Food on Vacation


My new friend Lois and I have been holding meetings of our two person button club.  I truly enjoy our time together and come away rewarded with a new story, more information on buttons (you can tell a lot about a button by biting it…no joke!), and a deeper friendship with a woman right around the age my mom would be if she were alive.

This week Lois had this framed piece up.  Three menus from three different motels around Yellowstone Park in July, 1949.  Memories from a vacation she enjoyed with her family.

• Interesting breakfast options at Mammoth Springs Hotel: 

Eggs: boiled, fried, shirred or scrambled  what are shirred eggs? * eggs placed in small buttered dishes with a dash of cream and baked until whites are set
Omelets: plain, ham or jelly  ever heard of a jelly omelet? Sweet + eggs? No appeal to me!
Toast: dry, milk or butter  I’ve only known milk toast as a metaphor! M.F.K. Fisher calls it “a warm, mild, soothing thing, full of innocent strength”

• Lunch options at Canyon Hotel

Grilled Halibut, Hungarian Goulash or Fresh Alaskan Shrimp Salad   yu-uhmmm!
Cauliflower Polonaise  boiled cauliflower, fried in butter, w/ bread crumbs and chopped boiled eggs
Brown Betty Pudding consists of apples, lemon peel, brown bread, suet (!) and spices

• Dinner menu items at Old Faithful Inn

Chilled Tomato Juice  this makes me salivate.  What a splendid beginning!
Steamed Sweet Rice and Peaches, Coude    ?????
Grilled Cube Steak, Colbert    more ??????
Boysenberry Cobbler  I’m ready to go back in time
Cheese and Saltines   I’m amused that this is in the dessert section

How much fun is that?  What a fine memory to have on your kitchen wall!  My family laughs because every description of a vacation always starts and ends with the food.   One of our rules when we travel is that we don’t eat anything we could get in our hometown.  You won’t find us at Denny’s in Alabama.  (You won’t find us at Denny’s at home either!)  We always try to avoid franchises.  If there is a local specialty (like sauerkraut on pizza in North Dakota) we’re game to try it.

Your turn!  What’s the best food you’ve had on a trip?

Two Person Button Club

Wonderfully strange things happen. 

I received a phone call from Lois in August. 

Although she had never called me, my phone number has been in her address book for over ten years.  That’s because sometime in the late ’90s I put an ad in our regional electric cooperative magazine requesting buttons. 

You wonder why I was looking for buttons. 

One of the clearest pictures in my mind of my mom is her sitting at the table, needle and thread perched between her lips, rifling through the button jar for a close match.  I decided to begin my own button jar, even though my mending abilities are severely limited.  A tiny memorial. 

Here’s the thing.  Lois has lived in Idaho for over fifty years; in August she moved to my small town in Oregon. She is 87.  (One year younger than my mom would be if she were still with us.)  Lois remembered that I lived here and called me up to see if I wanted to start a Two Person Button Club. 


I was intrigued with Lois.  For one, she sounded great.  Having just been through a major life transition, she was moving forward and making new friends.  Not one hint of self-pity existed in her tone. 

Then we had an oops.  I had promised her I would call her back.  But I lost her name and phone number. Oops. I searched and searched to no avail.  What was left to do?  I really and truly prayed that she would call back.  And yesterday she did!

So this morning we had our first meeting of the Two Person Button Club.  Lois is lovely.  And I’m learning about a hitherto unknown sub-culture of buttons out there. Button clubs. Button books.  Button magazines. Even-brace yourself-Button Conventions.  I do not intend to attend the button conventions.   

But I had fun at the first meeting of the Two Person Button Club.  All the buttons shown are from Lois’s collection.