Thursday, August 13, 2009


I came home from the family reunion and found that my cat-sitter had raided my cookie stash. At least she left two for us.

They were MRS. FIELDS COOKIES, or I think so anyway. The newspaper I got them from called them "$250 Cookies." Back then, a story was going around that somebody called the Mrs. Fields Company and asked for the recipe, agreeing to pay the $2.50 they demanded. When she checked her credit card bill, she'd been charged $250. In revenge she published the recipe far and wide.

So here is the version I use:

2 cups butter, melted
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
4 cups flour
5 cups oatmeal
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 (24 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
1 (7 oz.) Hershey bar, grated

Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix flour, oatmeal (measure out the 5 cups oatmeal, then put small amounts in blender and blend until powdery), salt, baking powder & baking soda. Combine all mixed ingredients, add chips (the dough can hold only about 18 oz. of chips. I'm sure you'll figure out something to do with the leftovers) and Hershey bar. Make golf-ball sized cookies & place on ungreased baking sheets 2 in. apart. Bake at 375' for 9-11 minutes.

As you might guess from the quantities, this makes a big batch. Hope you have a bath-tub sized mixing bowl.

When we made our first batch years ago, I was all ready to start spooning out the dough. Then the oven caught fire. Sparks and flames burst out of the electric elements inside. The oven made zinging and zapping sounds. I yelled at Jim to call the fire department. He was about 14 at the time. "What do I tell them?" he said.

"That we're having a fire!" Then I ran down in the basement and turned off every switch in the electric box.

Cutting off the juice quelled the fire. But we were jumpy with adrenaline the rest of the night. And we had a big bowl of cookie dough and no oven to bake it in.

We talked the neighbors into letting us bake it at their house. It wasn't hard.

Oh, and for those of you that care, the entire recipe rings in at 14,600 calories total. 1/4 cup of dough is probably 313 cals.

As for the Finished Book Pile, we'll start with Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison. This woman worked for the Head Start program. She saw so many needy kids that she decided to become a foster mom. A hundred kids later, she wrote a book (when did she find the time?) that I really couldn't stay away from. I was simply in awe of how she handled crises like convincing a very dirty little victim of sexual abuse to take a bath. The social workers, the counselors, even the lawyers exhibited amazing people skills. Walking with her through the tough moments kept me gripped. For instance, whenever she gets new child, she takes them to a doctor for a thorough examination. So there she sits, in the waiting room, with a bruised and battered baby, and all the other parents giving her accusing looks.

Next up, The Abstinence Teacher by Tom Perrotta. I feel like I'm making less of a report and more of a confession. Ok, ok, the book was full of cow patties, but it's just the nature of the subject. I stuck with it for the sake of opposition research. It wasn't hard to figure out the author's bias: Abstinence is crock. His heroine is forced to teach it anyway, thanks to the crazy members of the something-something Tabernacle that's taking over the town, even the whole country! A person like me, who believes we ought to give abstinence a chance, reads a book like this just to know if these Tabernacle types are portrayed fairly. Perrotta does his best to make them into real crazies. The minister, once a normal, lowly worker in an electronics store, has a mystical, almost electrical conversion when he finds a Bible he had tossed under his desk, whereupon he proceeds to destroy all the evil TVs and computers throughout the store.

Right, Perrotta.

A Barbie-doll of a woman comes to the school to plug for the Abstinence Ed. program, telling the assembled students that she's a 28-yr.-old virgin with a hot boyfriend, and showing pictures of their vacation together in the Caribbean.

Right, Perrotta. Abstinence requires a few buffer-zone rules. It's not just "no sex," it's "no just-the-two-of-you vacations with your hot boyfriend."

It's a good read, but the author's jacket picture--crossed arms, ironic smile--told me that he just doesn't get the sincerely religious person. Only one of his Tabernacle people was a fully fleshed-out human being and half the story is about whether Tim will hold up, or whether he will crumble under the dictates of his faith.

In the end, I was angry at wacky believers as well as at too-cool-for-you unbelievers.


  1. Ah, I have that same recipe clipped from the newspaper. It's called the Nieman Marcus cookie recipe. Same story told. Only difference is--the oatmeal is ground to almost flour. Favorite cookie of the YSAs in Michigan.

  2. I think I'll add the first book to my list.

    P.S. That's what you get for leaving a pregnant woman with serious weight to gain alone with your cookies! Next time you'll know better and bring them with you ;)