Monday, 9 March 2015

Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen

Like I've said, I usually read a non-fiction book each week.  Last week it was this one.
..Secrets of an Hutterite Kitchen  by Mary-Ann Kirkby

I was interested in this book because I have visited a Hutterite colony myself back at the end of high school when I was on a student exchange program.  The colony, situated in southern Manitoba, consisted of a couple of hundred people operating a large pig farm.  They also were growing all their own food and living off the land as much as possible.  I never forgot the pig barn,( I had never smelled anything like that before).   It was gigantic and very clean, the pigs seemed to be corralled into their mother/litter units with lots of room to move around.  I realize now just what a humane way of raising animals I had been witness to.  

We ate lunch while there; women on one side, men on the other of the large dining hall.  I loved the women; their spotless aprons, the cheery kerchiefs covering their hair, the efficiency with which the platters of food appeared and all the people were fed.  It was all delicious and homemade from start to finish... their own cheese and sausage, homemade bread, strawberry drink and the sweet raisin buns that finished the meal.  

As you can tell, the food made a big impression. LOL

 Mary-Ann's book is a lovely account of the work of the head cook on a Hutterite colony.  She details the menu planning, food ordering, recipe compilations that go into keeping the members well fed and healthy.  Each special occasion - wedding, funeral, etc. traditionally demands a certain menu. If someone is sick, food appropriate for their ailment will be brought to them on a tray in their home. The head cook makes all the decisions and ensures this all gets done and every meal served on time. There are recipes included which I read with interest but they are for making huge quantities of each dish. I think anyone cooking for a crowd would be interested in that section of the book.

The kitchen is a highly collaborative operation and a woman's domain.  Each woman contributes in the way she is able; a good baker will be in charge of the bread, pie and cake making; another will be the sauce maker.  The children are always cared for while the mothers are occupied at their communal tasks.

Child care is not the only thing the Hutterites don't have to worry about.  I love the way the elderly are looked after.  A senior never has to worry what will he do at the end of his work life; he knows he will be lovingly cared for by his family as well as the whole community.  What peace of mind that must be.

A link where you can read more about this most interesting, peaceful, communal living people is


Visiting a Hutterite Colony...just one of my life's experiences I'm thankful for.