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Shaker Simplicity for Mother's Day

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'Put your hands to work and give your hearts to God.'

- Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers

The Shakers, or United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, is a communal religious organization that flourished in America from Maine to Indiana during the 19th century.

Led by Mother Ann Lee, they came to the United States from England, in 1774, in pursuit of a place to freely practice their religious beliefs. Over a hundred-year history, approximately 20 villages were established where followers found solace, contentment, productivity, and a fervor for God in their cloistered communal settings.

Unlike their friends the Amish, the Shakers embraced modern technology and made many successful kitchen inventions including the broad broom, hand-cranked kneading machine, motorized ice cream freezer, and apple corer and slicer.

The movement began to decline after the Civil War. The spiritual religious revivals, which brought many converts and adoptees to the Shaker community, lost momentum. Communal communities, where men and women lived a life as brothers and sisters, rather than husbands and wives, began to close in the late 1800s. Only a small number of Shakers remain; they live at the Shaker community in Sabbathday Lake, Maine.

A Shaker setting, with its simple and spiritual theme, is a perfect tone for a Mother's Day brunch. The historic Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill Kentucky, hosts Mother's Day as well as 362 other days in their Museum compound (they close Christmas Eve and Day). Guests may lodge here amid the blue grass, dogwoods, and unique stone fences. Three meals a day are served family style, but oh that glorious morning meal!

The breakfast buffet includes an assortment of juices, warmed fruit compotes, cereals, grits, scrambled eggs, sausage patties, thick-slab bacon, hot biscuits, and muffins.

If you are not headed to Kentucky, how about, a simple Shaker brunch for Mom on her special day that can be prepared by Dad and the kids?.

Begin your brunch by creating a menu and organizing your table, remembering that simplicity is the order of the day. Utilize a simple table with no covering or a simple white tablecloth. Add crisp, white linen or checkered napkins, or early quilt pieces. Make a centerpiece of lemons, spring flowers, or fresh herbs arranged with simple elegance. As the Shakers did, keep the decorating to a minimum, and put your efforts into the food.

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