My great grandmother is rather direct; she is originally from Finland and spent years as a missionary before marrying my great grandfather. I remember my childhood visits to her as being punctuated by many desserts and at odd hours: one morning, my mother awoke to find her own grandmother and her two children gleefully eating bowls of ice cream for breakfast with brownies on the side.
When I called her to talk about some changes in wedding plans, she told me that there was a word in Finnish that meant determination but was literally translated as “willing to walk through snow.” She said matter-of-factly, “That is what you need for a marriage to work.” I thought about the piles of snow I see in the winter and how uninterested I usually am in soldiering out; this seemed a slightly unforgiving view of marriage. Still, I was glad to have someone be a realist instead of asking variations of the question “Are you sooooo happy?” It seems important to get that real-world advice, the need for determination, before a wedding. It feels like the wedding is less of a fairy tale and more my actual life.
She gave me a recipe for one of the many sweets we ate as children, a fluffy pecan merengue cookie that she called “Soldier’s Kisses.” I thought they weren’t going to set up well because I used one egg white and it just seemed a bit soupy, but when they came out of the oven, they were rich and sweet, chewy in the middle and crisped on the outside, and perfect as a part of breakfasts in honor of all the time we spent being unhealthy as children.
I would probably modify them to include a second egg white, just to have more umph to the merengue, but the below recipe worked.
A’s Soldier Kisses