Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Prairie Kitchen - Granny's Cookies

Sometimes, the simplest recipes evoke a long and loving story. In 1914, Minnie Parry was a young single gal with a sense of adventure when she left England to work on her aunt and uncle's farm in Saskatchewan. Her Aunt Adeline had married a farmer near Silton (north of Lumsden) and was in need of help with domestic chores and childcare.

No doubt, the arrival of an eligible young woman attracted some attention as bachelors outnumbered potential brides on the prairie by two-to-one or more. Three years later, Minnie married Billy Wilson, a farmer just down the road originally of Ireland, and their son Leslie was born the following year.

Leslie married Blanche Ball, whose family ran a store in Silton. They settled on the Wilson farm, where at 90, Blanche still lives today, still baking Granny's Cookies on the old wood stove for her great-granddaughters, Domini and Ebony, aged 14 and 11.

"They are learning about the prairie, raising cattle, driving the half-ton truck in the pasture, finding crocuses in the spring, and cooking on the wood-burning cook stove in the farmhouse."

This story and recipe for Granny's Cookie was sent to me by Minnie's granddaughter, Dianne Wilson of Saskatoon, who learned to bake them on that same wood stove when she was a child. Like many simple old-fashioned recipes, it came with few instructions but much love, still a family treasure after five generations in Saskatchewan.

Granny’s Cookies
2/3 cup soft butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 – 2 cups flour

Cream butter and brown sugar well. Beat in egg. Stir in baking soda and vanilla. Add enough flour to make a dough that is stiff enough to roll into a ball. Roll balls the size of a walnut. Place on baking sheet and press with a fork (dipped in flour) in a crisscross pattern. Bake at 350F for 10-12 minutes.

(This article first appeared in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.)

1 comment:

Bernie said...

I love this series you are doing that relates our history to our food. It definitely appeals to me.
I love the stories that you are able to capture and share that give us an glimpse of life past and present.