Sometimes in the meal prayers of Mennonites you will hear this phrase, “and thank you Lord for the hands that have prepared it.” It is a lovely phrase that recognizes that the preparation of our food should not be taken for granted. I truly believe that homemade food is best and that the care put in the preparation enhances its taste and nutritional value.
I recently sat down with some of the staff at the Livery Barn Restaurant at Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) where most of our food is prepared on-site by hand. Their warmth and care for their work is palpable.
One of them was waiting to join the restaurant for many years but had to wait until her children were old enough. Another was just passing by and noticed the comradery and decided this was the place for her to work. Our food services manager, Geri Dyck, was nominated by friends and after talking with me, decided she would get back into the restaurant business. Geri has never talked so much German in her life as a lot of the staff are originally from Germany. MHV is blessed to have her at the helm.
The restaurant staff also shared how food is an integral part of the museum experience. As Edna Klassen shared, “It rounds it off… they [the guests] see the Mennonite buildings, they see the way they used to farm, they see how they used to do all these things to provide a life, and then get to come here and actually taste the food that the Mennonites ate. …it is as authentic as you can get. It rounds off the experience, you see, you feel, you touch, and now you taste.”
In the future, Geri would like to see more catering, and more people coming out from the community. Every day she sees how much people enjoy eating and talking with each other and are blessed by the food and the setting. And after you try their famous Sunday buffet this August and September, please be sure to thank “the hands that have prepared it”.
Pioneer Days 2022 was terrific! We had over 4,000 guests over the August long-weekend. There are all kinds of events and activities in our community, but I find this one quite meaningful and helpful for well-being. Within our 40-acre grounds guests feel safe, connect with their heritage, and enjoy being outdoors with one another. I hope you can make it to our Fall on the Farm this September 5th!