So a little while ago a reader from the Netherlands commented on one of my articles and in the process of lovingly teasing her, it was brought to my attention that I know fuck all about the Pennsylvania Dutch, who I actually thought were of Dutch origins. It was quickly pointed out by my tiny little Dutch stalker, who I may or may not be able to carry around in my pocket and have her build miniature little windmills and shit for me, that the Pennsylvania Dutch are in fact of German (Deutsch) descent. Immediately, of course, I made a trip to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to learn everything I could about the Pennsylvania Dutch, otherwise known as the Amish, because I like to experience things instead of just read about them on Wikipedia.

So without further adieu, here are five things I learned about the Amish that you probably won't find on Wikipedia.

5. Amish people don't understand logic.

Peacock yelling
I'm a bird, not a fucking guard dog…Shhh, I just heard something! SQUAWK!

The one thing everyone knows about the Amish, other than the fact that they are actually of German descent and not Dutch…idiot…idiot…idiot…is that they are a plain people who don't like extravagant and flashy things, which of course is why they use peacocks as guard animals. Wait, what the fuck?! Yeah, so as I learned on a tour of an Amish farm, they apparently like to keep peacocks, because they are very skittish animals that make a loud screeching noise that easily alerts the Amish when the peacocks are spooked by something, or someone, on the premises.

Now call me crazy, but I can't think of a MORE outlandish and flashy animal than a peacock. So it's a pretty hard sell to say you don't like outlandish and flashy things, then choose a fucking peacock over say, oh I don't know, maybe a dog, which is about as standard and plain as it gets when it comes to guard animals. I suppose what is more surprising is that I thought a religious fundamentalist group would grasp the basic concept of logic.

4. Amish people are giant hypocrites.

Amish tobacco crop
I always suspected that the Amish were smokin' something.

Now what I expected to see on my horse and buggy ride (yup, I like to go big or go home) around Lancaster, Pennsylvania was fields and fields of various types of vegetables. Admittedly, there was a lot of corn, but do you know what there was even more of? TOBACCO! Or as the Amish like to call it, "The Devil's Cabbage." Wait, what the fuck?! How can you claim a moral high ground when your chief crop is tobacco?! I mean, your own name for it basically admits to your own blatant moral hypocrisy in the growth and distribution of tobacco. Surely that isn't abstaining from the evils of modern society, but contributing AND profiting from it.

You might think I would be all respectful of my Amish hosts and not inquire about their participation in such activities like indulging in obviously addictive vices, but why the hell would you think that? Have you ever read this column before? OF COURSE I ASKED! The answer given was quite clear: "The Amish not only smoke quite extensively, but also consume alcohol regularly, and they aren't very proud of that fact."

Um…sure…well I understand, I mean if you want to be all morally superior to everyone then you just need to claim moral superiority, not actually carry it out. I mean the religious people in our modern day society do the same thing, which begs the "burning" question, exactly HOW are you different from them? Oh right, the buggies. Those buggies really are interesting and certainly don't draw a lot of attention to you which I know means a lot to you guys…to um…not be flashy and stand out.

3. Amish people use propane.

On my tour of an Amish home, I couldn't help but notice all the propane tanks attached to the side of the house and the fact that there was a full-sized refrigerator and stove in the kitchen. Of course, when I asked about them, I was told that electricity is a modern convenience and thus shunned. So let me get this straight, you shun electricity as a modern convenience, but you use propane to run your refrigerators and stoves?! Wait, what the fuck?! Ever wonder where that propane comes from? Yeah, just so you know, propane is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining. Now call me crazy, but I think things like wind generated electricity and hydroelectric power are far less modern and involved than gas processing and petroleum refining.

Process by which propane is made
The not so quaint way propane is made and distributed.

You remember gas and oil, right? You know, it's that stuff we use to power our machines and heat our homes with, which you think is outlandish and too modern. But, clearly you are not participating in all of that though since…wait, HOW are you not participating in all of that again? Oh right, the buggies. You don't drive cars that pollute the land. Your buggies are driven by horses, which, incidentally, explains all the horseshit I smell. Or maybe there's a propane leak somewhere. One thing is for sure though, something doesn't smell right around here. Hey, speaking of polluting the land…

2. Amish farms pollute more than modern farms.

Amish country pollution
Fucking religious nuts, always spewing their bullshit everywhere.

I learned an interesting fact about the Amish people in my quest for knowledge about the weird hypocritical world of the Pennsylvania Dutch: Amish farms actually pollute much more than modern farms, yet they still proclaim to be "stewards of the land as is their Christian duty." Wait, what the fuck?!

Yup, you read that right. You see, apparently, Lancaster County is the number one polluter of the Chesapeake Bay, and the Amish farms are to blame! According to the E.P.A., Lancaster County generates more than 61 million pounds of manure a year, and that is 20 million pounds more than the next highest county on the list of bay polluters, and more than six times that of most other counties. Runoff from manure and other fertilizers washes into the Chesapeake Bay, carrying deadly nitrogen and phosphorus, killing fish and creating a dead zone that has persisted despite numerous cleanup efforts.

When presented with simple solutions like fences to prevent livestock from drifting toward streams, buffers that reduce runoff and pits to keep manure stored safely, the Amish resisted, because of their tendency to be assholes…er…I mean to resist outside influence.

1. The Amish people make a lot of whoopie…pies.

Intercourse, Pennsylvania sign
Well I guess that certainly explains all the children the Amish have.

With the use of contraception frowned upon, Amish families are quite large, having at least 6-7 children and even up to 9 on average. One thing I noticed on my journey is that they all seemed to have their own versions of the quaint little roadside lemonade stand. Wait, what the fuck?! You shun society, but you are perfectly fine with making money off us?

Yup, whether it was painted horseshoes they were selling on the roadside, or various confections and sweets, they all seemed to be trying to make a buck off the tourists. Personally, I bought a whoopie pie, a root beer, and some meadow tea…. Huh, so that's interesting, you eat Hostess Suzy Q's, but they're round and you call them whoopie pies? You do know that "whoopie" means "fucking" right? Oh you drink soda, but because you call it "homemade root beer" it is…um…somehow better, even though there are bits of grit in the bottom of the bottle?

I'll give you Amish people one thing though, your meadow tea is fucking awesome. No thanks, I don't want to buy a cookbook and support your obviously corrupt, capitalistic, holier than thou, horseshit hypocrisy in order to learn how to make it. You see, we "English" as you like to condescendingly call anyone not Amish, have this thing called the internet, and I can just look that meadow tea recipe up. Yeah, that's right, the Mennonites sold you guys out years ago and there are tons of websites including all your secret and sacred recipes.

Oh, so it's just basically iced mint tea then? Got it. Thanks for the tea! I'm going to go home now and plant some mint in my garden, which, by the way, pollutes way the fuck less than yours does, you whack-a-mole, fundamentalist, religious assholes. Goodbye…er, Machs Gut!

Fresh Amish Meadow Tea

(Makes 1 gallon)

Bring to a boil:

  • 2 cups of sugar (or sugar substitute)
  • 2 cups of water

Pour over:

  • 1 cup mint leaves, packed (and thoroughly washed!)

Let stand overnight. Strain the leaves off the concentrate and store in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, pour into a gallon container and fill with water and ice.

The concentrate can also be frozen so you can make several batches all at once.

Amish Meadow Tea recipe
In all seriousness, Amish Meadow Tea really is very good.