Credit: Friendship Bread Kitchen
I grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country, just about 40 minutes from Lancaster County, famous for being the home to the second largest Amish settlement in the country. First, let me clear up a big misconception, which is kind of a side note but I get asked a lot. Almost all Amish people have PA Dutch ancestry and can speak Pennsylvania Dutch, but not all PA Dutch are Amish. Also, PA Dutch are not Dutch (from Holland), they are German. So the ethnic group as well as the language can also be called Pennsylvania German. It comes from the word "Deutsch", which means "German" in..well, German. I am not Pennsylvania Dutch/German, I just lived there. Okay, now that that is cleared up…
At least once a year during my childhood, my mom came home with a zip-lock bag full of what looked like vanilla pudding. It was actually a starter for
Friendship bread is a magical concoction that takes 10 days to make and multiplies to about four times its volume. The tradition is, keep one bag and divvy up the rest to give to friends along with the instructions and recipe.
Aside from the deliciously sweet and comforting final product, here’s why I think Amish Friendship Bread is the perfect snack to add to a Valentine’s Day tradition:
- It reminds us that love is something that must be nurtured. You have to tend it, adding ingredients or kneading the dough each day. When we remember to knead the bread, and to check in with our loved ones, the finished product is sweet and wonderful.
- Love takes time- true love is not a thunderclap— a microwave dinner, a pizza delivery in 30 minutes or less. It’s the investment of small moments over months and years, a slow roasted beef bourguignon, an aged wine, a bread that takes 10 days.
- Love is for sharing- The tradition is not just about the bread, it’s about sharing what you have with others. Just like love, the more it’s shared, the more it multiplies.
So instead of flowers and candy,
. If you start today, you’ll be eating some delicious friendship bread by Valentine’s Day...and so will your friends!