Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies.

I was raised by a pair of southern women cooks, my mom and my grandmother. Jean grew up in the depression, cooking for a family of six by the time she was able to drag a chair up to a stove. She was indominatable, my grandmother. Standing all of 5″ tall, she weighed in around 92 pounds. However, for almost 20 years after my Pa died, Jean ran two family ranches by herself. She brought the hay in every year, and cared for a herd of around 50 adult cows. The 280 acres she loved in Oakalla, Tx have always been amoung the most fertile in the county.

When she allowed herself to cook the way she wanted, everything dripped with bacon grease and the house almost constantly smelled like onions cooking in a heavy pan. There was nothing healthy about her kitchen, but out of it came every taste I long for when I’m sad or lonely.

She could be at times one of the hardest women I’ve ever known. She once threatened to throw me out of her truck for breaking down into tears. Usually Jean was full of affection though, and smiled brightly when she saw my sister or me.

These are her oatmeal cookies. I admit that they turn out a little different every time I make them. Jean didn’t write anything down, so this recipe is my mother’s transcription. I have never voluntarily consumed a raisin in my life, so I always use dark chocolate instead of them. I also don’t heed Mom’s suggestion to add more sugar. I usually cut it back a little actually. I add more pecans, use buttermilk instead of sweet milk, butter instead of Crisco, and double the amount of salt. Play around with it as you wish.

Jean’s Oatmeal Cookies (with annotations by Mom)
Sift together and set aside:
2 cups flour
1 tsp. soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. allspice
1/4 tsp. cloves
In a big mixer add:
1 cup shortening
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar} you may use 1/2 cup more if you like
3/4 cup granulated sugar }
2 eggs unbeaten
1/3 cup milk
1 tbs. vanilla extract
Stir into batter:
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
1 cup raisins – more if you like-HA HA
1 cup finely chopped pecans
Cream sugar and shortening -add eggs and milk and flavoring. Blend. Add sifted flour mixture. Mix well. Add oats, raisins, and pecans. Drop by heaping teaspoons on cookies sheet and bake at 350 degrees until light brown, about 12 min. She also added coconut, and chocolate chips sometimes.

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