In my family this is a favorite dessert served only at Christmastime – an ice box roll. My paternal grandmother Della Cecilia (McKinney) Pearson made several a couple of weeks before Christmas so we could enjoy a slice each day we were visiting during our holiday break. My mother had the recipe though she made only one. I am told it was a favorite of mine starting with my second Christmas. It is still a favorite. I crave it as I did as a child and the list of ingredients is short with no baking is involved. A food chopper is required, though, one of those anchored to the table or countertop and powered by turning the crank. It was the only time of year we dragged it out of the bottom of the pantry.
1 pound of graham crackers
1/2 pound pitted dates
1 pound of raisins
1 cup chopped pecans
1 small can of Pet milk
1 bag marshmallows
Nowhere in my cookbooks and notebooks of family recipes is the process written down. The dates and raisins were chopped separately, placed in bowls and lined up with the other ingredients. Preparing this was a family affair, a bit unusual since my dad did not usually get involved with any food preparation except barbecuing; sometimes he helped with dishes till we kids were big enough to do that chore. It was Dad’s job to shell and chop the pecans. I must pre-date miniature marshmallows because as a child I used scissors to cut up the big ones into little chunks. Those chunks had their own bowl in the line-up, too. Once all the ingredients were ready, some of each was dumped into the chopper with the Pet milk added often enough to keep the gooey mess from totally clogging up the works. Dad did take a turn cranking to help Mom out.
Once all the ingredients had been churned together, except a little bit of graham cracker crumbs, Mom did her magic rolling the glob into a pretty loaf on a sheet of waxed paper. Before she completely wrapped the roll she sprinkled the remaining graham cracker crumbs over the top. A new Christmas dish towel was then wrapped around the waxed paper and it was placed in the very back of the bottom shelf of the refrigerator. It was served on Christmas Eve after our candlelight dinner. I am looking forward to digging out that food chopper this year.