Laura's Mother was cooking because Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter were coming for Christmas. Laura's mother was busy all day long, cooking good things for Christmas. She baked bread with baking powder. She baked rye bread and Swedish crackers. She also made a huge pan of baked beans, flavoured with ham and molasses. She baked vinegar pies, dried-apple pies and filled a big jar with cookies. She let Laura and Mary lick the cake spoon. (vinegar pie reference: John Larrysson's Kitchen: Grandmother's Lemon Meringue Pie)
One morning she boiled molasses and sugar together until they made thick syrup. Her father brought in two pans of clean, white snow from outdoors. Laura and Mary each had a pan. Her father and her mother showed them how to pour the dark syrup in little streams on to the snow. They made circles, pretty shapes and things. These hardened at once and were candy. Laura and Mary might eat one piece each, but the rest was saved for Christmas Day.
All this cooking was done because Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter and the cousins, Peter and Alice and Ella, were coming to spend Christmas with them.
The day before Christmas they came. Laura and Mary heard the happy ringing of sleigh bells, growing louder every moment and then the big sleigh came out of the woods. It drove up to the gate. Aunt Eliza and Uncle Peter and the cousins Peter and Alice and Ella were in it, all covered up, under blankets and robes and buffalo skins.
They were wrapped up very warm. They wore thick winter coats. They wore thick warm mufflers around the necks. Veils kept their heads and faces warm. Shawls covered their shoulders. Under all those clothes they looked like big, shapeless bags of clothes.
When they all came in, the little house was full of many people. Black Susan, the cat, ran out and hid in the barn with the animals. But Jack, the dog, leaped and jumped in circles through the snow, barking as though he would never stop. Now there were cousins to play with!