Thanksgiving 2011, Kansas

Kansas Cooking

For the holiday, I smuggled a car load of groceries across the state line and cooked Thanksgiving dinner in Kansas for my family. We were there for five days and not once did I open my laptop nor grab my camera to snap a single photo.  I regret not taking any photos, but please follow along via some older images.



One afternoon we headed out into the country, drove along dirt roads through the acres of our family farm. It’s winter in wheat country and at first glance, the land seems to be barren and lifeless. If you look closer you’ll find just the opposite. I really should have snapped photos of the acres of brilliant green winter wheat that’s just starting to come up  through the dark dirt. Planted a few weeks ago, to be harvested next June,  it almost resembles a finely manicured lawn. Further down the road a herd of rust red cows were grazing in a field of ocher stubble.  As cows always do, they raised their heads to stare as we drove by.


Another day we took a field trip to Yoder, a small town that is largely Amish. I really should have taken photos of the bearded man dressed in black expertly guiding his horse and carriage down the road toward  the modest white farm house where dozens of other horses attached to their vacant carriages were already tied to posts in the front yard. One could only imagine a Sunday gathering inside with women in black dresses, white aprons and bonnets were filling big country tables full of steaming casseroles, bowls of hot vegetables and plates of  meats that came straight from their farms.

We shopped at Yoder’s old fashioned hardware store with creaky wooden floors where a man at an antique cash register at the front of the store cheerfully welcomed us. We browsed the shelves filled with crocks, butter churns, cast iron skillets, hand operated meat grinders and sausage stuffers and walls decorated with antiques and lots of shiny Red Flyer Wagons. I should have taken photos in that store.

The big attraction in Yoder is a restaurant called Carriage Crossing. With a parking lot the size of a  football field you still had a tough time finding a spot. As the waitress guided us to our booth where the seat was covered in vinyl and the table in Formica, we passed happy lunch patrons with plates generously filled with chicken-fried steaks, fried chicken and gravy and smothered roast beef.  A continuous line of bustling Amish waitresses passed our table delivering fresh cooked pies and cinnamon rolls the size of hub caps to a glass display case at the front of the restaurant.  We ordered German Sausage and Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy and a side of baked beans which was served on a Melmac plate. I really should have gotten a photo of that meal.

Driving back into town you could see the world’s largest grain elevator in the distance.  Should have taken a photo. This structure is so large that it’s clearly visible from an airplane at 30,000 feet.


Armed with turkey sandwiches on plain white Wonderbread smeared with Miracle Whip and garnished with iceburg lettuce, I smuggled a car load of Kansas food products across state line into Colorado so I can recreate some of the dishes we enjoyed.  I’ll be sharing photos soon.

On this day..

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  1. says

    I just loved reading this post. Kansas is too often underestimated when it comes to good food and local color. I would love to visit Yoder. That hardware store kind of reminds me of what we thought we might find in that general store in Brighton.

    • Lea Ann says

      I was hoping when you read this post, that you’d reply that you had visited Yoder when you lived in Hutch. It’s a fun little side trip, with lots of hidden treasures. And yes, that’s EXACTLY what I was hoping for in that store in Brighton. :)

  2. says

    It’s nice when we put down our cameras, shut-down our lap tops and just focus on what’s important. This no doubt was a wonderful trip. I am also sure that your belly is full and satisfied.

    Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Lea Ann says

      For some reason, my camera just wasn’t on my mind. Even my point and shoot in my purse didn’t make an appearance. Crazy! That Brighton experience was so laughable and certainly not blogworthy. :)

  3. says

    Loved this! The postcard slogan certainly captures the flavor of Kansas. When I was little, I remember that grain elevators they were the only sign of an upcoming town when you were on those long stretches of highway. And I love the green of new wheat. Yoder sounds like a fun place to visit. That billboard shot made me chuckle. For having no new pictures, those captured the flavor of Kansas perfectly. LOVE the photos!!

    • Lea Ann says

      Yep, every town has a grain elevator! That billboard shot is definitely silly and I’m a bit surprised by it. Amish don’ usually allow photos to be taken of their faces. Robs the spirit. Authentic Amish figurines from gift shops are void of facial features. I also had to chuckle over the photo of that cow.

  4. says

    I don’t like taking food blog pictures at family gatherings like that, my immediate family is USED to me holding up dinner but the extended family, not so much. Glad you had a great time and enjoyed yourself.

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