After our life-changing trip to Heini’s Cheese Chalet, Corey and I decided it was time to get a substantial meal that didn’t consist of cheese cubes on toothpicks and (the best) butter (in the world) on Wheat Thins. We opted for Der Dutchman because it boasted Amish Kitchen Cooking, so of course we went and ordered the two most American meals on the menu: a cheeseburger and grilled cheese. And we forgot to use our dinner rolls the way they were intended: as vehicles for Der Dutchman’s peanut butter spread. Corey wanted to ask our waitress for more rolls so that he could have a do-over, but then he kept chickening out. Also, we had to stand in line just to get inside the restaurant, which normally would be a huge HELL NO for me, but when in Amish Country, I guess. Some hag in front of us kept trying to make conversation because we clearly have such avuncular faces? I’ve always been told that I’m stand-offish, so I guess that doesn’t translate in Ohio.
Before we were seated, there was a brief moment of panic when Corey and I thought that this was a family-style restaurant and that we might have to sit at a table with some horrible family, asking us to pass the biscuits, and I almost fled. When I was a kid, this might have been pre-Corey, our family went to Lancaster, PA, which is essentially the Amish capital of America. We ate at some restaurant that had an attached petting zoo and we sat a long wooden table with other families and I was crying internally because I didn’t want to eat with people I didn’t know but our dad was like FUCK YES THIS IS REAL COUNTRY-LIVING! He was all about it. But what I remember most about that meal was the shoo-fly pie. Because of that experience, it has always been the first thing my mind goes to when I think of Amish (OK fine, right after I think about them copulating through a hole in a sheet).
This is all to say that I was really looking forward to piggybacking my grilled cheese with a slice of that sticky molasses Dutch pie.
(Oh dear god, my tongue is having vivid flashbacks of my last shoo-fly pie experience.)
I was really excited about the creamed corn.
Halfway through lunch, I noticed that Bitch-Broad from Heini’s, the one who had the nerve to yell at our beloved Father Cheese, was also dining at Der Dutchman! (That’s her in the green shirt and stupid poufy hair behind Corey.) Corey said she was also at the bakery we stopped at across from Heini’s and that even in there, she was bitching about how she couldn’t believe the price of whatever bakery item she was glaring at. Then we saw her after we left Der Dutchman as she and her horde of less-bitchy broads walked into a chocolate shop. She still looked mad! How are you going to be mad walking into a CHOCOLATE SHOP? Maybe she should have just stayed home and watched her DVR collection of The View.
But as usual, my train of thought is getting derailed once again. She has literally nothing to do with shoo fly pie.
When our waitress asked us if we wanted dessert, Corey and I declined because we hadn’t seen shoo fly pie on the menu and we were obviously saving room for that down the road.
Before we left the Der Dutchman parking lot, Corey decided that we should call our dad and ask him where to get the dessert of Amish gods.
Corey put him on speaker, and it was one of the most painful laugh-stifling moments of my life, possibly even moreso than the one at Heini’s, because I felt actual kidney pain. Like the angel on my shoulder had hopped off and started punching me in the side for being the type of asshole who laughs at a dad who is genuinely trying to help his kids have the best Amish experience possible.
“Oh, I doubt you’re going to find shoofly pie,” our dad said gravely. “In fact, I had to pre-order one the last time I was there because I knew the bakeries wouldn’t have any otherwise.”
We were suffering at this point from what I can only describe as “The Wet Laughs.” Tears were streaming down our faces and I was even starting to break a sweat from the exertion of laugh-containment. Corey wheezed, “I can’t!” and flat out hung up on our dad. I can only imagine how ugly I looked in that moment, with my face wet, red and twisted in a mixture of pain and hilarity. I FELT ugly. It was an ugly laugh. Hearing our dad speaking so seriously about shoofly pie was just too much.
Finally, we calmed down enough for Corey to call our dad back, who answered immediately by saying, “The reception is really bad out there, I know.” And then proceeded to sound disappointed when we mentioned that we chose Heini’s over Walnut Creek Cheese, and then asked, “Did you guys go to the hardware store yet?”
That fucking hardware store!
“It’s not like a Home Depot, you know,” he earnestly advised. “It’s TWO FLOORS and it has a lot of things that Erin would like to look at. Like birdhouses.”
We promised that we would stop and check it out after we visited Sugarcreek, but first we had important business to tend to at Swiss Heritage Winery, which was essentially like your Aunt Rhoda’s house, full of sparkly trinkets, Betty Boop memorabilia, and clashing floral patterns, with a small wine bar thrown in almost as an afterthought.
Corey and I each chose 5 wine samples from a cheerful lady in a supposedly traditional Swiss dress and then plucked some complimentary chips and cheese cubes from a platter and took our wine samples over to a tall table where we recalled what we learned from Roberto at Narcisi Winery last year, and proceeded to stick out like sore thumbs. I liked all the wines just fine, but wasn’t really in the mood to purchase any bottles until I noticed that he cherry cranberry variety was called “Han’s Favorite Wine” and featured a picture of Hans himself, in a Swiss cap and lederhosen. Swiss Heritage, you got yourself a sale.
While Corey and I were paying for our wine, I used it as an opportunity to ask the older women behind the counter if they had the shoofly pie 411.
I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the expression on the one woman’s face actually darkened, like we were suddenly in Hogwart’s and I had audaciously screamed “Voldemort.”
“I wouldn’t even know,” she said curtly. “That’s something you don’t see very often around here anymore.”
“You might want to try Der Dutchman,” the other woman offered, with a slight shrug, but I told them we had just come from there and it was a no-go. (Although we never actually ASKED the waitress. Now I’m kind of glad we hadn’t. We might have been told to get the fuck out.)
“Sorry, I just don’t know,” the first woman said without even a HINT of apology as she handed over our gaudy gift-wrapped wine purchases.
As we shirked out of the door, I could hear the two of them still talking about shoo fly pie, like they had just been reminded of something that they were told to forget.
“I think I might have a recipe for that somewhere….” the nicer of the two was saying as the door closed behind us.
“What the fuck, Corey!?” I laughed as we set off for Sugarcreek to finally gawk at the world’s largest cuckoo clock. “Why did t hey act so weird about shoofly pie!?” We spouted off some theories, like maybe there was some feud between the Pennsylvania Dutch Amish community and the Ohio Amish, and the PA peeps won the rights to the pie.
After checking out the clock, we stopped in some novelty shop called Finder’s Keepers, where we quickly learned that a movie was recently filmed there called “Love Finds You In Sugarcreek.” Almost every shop along the main street had signs and DVD displays in their windows. Even the Gospel Shop! We stopped in the Decanter and Stein “Museum,” which was basically just a small, musty room full of steins and decanters for sale. I found pretty much the only one that wasn’t $500 dollars and decided that I needed to buy it because I refused to leave Sugarcreek without a stein. I’m suddenly hot for steins, I don’t know.
The proprietor was a really old man who took his grand old time wrapping my stein in newspaper and taping it with 87 pieces of Scotch tape while I was having a coughing fit. My allergies had been flaring all week and basically as soon as we set foot in that shop, I knew I didn’t have much time. This was he only low point of the day for me, and as sweet as that old man was, I had strong urges to snatch the half-wrapped stein from him and yell, “I’LL JUST DO IT MYSELF THANKS” except that I couldn’t even speak since I was coughing so hard.
Once we stepped out into fresh air, I felt fine, so we went to Esther’s Home Baked Goods which was right next store. The inside of the bakery was very brown and austere. But Esther’s friendliness and bonneted-head compensated for the lack of paper lanterns and pastel palette.
“Oh, I see you looking at my chocolate pie!” she enthused, and I had porn flashbacks. “It’s on sale because I messed it up. It still tastes good, though!”
Way to sell it, Esther!
“You don’t happen to have any shoofly pie?” Corey asked.
“No,” Esther said, seemingly bemused by this question. “But it’s funny you ask, because several people have asked me that lately! Maybe I should try to make it again….” she added, mostly to herself.
I ended up getting some weird date cake thing and Corey got pumpkin ice cream and peanut butter fudge.
“Tell me if the fudge is OK!” she begged Corey. “It just didn’t seem right when I made it.”
This lady and me would make a great business team. Esther and her “Dessert Messes” and me and my “Fake Art.” Our confidence will bowl you over.
My date cake thing was actually pretty good though. Corey said the fudge was way too soft but he liked it. He left out the “too soft” part when he gave her his review before we left to set off for the infamous “hardware store.” If I didn’t know any better, I’d think we were being sent off for slaughter.
I don’t know why I didn’t bother doing this while we were there, but a quick google of “shoofly pie” explains that it really is mostly just a Pennsylvania Dutch thing. No wonder those broads seemed so weird about it. They clearly hate Pennsylvania.
If there is one takeaway from our day in Ohio Amish Country, it’s that I really need to spend more time with my dad. He has inadvertently given Corey and me a day that we will probably talk about (and laugh about!) for the rest of our lives. And THAT is better than shoofly pie.
THIS JUST IN!!!