The Long Road Home

The Long Road Home

I can clearly remember the day in 5th grade when my mother came home from Bridge Club with a recipe written on a perforated grocery list.  That small piece of white paper- just 3 inches long and 2 inches wide-held a fabulous secret: the world’s best oatmeal cookies. 

 I made them often in middle and high school and they were always a huge hit.  They were crispy, yet moist-filled with raisiny, sugar comfort.  They were truly delectable.  And, the recipe, scrawled in my mother’s chicken scratch handwriting, stayed on that pathetic piece of paper.  It grew yellowed and stained over the years, but was always there-like an old, good friend-tucked into my mother’s “Desserts” recipe file with thousands of others. 

 Meanwhile, I went off to college and a life where kitchens were not stocked with baking needs; and so, the little cookie recipe stayed in the “Desserts” folder and faded from thought.

 Some ten years later, a friend remembered my oatmeal cookies and asked me for the recipe.  I called my mom.  She searched her file.  (You know where I am going with this.)  The recipe was nowhere to be found.  I was heartbroken.  I asked her to search again.  No, it was not there.  The next time I went home, I searched.  No recipe.

 Now, it is worth mentioning that during this period my parents were selling the house I grew up in and moving to a smaller one.  My mother was like a Tasmanian Devil with a dumpster.  “If you want anything from your room, come now because otherwise, it is OUT!” was a refrain on all our phone calls home.  I was afraid that the oatmeal cookie recipe had become a victim to one of my mother’s purges. Yet, I could never really believe that the recipe was gone.  Like someone grappling with the stages of grief, I could not get past denial.  The recipe just could not be gone.  I couldn’t face it.

Last year, more than twenty years after making my last batch of these oatmeal gems, I convinced my mother to bring all her recipe files with her on a visit.  She and I sat at my kitchen table and poured through her files, looking at thousands of recipes and remembering great meals and humorous moments.  And, there, in the midst of the sea of recipes on my table, there it was: that sad, stained and absolutely beautiful piece of paper…pateintly waiting to be noticed again.  The recipe for my oatmeal cookies- it had come home.

Oatmeal Cookies- 350 oven

2 c. sifted flour

1 t. baking powder

1 t. baking soda

2 t. salt

1 c. sugar

1 c. packed brown sugar

1 ½ c. oil

2 eggs

 2 c Oatmeal (quick oats)

1 c. coconut

2 t. vanilla

1/2 c. raisins- or more! 

Sift flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Set aside.

Combine sugars, oil, egg and beat.

Add dry ingredients.  Mix. 

Stir in remaining ingredients. 

Shape into 1” balls-place 3” apart on cookie sheet.  DO NOT FLATTEN.

Bake 8-10 minutes at 350.



  1. Posted January 30, 2010 at 6:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Can’t wait to make those oatmeal cookies. They are our favorite and I loved the story!

  2. RAB
    Posted January 30, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This conjures up a crystal clear image of my grandmother’s handwritten recipe for chocolate cake with mounds of poorman’s frosting…her handwriting (in purple pen) is unmistakable even through layers of choclate stains and butter splotches. We all just loved that cake….That recipe is a family treasure. Many thanks!

  3. Lili
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 7:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful story. Thanks for unearthing this recipe.

  4. Miquele Pizzol
    Posted January 31, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I already told you how much I enjoy reading your column. It’s tryly a novel to me. Although I’m there during the day when you are working on it, I can’t wait to get home to read the next episode. I had the privelege of trying one of these DELICIOUS cookies. It’s a mouth-watering receipt. I can’t wait to try it home.

  5. Debby
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 10:53 am | Permalink | Reply

    Betsy says she’s bringing these to Kathy’s this weekend. Yum!

  6. Liz
    Posted February 2, 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I love to cook but hate to bake. My daughter Georgina, much influenced by her good friend Charlotte, is always trying to persuade me to make cookies and cakes… I have no excuse, these oatmeal cookies and the gingerbread cake sound fabulous! Think I’ll skip the mac & cheese on Sunday and go straight to the desserts!

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