Some of the food served in the Amana kitchens was grown in the communal farms rather than the kitchen gardens. These tended to be staples like wheat, onions, and potatoes. Potatoes were especially favored, with few meals being served that did not have at least one type of potato dish. Not surprisingly, Colony farms grew lots of potatoes to feed the settlement; according to records in the Amana Historical Society, around 1900 the yearly potato yield typically ranged from 750 to 1200 tons.
Perhaps the most iconic potato dish in the Amana communal kitchen repertoire was fried potatoes, in which potato slices were cooked with onion in an oiled skillet until the potatoes became brown and crusty. This dish was likely offered 3-4 times a week in the communal kitchens.
• 8 medium-size waxy red potatoes
• 1 small onion, cut into small mince
• 1/4 cup butter
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. Boil potatoes in their jackets until they are just barely cooked through. Remove from water and remove the peels. Let the potatoes cool and firm up. Cut into 1/4-inch slices.
2. Heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is preferable) and melt the butter. When the butter begins to sizzle, add in the sliced potatoes and minced onion. Fry until the potatoes on the bottom are nicely browned, then stir. Let these potatoes also brown, and continue until at least one quarter of the potatoes have a brown crust.
3. Season with salt and pepper and serve hot.