Last week, DH came home from the office and plopped a goo-filled Ziploc bag on the counter and handed me a sheet of paper. He said our friend R. sent it for me. A little grossed out, I started reading the instructions for Amish Friendship Bread. Three things became apparent to me:
1. This was sort of like chain-mail, except you can’t make it disappear by pressing Ctrl+D. Sure, I could throw it away, but that would be bad Karma.
2. There was no way this was an Amish recipe (read further to see why I came to this conclusion).
3. I’d have to make the damn bread.
Here is a chronicle of my Amish Bread progress:
Day 1: More than happy to follow recommendation to do nothing—I’m happy to touch the stuff as little as possible.
Day 2: Mushed the bag.
Day 3: Mushed the bag.
Day 4: Started mushing the bag, caught a whiff of an acidic smell coming from it, re-read instruction sheet, which reassured me not to worry because “it’s normal for batter to rise, bubble, and ferment.” Yuck.
Day 5: Mushed the bag, wondered if this whole process is at all sanitary—are we all going to get food poisoning from this concoction that’s fermenting on my counter?
Day 6: Added milk, flour, and sugar and mushed the bag—added only about 1/4 of recommended quantity (read further to know why).
Day 7: Mushed the bag, tried to fight the nausea caused by the smell.
Day 8: Mushed the bag, decided to Google “Amish Friendship Bread” and got about 700 pages of results. Wondered if I was the only one in the universe not to know about this. Then Googled “Amish Friendship Bread, gross” and got about forty pages. Felt better about being grossed out by this thoughtful token of friendship since I was obviously not the only one.
Day 9: Mushed bag. Dreading backing bread tomorrow. But then, at least it’ll be over and there won’t be any more mushing.
Day 10: Armed with a gas mask, poured contents of bag in glass bowl and added milk, sugar, and flour. Only added about 1/4 of recommended amount—no way I’m spreading this pestering concoction by forcing it on my friends! Surely that is as thoughtful (if not more) as actually sharing this.
Proceeded to put other needed ingredients on the counter: eggs, milk, flour, apple sauce, seems pretty straightforward up until the last ingredient on the list … instant vanilla pudding?!
Now, that just seems wrong for so many reasons. Surely Amish have no packaged instant vanilla pudding in their pantries. So this recipe is an urban legend. An urban junk food legend. Is there a Snoop-type website for stuff like this?
Back to Google, this time in search of an alternative recipe. Found it! (Also found recipe for Amish starter, despite warning that “only the Amish know how to create the starter”—I told you it was an urban legend!)
Opened all windows, mixed ingredients, baked bread.
Gotta admit, it smelled pretty good while it was baking. Which prompted me to ignore my fear of food poisoning and taste some (never could resist freshly baked bread!). It tastes okay, actually—on the other hand, pretty much anything will taste good with when you add that much sugar to it.
In closing: ten days of mushing smelly goo for a not-so-special result means I am NOT likely to repeat the experiment. If you see someone coming toward you with a Ziploc bag filled with goo, RUN!