A Study in Recipes

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A recipe is never just a recipe. There’s usually a story behind it, probably because food plays such an integral role in society, especially with families.

I grew up baking sugar cookies my grandma, cooking green chili with my dad, and fostering a love of experimenting in the kitchen.

Now that I have a daughter, I want to pass on my passion for cooking—or at the very least eating—with her.

And it’s super exciting! My baby girl is at the stage where she gets to start trying what we are eating! That means at Thanksgiving, she can taste mashed potatoes, turkey, and gravy. She’ll probably frown and give us her best gag-face because that’s how she handles new flavors and textures, but still, it will be amazing to witness.

In parting, I thought I would share one specific story and recipe that is important to me called Second Date Cookies.

When I was in high school, my mom gave me the advice to bake cookies for the boy I liked. Now, as an adolescent trying to survive high school, I found this an embarrassing and decidedly uncool endeavor that I would NEVER do. Fast-forward a few years to when I met my husband. I was smitten from our first date. So much so that, lo-and-behold, for our second date, I heeded my mom’s advice.

That’s right, I made cookies for him. Oatmeal with chocolate and butterscotch chips. Of course, I played it off like I just happened to have baked them the night before and thought he might enjoy them (pretty sure he saw right through that; he’s a smart guy). I guess the cookies worked, because we’ve been happily married eight years ❤

What recipes do you make that have stories behind them?

Second Date Cookies, loosely based on the Quaker Oat’s Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (but no raisins because raisins are 1. gross and 2. pretty much the worst form a grape can take):

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 and 1/2 cup flower (note, at altitude you’ll want to add a little extra)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of nutmeg
  • 3 cups Quaker Oats (I prefer old fashioned)
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (semi-sweet morsels)
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees F for about 10 minutes (usually a few minutes longer if you’re at altitude) until the tops are golden brown. Share with a loved one and enjoy!

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Author: Kate Lansing

I write mysteries, YA novels, and short fiction. I also read A LOT, travel as much as possible, and take way too many pictures of my cat.

25 thoughts on “A Study in Recipes”

  1. Yum! These sound delicious. You have to take tons of photos of gag face! There is something special about that first taste of Thanksgiving dinner face.

    My story recipes are baked goods too. I make cop cookies (so good local legend has it they got me out of a speeding ticket and earned me my own Q-code – I did have the Q-code but the speeding ticket part wasn’t true), and chocolate church cake. There is one main dish. Engagement marsala. It was in high demand in a younger day.

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    1. Wow, I can’t believe you had your own Q-code! Have any of your characters made cop cookies?? And yum, your engagement marsala sounds delicious!

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  2. Yes, we need pictures of the gag face. LOL

    I did try to bake chocolate chip cookies for our paper boy when I was in high school (another big crush). Also tried to pass it off as “hey, I just made cookies and thought you might like them.” Alas, it didn’t work.

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  3. Love your approach to cooking. I too grew up cooking, just with my mom, and 70-plus years later, it is my hobby. My grown daughter was amazed last night that I concocted a pretty good chicken soup by cleaning freezer and fridge and cooking it on a magnetic hot plate in my cottage. She thought I was a super cook. I thought it was just what you do. Thanks for a delish-sounding recipe.

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  4. Great story here! My wife still talks about a meatball appetizer I made for a potluck party during my first year at graduate school. She and her roommates hosted the party, and my contribution was apparently a hit. (Still took us nearly three years to start dating, though, so can’t recommend the recipe too too strongly.)

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  5. Can’t wait to try your recipe–maybe for the grandkids over the holidays?

    When my children were little I used to make notes in all my cookbooks as to who liked what and how much–plus how easy it was to make, as that was (and still is) essential information. Now, many years later, I really appreciate all those notes, since I know what to make when.

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  6. I agree. Raisins don’t belong in cookies.

    Just about any receipt I make from my mom. When she was first married she had no idea how to cook. It wasn’t that she’d been privileged and pampered, just the opposite really. But she grew into it, and now I make her potato salad, enchiladas, apple-nut cake, gansa, pumpkin rolls, divinity, bourbon cake, etc etc etc. She’s been gone nine years now, but every time I’m making something of hers, she’s with me in the kitchen.

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    1. That is so cool, Becky!! I bet your daughter really appreciated that. I still have the Betty Crocker cookbook my mom got for me when I moved into my first apartment. Oh, the it’s-too-sour face cracks me up, especially when it comes with something that isn’t sour at all 🙂

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  7. I remember that my great grandmother always had the BEST sugar cookies waiting for us no matter when we came to visit. She used a small 6″ plate as a cookie-cutter so they always seemed HUGE to us. My mom asked her for the recipe, and she was happy to pass it along, but it consisted of a little pinch of this item, half a hand full of something else, and a generous quantity of some other ingredient, Oh, and LARD. My mom experimented and looked up similar recipes to try to get the correct ratio of leavening, flour and sugar. She ended up with a pretty good version of the cookies, but never as good as great-grandmas. Maybe it was also because she made them with an actual cookie cutter, so they were only about 2″ in diameter!

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    1. 6″ cookies sound amazing! And I know exactly what you mean by the pinch of this, pinch of that recipes…those are almost impossible to replicate, but so so special. Grandmas sure are amazing, aren’t they? 🙂

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  8. Agreed – no raisins in cookies – or in anything else, for that matter. My favorite memories about baking and favorite cookies for all time are frosted sugar cookies I made with my grandmother at Christmas. REAL cookie dough, pressed with copper cutters, and the cookies still had some flour on the bottoms when they came out of the oven. Crisp and fragrant. None of this soft, fake crumbly stuff they pass off now.

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  9. My mom was not a fancy cook but since Thanksgiving is coming up, I have to say her stuffing for the turkey. I always helped her make that stuffing growing up. The fancy ingredient? Oysters! Yep. We never used them any other time but for stuffing, there was one small container of oysters. I don’t know why as they didn’t really add any flavor that I could tell but that’s how she made it.

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    1. Lol, thank you for sharing, Connie! One random Thanksgiving tradition on my husband’s side is to include one carrot and one celery stalk inside the bird. No reasoning, just because it’s always been done before 🙂

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