We could all pretend that this day doesn't come every year or so. We could live our lives behind a veil of secrecy and hope and pray that nobody finds out our deepest shame. But I prefer to live my life openly, with honesty and pride, or at least with hot, fluffy biscuits which are not so easily found in this part of the country.
So thank heavens for Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel, you ask? There's one in Minnesota? Why, yes, there is! The one and only in our fine state rests lazily along 35W in Lakeville, just a short chartered jet flight from my home, looking like the discarded set from Steve Martin's movie The Jerk. Hee Haw rocking chairs and oversized checkerboards line the country porch that beckons you like a friendly, warm bowl of grits. Step inside and it's like entering the gates of heaven, if heaven is full of appliqued grandma sweatshirts, rooster cookie jars, Yankee brand sugar cookie candles and battery-operated hamsters running in place on plastic wheels. Ok, that last thing was pretty cool. I mean, they look like real hamsters running on little wheels!
Apparently Minnesota is hungering for Cracker Barrel because we were put on a list and told the wait would be about twenty-five minutes. I don't think it had been that long when we were called, but I was so entranced by the Moon Pies and jars of fried apples and snack size Chik-O-Stix candy that I couldn't be trusted to keep time. My cousin Megan was equally enthralled, as always, with the general store, and happily modeled some of the items that I now know will be on her mental birthday wish list. Shh...don't tell her I know, I want it to be a surprise!
The maitre d', sporting a comely denim ensemble, led us to our table near the front window, where Megan could gaze out at the porch rocking chairs and oversized families and I could admire the wall art, old-fashioned framed pictures of enormous black baby prams and grape Yoo-Hoo soda. As requested, our flustered older waitress brought us a piping hot plate of biscuits with individual single-serving butter containers, just like grandma used to serve 'em when grandma worked in food service. Some biscuits are flaky and layered and I love those, but Cracker Barrel serves them fluffy and salty, and I love those, too. No need to be a biscuit snob, there's something for everybody. To me, what happens after that initial biscuit (or two) is unimportant. At that point the place isn't much different than a Perkins or Denny's, except for the awesome general store, of course. My scrambled eggs and French toast slices were absolutely fine, but let's be honest, we came for the biscuits. Oh, and we each left with a battery-operated hamster running on a plastic wheel.