Amish Pretzel Girl

When I think of the Amish, I think of those cool black buggies being pulled by a horse, bearded men in wide brim black hats, women in bonnets and long dresses, and a people that live without modern conveniences. I think of people who are not very excited to be a part of every day society in 2009. And people who are certainly not going to be fond of being in front of a camera.

What I found at the Amish pretzel stand in the Reading Market was not quite what I expected.

First of all, I have to admit, I’ve never been a pretzel guy, but the pretzels they make here are worthy of poetry! I bought a cheesesteak pretzel, and cinnamon pretzels and sat down to watch Tony play piano (see my last blog entry). My mouth was very happy with my choice, it was a delicious lunch – I had to go back and see how they made pretzels.

I wish I could tell you her name. I didn’t even ask. Frankly, I was a little intimidated by the Amish hair covering. See, I’m so unaware of their culture I don’t even know what it’s called. I didn’t know if I was going to be offensive or not – but I wanted to at least say thanks.


What did I expect? Now that I think about it, and type it out, is seems absurd. But I think I was expecting a girl that spoke in old English, you know, like the King James version of the bible. Someone who would refuse to speak with me? Someone who would refuse to have her photo taken?

Here’s two things that I learned:

1- This girl knew how to twist a pretzel! She was fast, even with me distracting her.

2- She was smart and very aware of the world around her. I teased her that I could get my home oven up to 700 degrees to bake pretzels, and she smiled at me and said “whatever”. I was surprised. But I have to say that while her language and wit were 2009, there was a shyness, a softness to her that betrayed a difference.

My grasp of the language fails me here, because it’s hard for me to put into words what I sensed – what there was that was different. Maybe there wasn’t anything different at all, and I was trying to invent it. But it seemed to me that she was “in the world but not of the world”. She could interact with those of us on the “outside”, but she wasn’t really buying any of it.

Instead of someone that shut me out of her society, what I found was a person who respected me – and I couldn’t help but respect her. Our encounter was very brief, maybe a 5 minute conversation. But she taught me more than how to bake a pretzel (and coat it with butter so the tourists will buy it). She taught me newfound respect for her way of life, her culture. She’s one of those great people that made my journey to Philadelphia worth it.

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23 Responses to Amish Pretzel Girl

  1. trailerparkqueen says:

    Lovely post, Doug. The whole blog is beautiful and well done. I will be following along to see what you do next!



  2. Missy Drake says:

    Amish are very interesting people and vey hard wokers. I live close by the amish and have become good friends with some honestly one of my best friends is a amish girl shes 26 . We go shopping together and out to eat at times when shes not so busy with her and familys bakery. They do make the best and biggest DONUTS… yum yum! she gives me things like that for running her on errands….. Missy


    • democard says:

      Missy, thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you left a comment. I would love to get to know an Amish family better – if the donuts are anything like the pretzels, they are amazing!

      Does your friend use current technology much? I always think of the horse drawn carriages when I think of them – do you think they’ve become more comfortable with modern stuff?


  3. Missy Drake says:

    The Amish here in Ky of course get around on there horse and buggy unless they need to go into town for Doctor appt. alot of shopping then they will hire a driver to take them but i do know this last summer when i was taking a family to town to do some banking etc. and i remenber it was very warm that day and the amish woman that was setting in the back ask me to ” turn up the air”… I thought that was something for them to say that. Some of the amish that i know well my dear friend they have a bathromm and shower in there house they are the ones with the Bakery with greatttt donuts and homeade bread. But no tvs and they use kerasenelamps. In the winter they after all chores are done they do alot of reading playing games they love puzzles. I thought this was so nest a amish friend she called me up one evening wanting to know if i would like to come over and play bingo because they had all chores done and was bored i really enjoyed that. When i take them to places out of town shopping they love to eat at a buffet called RYANS. Also for them not to have radios or tv’s they know so much about whats going on in the world at times they know things that i havent heard yet. But they are easy to talk to i took a amish man yesterday to do somethings he owns a saddle shop he said he has most of his business is out West but he so easy to talk to and interesting, But if you hav eanymore questions please feel free to ask i enjoy talking about them and learning as well


  4. Missy says:

    Amish are staying very busy this time of the year. The ones that have greenhouses they are full of so many pretty flowers and ferns. and of course the bakery is staying busy my amish friend Martha told me that last weekend they sold 36 dozens of glazed donuts. They can never keep enough donuts on hand and they are huge ones. im getting hungry for one


  5. Missy says:

    I met a very nice amish lady yesterday we went out to her Greenhouse and it was full of grand flowers. And they are the same on the prices as last yeard . You can get a hanging basket that is full of flowers for only $10.00. She was so nice and friendly her name was Alma Beachy


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  7. oh Missy, I’m sorry I looked away from the computer and five years went by! Thank you for writing and your personal stories – I love them. What an interesting group to have in your life. I wonder if you appreciate the stuff you have more – or wish you could live more like them…

    Thanks again – I’ll try to be more on top of comments on People Story Network.


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