Well, on Wednesday evening, Scott and I returned from a quick trip to Kansas City, MO, where his parents live. We had a nice visit with them and enjoyed visiting Scott’s old stomping ground.
On the way there and back, we experienced the joys of Iowa and rural Missouri. On Sunday afternoon, we drove across the farm fields of Iowa, arriving in Des Moines around sunset. Being city folk, and only a little bit hungry by that time, we decided to press on and grab dinner somewhere down the line, thinking we’d have plenty of options. So we made a left for Missouri and headed into the darkness.
I-35 southbound from Des Moines has one problem: bloody murder. There are dead deer, dead possums, dead raccoons, and large swaths of blood all over the highway, which we were given the joy to witness until the light disappeared.
At that point, we started looking for dinner. Exit after exit was Subway and maybe a BP station, but no sit-down restaurants in sight. We would have been happy to find a Cracker Barrel, but no such luck.
Finally, at a stop in Bethany, Missouri, we settled on a restaurant rather unfortunately named “Toot-Toot.” Perhaps the name tied in to a railroad theme. I don’t know. But after crossing the threshold, I felt I’d gone back in time, ages and ages before.
The locals were there in numbers, the women in autumn-themed sweatshirts and the men in camouflage pants or overalls. I asked my mom about it later because one guy was a dead-ringer for my grandfather. He was in railroad-type overalls–you know, the navy blue ones with the white pin stripes. I had a sudden image of my grandpa in his overalls. Sure enough my mom verified that he wore overalls or suspenders since he didn’t like anything tight around his waist (I guess I come by that trait naturally). My grandpa died when I was young, but being in this homey, “Blue-Highways” type diner brought his era back to my mind in a rush.
The walls were filled with old photos and signs like this one. And in the women’s room, not only were there photos of cowgirls on the walls, but also top-notch handbags!
Well, if you’ve never experienced a true down-home diner like this one, check one out soon along the Blue Highway of your choice.
Quaker’s Crisp Oatmeal Cookies
Ann H. was kind enough to make this second batch of cookies, these oatmeal delights from Joanne Hass (p. 101). Ann’s good suggestion was to add raisins, cinnamon, or even chocolate chips to make the cookies a little more tasty, but here’s a great “base” recipe from which you can build and create. Enjoy!