Real Cooking

?If only I had a maid, a personal assistant and a full time gardener. Then I would be a happy woman.?

That?s what I said. My husband only chuckled in reply.

The first column I ever wrote for the Free Press expressed my tongue-in-cheek desire to be just like Martha Stewart. At the time I was kidding…kind of.

I envied the lifestyle Martha portrayed on her television show, monthly magazine and in her volumes of cookery and entertaining. Effortless holiday soirees, tasteful decorating, unlimited creativity?she could, and still can, seem to do it all. And with great hair.

But after some reflection, I don?t think I want to be like Martha anymore. Martha has too many responsibilities. Martha feels the pressure to succeed. Martha has become a conglomerate. Too much stress for me.

So now, I?m looking for new role models. After some minor consideration, I?m concentrating on exploring the possibilities of emulating one of two groups.

And here?s where my struggle begins. Meaning no disrespect, I think I might like to be more like a member of a European royal family or a member of the Amish faith.

Paradoxical, I know. But that?s me.

It?s my thinking that if I were to be a member of a royal household, I would definitely want to be on one of the outer branches of the family tree. It would be nice to have a share of the money and privileges the family has access to…. I could have my maid, personal assistant and gardener. And a nice manor house in the country.

But being out of the line of succession would afford more privacy for my family and me.

Instead of opening parliament, I would be off organizing a ball benefiting world hunger.

While the other royals were out making speeches and doing interviews, I would be puttering in my greenhouse. Raising exotic orchids, I think.

Others in the family would be hounded by the paparazzi. I would be out with the hounds riding to the hunt. I like horses and I adore the black riding habits ladies wear to such events.

…We interrupt this thought for a message to the members of P.E.T.A. and the A.S.P.C.A…. No foxes were harmed in the writing of this column….

Several years ago, my husband and I were invited to attend a ?fox hunt? by my brother?s son and daughter, whom at the time rode to the hounds every weekend with the Leavenworth Hunt Club. This club would lay down a scent through the woods and the fields for the dogs to pursue; they hadn?t used a real fox in years.

The members had a lot of fun charging their horses over hill and dale following the bays of the foxhounds and no animals were hurt in the process…. That?s the kind of fox hunt I would frequent. Tally-ho.

We now resume this column…

Yes, I could live life as the lady of the manor. I?m good at working with people, so I know my household staff would be happy and well organized. I think of myself as generous, so my pet charities would be well served.

I?m not sure how my hips would look in a pair of jodhpurs, but I do know how to use all the silver and crystal that would be used at any state dinner that I might be called upon to attend.

But it seems a little shallow.

So…on the other hand?as a whole?I have a deep, abiding respect for the Amish. At times I long to live such an unadorned life, leaving the world and its ways far behind me.

Bringing honor to God in everything I do, even by my dress, seems so right. Sweet simplicity.

And I like horses. I think I could really adapt to the slower rhythm of the horse and buggy. Isn?t society in general always screaming for more time, how our lives are out of control? Too much to do, too many places to be at one time. Makes me wonder….

I would think that by living an Amish lifestyle priorities would be made clearer…faith, work, family, and relationships. The struggle to accumulate would be over. Playing ball would be for exercise and fun, not for self-glory.

The contest of who wears the right label would no longer exist. I can only imagine how freeing it must be to go to the closet and not have to think about what to put on.

So, there it is. My paradox.

It just occurred to me that the one thing both lifestyles have in common is the horse. I like horses.

Maybe I?ll start there.

* * *

This recipe. taken from ?A Day In An Amish Kitchen,? is one we enjoy.

Peanut Butter Bars

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1 egg, beaten

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 cup peanut butter

1 cup flour

1 cup oatmeal

Cream sugars and butter. Add egg and all other ingredients. Bake in greased 7×11 baking dish at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

As soon as you remove the bars from oven, sprinkle one cup chocolate chips over top, spreading to cover as they melt. Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 cup peanut butter and two to four tablespoons of milk. Spoon randomly over top, swirling into chocolate. Cut bars while still warm.

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