesn’t treat me like an alien. To Ellie, I’m just Becky, Grandfather Zook’s granddaughter and Timothy’s sister, that’s all she needs to know to accept me.
She puts her hands on her ample hips. “What are you daydreaming about now?”
I grin. Ellie knows me well. It was my daydreams that led me to leave the only life I had ever known. “Last night on the Food Network, I was watching this segment about Japanese food. I think I could make it,” I speak in a rush. “Maybe we should add sushi to the salad bar. Won’t that be a fun surprise for our guests? I’m sure I could make it. I practiced with some lettuce and white rice in Chloe’s kitchen. Sure, it wasn’t seaweed, but I bet we could find some in Columbus. I can ask Timothy to drive me there and—”
Ellie held up her hand to stop me. “Glory be, kind. You’re going to give yourself palpations by being so worked up over seaweed of all things, and for nothing, we aren’t adding it to the menu. If an Englischer wants sushi, he should stay in the city.”
“Okay,” I say undaunted. “Maybe sushi is taking it too far, but what if we had a special just once a month, like Italian or Mediterranean. You should taste the hummus I made.”
Ellie shakes her head and chuckles. “Becky, these folks don’t come to Amish Country for nibbles wrapped in weeds or pulverized chickpeas! They want good honest Amish cooking.”
“That’s boring,” I complain.
“It’s boring because it’s what you grew up with. To them, it’s not. Maybe they think hummus is boring.”
“If they do, it’s because they aren’t making it right. What about flan for dessert?” I say.
She shakes her head.
“No buts. Now, get your behind out there and stock the salad bar. When you have your own restaurant, you can serve whatever you like. While you work here, you serve Dutch cooking.”
I load a metal cart with shredded lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and diced hardboiled eggs for the salad bar. “I’ll do that, and people will come from all over to eat there.”
“I don’t doubt that for a second. Now, you take your daydreams out into the dining room.” Ellie says and gives me a wink.
I sigh and roll my cart to the door. I hear the Amish women begin to talk in PA Dutch as the kitchen door swings closed.
It’s SUPER SEPTEMBER! Amanda Flower (also writing as Isabella Alan) has three novels releasing in September 2013. To celebrate, she is giving away an authentic Amish Quilt hand-stitched by Amish in Holmes County, Ohio.
Enter to Win an Authentic Amish Quilt from author Amanda Flower! Click HERE to Enter!
You can read more about Becky in A Plain Disappearance, the third book in the “Appleseed Creek” mystery series, published by B&H Books. The first book in the series is A Plain Death.
Meet the author
Amanda Flower is the author of mysteries for children and adults. She has three novels releasing in September 2013: A Plain Disappearance and Murder, Plain and Simple (Amish cozy mysteries), and Andi Unexpected, a mystery for children ages 8-12. Murder, Plain and Simple she wrote under the pen name Isabella Alan. Amanda is an academic librarian for a small college near Cleveland.
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.