I am pretty sure I wouldn’t send my children on a six hour Greyhound bus ride by themselves but thirty years ago it was ok. My Dad spiffed the driver to keep an eye on my sissy and I and my Mom packed tons of small games and toys that were wrapped individually and labeled with the names of the towns we passed by on our ride. Opening the tiny bags at the appointed road signs broke up the ride and kept us occupied. Those packages also kept us from fighting-I am pretty sure even the spiffed bus driver wouldn’t be able to deal with two little girls practicing their boxing moves in the back of the bus. The biggest reward for those long bus rides was Grandma and Grandpa waiting for us in Fergus Falls to take us to Lake Lida.
Ten days, Grandma and Grandpa to ourselves, sunshine, Canasta, a lake and fishing boat, and a resort store with dreamy frozen treats. We lived in our swimming suits, our feet didn’t feel shoes and Grandma cooked our favorite things. The thing about Grandma is no one would have considered her an especially inspired cook. She did what most women of her era did, she cooked three meals a day, rarely ate out or bought meals in boxes. She preserved the summer bounty for the long Fargo winter and froze hundreds of white butcher paper wrapped packages of fish, pheasant and duck, caught or hunted by Grandpa and the rest of the family. Her food was not fancy or complicated, but it was put on the table everyday like a love note and it tasted so good.
Grandpa played a food role too. He taught us how to butter and eat a cob of corn the right way and he showed us how to clean fish, and treat the cat crawling up his leg as he cleaned to scraps of walleye. We watched my Grandparents can peaches in stifling heat, as a team, and got to think of cookies as part of a totally normal breakfast. We loved that time and I remember sobbing as we waved goodbye from the backseat of my parent’s car as we headed back home to Minneapolis at the end of our ten days. Grandma and Grandpa were magic and so real all at the same time and we never wanted to leave them.
The recipe below is from a family friend and was one of our favorite breakfast cookies. Not too sweet, not pretty but perfect, especially first thing in the morning.
Kenny’s Ice Box Cookies
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1-1/2 cups melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
4 cups flour
1 heaping cup of any chopped nuts
Melt butter and add to the sugars, blend. Add eggs one at a time to butter, sugar mixture. Stop mixer, add all the dry ingredients to the bowl except the flour and nuts. With the mixer running on low add a cup of flour at a time just until it is incorporated into the butter, sugar mix. When all the flour is blended in, add the nuts. Shape into a long roll, wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight (or a few hours). When ready to bake, thinly slice dough and place on a jelly roll pan. bake at 350 for about 8-10 minutes. You can also store the roll in the freezer and use a very sharp knife to slice just a few cookies as you need them.