Wheat's Oatmeal Cookies
Category: Desserts & Sweets | Blog URL: http://marthamiller.wordpress.com/2009/08/11/oatmeal-cookies/
This recipe was entered in The Foodista Best of Food Blogs Cookbook contest, a compilation of the world’s best food blogs which was published in Fall 2010.
Photo: Martha Miller
Without a doubt, my favorite thing about cooking and food is its ability to preserve time, stand witness and take record. Three out of four of my grandparents died young – too young, even for their time. As a result, I’m often envious of my friends who have childhood memories of grandpa and grandma, a deep personal connection to their roots and a sense of history that goes deeper than one generation. Perhaps in spite of this, in my family we hold on tight to each other and maintain closer than most relationships with aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and cousins.
Several months ago on a trip home to Richmond I snatched my mom’s recipe box and brought it back to DC. My goal was to dig through this mish-mash of tattered index cards, magazine clippings and crumpled sheets of scrap paper and see just how much there was to work with and what may be good fodder for this space.
In my perusal, I found recipes both familiar and unfamiliar, old-fashioned smashed next to more modern additions – a general culinary hodgepodge. At first glance, the box was seemingly a chaotic assemblage of main dishes, cookies, pies, sauces and cakes. But by taking the time to read each recipe the box revealed a veritable family tree – a deep root system built on generations of cups, teaspoons and tablespoons.
Seeking a little homey inspiration this weekend I looked to the box and stumbled upon this gem. Though at the time I had no idea who the recipe came from nor remembered ever eating these – the stains, yellowed paper and faded writing were the only testimonials I needed. True to the box’s form, a quick inquiry to my mom yielded a glimpse into her childhood and a snapshot of a woman I never had the fortune to know.
"My mother’s recipe and your Aunt Jackie’s favorite. Have not made them in years. We would watch sitting on the steps in our kitchen that led up to the second floor. Our old house had two staircases, one from the living room and one from the kitchen which was on the back of the house. Mother would put raisins in the measuring cups and hand one to each of us as we sat and watched the Sunbeam Mixmaster create the dough. Trick was to make your raisins last till the first batch of cookies came out of the oven. I didn’t even remember this until you asked."
We may have never met, but at least I have the taste memories to fill in some of the gaps. I couldn’t have asked for a better introduction.