Recipes acquired through life



“Go fetch me a ‘glass of goose in the canning room in the basement,” LeRoy Perman’s mom, Emma Perman, would say to one of her children when company was expected.

“That would mean, go fetch a canned jar of goose or duck meat,” Vivian Perman said. “Everything back then was homemade or home-canned, and the Permans and the Thorstensons did a lot of entertaining in those days.”
“My favorite recipes I have acquired through life,” she said, “including the family and friends I’m so fortunate to have in my life and (from)the newspapers and magazines I enjoy reading.”

To get to the root of good, old-fashioned country cooking, you have to go to the country. Turning south at a century old cottonwood tree south of Java, visitors will be greeted by Joy, a Jack Russell terrier, Teddy Bear, a golden Retriever, and Toothy, a miniature horse. The exterior of the 1930’s era white farmhouse is framed in hollyhocks and other flowers that can be grown easily, which are Vivian’s favorites.

Monday and Thursday are her days as hostess at the Lowry Mall with homemade treats served precisely at 2 p.m.  Trail Blazer cookies are simultaneously baking and cooling on tiered racks.

The eldest of six born to Ingrid and Melvin Thorstenson, Vivian was born in 1934. During the ‘Dirty Thirties’ there was always those walking the tracks and riding the rails in their quest to find work and food for their families, she said.

“Living along the tracks, many would show up at our door,” she said. “My mom would say, ‘There’s the woodpile; you cut up a pile of wood and I’ll cook us up some lunch.’ No one was ever turned away hungry from our huge table.”

The Russian sod brick house located two and a half miles west of Selby sheltered three generations including their grandparents, PJ and Sophia Thorstenson, and also the hired help and their family. The homestead is now home to nephew Marlin and wife, Sheila, and their children.

Vivian walked the mile and a half to the McKinley School. Chuck Stulken was her first grade teacher, she recalled. As the eldest, she shepherded her little brothers and sisters to school. Swinging their lunch pails made from syrup pails; sometimes they would catch a ride with Frank Thares who ran the section line car.
Hard work was a part of life for the children. Being the eldest, Vivian worked outdoors, helping her dad with chores, while her sisters Ione, Bernice, and Claris helped in the kitchen.

“We had 11 rows of carrots to weed,” she said. “As children, we aspired to have the garden clean and the trees hoed by the Fourth of July so we could go to Mobridge for a family reunion picnic of the Thorstenson family and go to the rodeo.”
Although she learned cooking, canning and sewing skills at her mother’s knee, those were reinforced with skills taught by Mrs. Margaret Masteller, the area’s 4-H leader.

“There was always eggs to be gathered, cows to be milked by hand, and cooking and baking to be done,” she said. “Back then, you never served ‘bought bread. And homemade bread just has to be served with homemade jelly.”

After graduating from Selby High School in 1952, Vivian met and fell in love with LeRoy Perman. They married and raised six children: Valynn and Wade Schmierer live in Leavenworth, Kan., Lyle and Garnet live at the Rock Hills Ranch in Lowry, Valette and Mike Horst live in Ipswich, Valerie lives in Tri-City, Washington, Valessa and Pastor Tim Caspers live in Stillwater, Minn., and Lowell Perman lives in Mitchell.  She has 14 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren.
When the family gathers, the grandkids’ favorite meal is Hosmer sausage with stewed potatoes, strudels, and salad with the taters and meaty Roma tomatoes fresh from her garden. Dessert is ice cream with homemade hot fudge syrup.
Vivian still rises at dawn and checks the “cluck” house for new arrivals and the chicken house for eggs. She feeds and waters the chickens and ducks and fills the wading pool for the ducklings. She keeps Canadian thistle and creeping Jenny at bay by weeding her garden by hand, buzzing about the farm on her new ‘toy,’ a Kawasaki Mule.
At the end of the day, she relaxes in her hammock or looks out over 15 miles to the west from her front porch.
“Life is good,” she said.
– Sandy Bond –


Vivian Perman’s Favorite Recipes


Trailblazer Cookies

1/2 cup margarine

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 egg

1 Tbsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. almond extract

1 cup oatmeal

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Mix together. Drop by small spoonful on cooking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for 12 minutes. Serves approximately 24 cookies.


Honey-Cranberry Oat Bread

2/3 cup honey

1/3 vegetable oil

2 eggs (beaten)

1/2 cup milk

2 cups flour

1 cup quick cooking rolled oats

1 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1 cup fresh cranberries

1 cup nuts (chopped)

Combine honey, oil, and eggs and mix well. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix well. Stir in honey mixture. Fold in cranberry and nuts. Spoon into three 5 1/2-inch by 3-inch by 2 1/4-inch prepared loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until toothpick inside near center comes out clean.


Kneophla Soup

1 onion (chopped)

4 potatoes

4 carrots (diced)

2 chicken bouillon cubes

6 cups water

1 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. pepper

1/2 Tbsp. vegetable flakes

4 celery stalks

6 cups milk

Sauté onions in butter. Add potatoes, carrots, chicken bouillon, water, salt, pepper, vegetable flakes and celery. Boil until done (approximately 20 minutes.) Add milk. Heat but do not boil.



2 cups flour

1 egg

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup water

Boil 20 minutes or longer.


Cranberry Coffee Cake

3/4 cup margarine (softened)

1 1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs (room temperature)

1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cups sour cream


1/2 cups chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, cream margarine and butter until light. Add eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Beat in almond extract. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, beating well after each addition. Spoon a third of batter into greased and floured Bundt or other 12 cup tube pan.  Crumble a third of cranberry over batter. Repeat. Sprinkle nuts over top. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until cake tests done.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack. Drizzle glaze on top. Serve warm or cool. Serves about 20.


3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 Tbsp. warm water

12 tsp. almond extract

In a small bowl, blend confectioners’ sugar with water and almond extract until smooth.

“My daughter-in-law, Garnet Perman, mixes all the ingredients in the evening and bakes it in time for her companies’ arrival, so it’s warm and fresh.”

Want to read more?

Click here to subscribe to our online e-edition or click here to have our print edition delivered to your door.


Mobridge Spotlight



News Archive