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Neighbors Growing Together | Jul 18, 2018

Back to school: Amish lunch bucket recipes

Aug 01, 2017

By Kevin Williams


With back-to-school time looming, even the Amish struggle for inspiration about what to pack in those lunch buckets. Most Amish call them lunch buckets, which is a fun variation on lunch pail, or what I used to call it: lunchbox.

I was flipping through an old Amish cookbook from 40 years ago that has a short section about packing lunches and there are some interesting tips and recipes and a few cringe-worthy lines. Interesting because the Amish author of the book was very concerned about a balanced, healthy lunch which seems a little progressive for that era.

“Let nutrition be the key word when packing a lunch — not too many sweets, not too rich foods.”

Good advice, but then the author goes on to dispense this nugget:

“Beware of obesity in the child. A fat child is not as healthy or happy as those who appear overly thin. They are often teased and may become sluggish. Heavy children are more apt to become diabetic.”

Probably would have found a better way to word all of that. This is an interesting piece of advice that, I’ll admit, I just am not familiar with.

“To assure good teeth and strong bones, add bone meal powder in peanut butter and other foods. It is almost tasteless and not expensive. One-half teaspoon for each child daily is sufficient./ Keep in tight container where it is warm and dry.”

Another bit of advice concerns “wheat germ.” Again, this is something I’m just not familiar with. Well, bone meal powder I am completely clueless about …. wheat germ, I’m familiar with, I seem to remember grown-ups talking about it a lot as a kid, but I can’t say I’ve ever had it but this Amish cook values it:

“Wheat germ is very good for growing children. This may also be mixed in with sandwich spread or a salad or soups or in bread. At times it may be bought much cheaper in large quantities at a feed mill. Store in a cool place to retard spoilage.”

There is so much about this topic, that I’ll do a similar post tomorrow.

Here are two recipes that are popular in Amish lunch buckets:


• 1 small onion

• 3 slices of cubed bologna

• 1 thick slice of longhorn cheese

• 2 sweet pickles, diced

• 3 — 4 small crushed crackers

• Enough of your favorite dressing to make a spread


1. Mix the above ingredients until you get a creamy spread.

2. Put between bread and you’ve got a good sandwich!

The next recipe is written out as instructions and not in a typical recipe format, in fact, she doesn’t even give exact amounts so there might need to be some trial and error here, but sounds great if you can get the proportions right!


Dice and cook potatoes with parsley and onions. While it is cooking melt a few tablespoons margarine or butter in a pan. Add a heaping tablespoon of flour. Brown slowly. Add milk, stirring all the time. Let boil then pour over soft potatoes. Grated hard-boiled eggs may be added. Variation: Fry bacon then used the grease to make the pan sauce. Proceed as before. Add bacon to soup. When the soup is done pour into a thermos and tighten lid, should still be warm at lunchtime.

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