Spring by Kathryn White

Friday, January 7, 2011

Grandma's Old Fashioned Oatmeal Cookies

Just one more post on Grandma's kitchen, where so much domestic goodness took place in the heart of the home. I am not unrealistic or naive in thinking it was all good 'back then' compared to today. I have read many books on the Great Depression, both here in Canada and abroad, but have come to this conclusion:
The housewife was resourceful and creative with a 'make-do' attitude. I am always amazed when I read about how little the families had, and yet what wonderful memories they cherished.
We have so many modern conveniences that I couldn't imagine doing without, yet I think we have lost some of that frugal resourcefulness...
Which reminds me, that is another of my resolutions this year:
~To become more resourceful and creative
~To 'eat the pantry down' or 'make do'
~to remember that many of the cherished memories of days past were spent at the kitchen table

My hubby teases me that I have too many favourites...flowers, tea cups, books, musicians, authors, artists, recipes, etc.
But I truly love Mary Cook, a gifted story-teller who is a 'favourite' author of mine right along with Gladys Taber. If you have never heard of Mary Cook, and enjoy good old-fashioned stories of times gone by, you must read some of Mary Cook's books. I just love her descriptive details and the humorous way she can tell a story. Here is just a peek at one of her books and an excerpt from one of the many columns she wrote for several newspapers and her CBC Broadcast series in the Ottawa Valley, Canada.
Mother may have been ready for winter inside the house. Every window had been stuffed with pieces of flour bagging, the braided rugs were in place, and the barrels of sauerkraut, pickled herring, and dill pickles were batted down. There was enough wood stacked in the summer kitchen, close to the back door to see us through the winter. The smoke house was full of hanging meat.

Yes, the inside of the house was ready. But inside Mother's heart, she never quite accepted that winter was upon us.

One night we would go to our beds, frost would be covering the grass in the yard, but snow would have yet to arrive. And then we would get out of bed in the morning, and there it would be. Mounds of snow would have fallen through the night, and you could see only the pump and its handle, the cement platform would be completely covered, and the only tracks in the snow would be Father's as he plowed his way from the house to the barn for his early morning chores...
You can read more excerpts from Mary Cook's columns here

More wonderful stories of the depression era can be found in this Reader's Digest book:
And some great stories and hearty recipes
can be found in these 'favourite' library cook books
(you can read reviews at Amazon)

Apple Pie Making by Janet Kruskamp


1 c. shortening or butter
3/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. oatmeal
1 cup coconut(opt.)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. chopped nuts (opt.)
Beat first 7 ingredients in mixer until creamy.
Add flour and beat at low speed.
Stir in by hand oatmeal, chocolate chips and nuts.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. Makes about 3 dozen.

My hubby came home from his job a few years ago, with a wooden box laden with vintage goodness for the kitchen. A customer wanted to get rid of the lot and asked my hubby to take it home for me. Although I don't use many of the items and haven't even been able to identify some of them, they bring me a sense of old-fashioned comfort and nostalgia as I reflect on what the tools may have been used for and by whom. I also adore the vintage apron with the morning glories, an old-fashioned flower; a 'favourite' of mine.
This morning I was up early to make Grandma's old fashioned bran muffins as well as the oatmeal cookies as I am leaving shortly to spend the day with middle daughter.
May your days be filled with domestic goodness
and the joy of time spent with family and friends around the table.