Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

My grandmother was one of the pioneers who settled in North Dakota in the late 1800's.  Her name was Petra Pedersen and in the old country, Norway, she married Dagfin Olsen.  Here is a wedding picture of her and Dagfin. They settled in North Dakota near Rugby and Barton where they operated a farm.  Petra and Dagfin had 13 children. 

I adored my "mom"  and "pupup."  She was the most fantastic cook I've ever known and I still make a lot of her dishes--especially at Christmas.  One of my favorites is her oatmeal cookies which was passed down from who knows where.  I like to think it originated in Norway--which it likely did.  Norwegians love their goodies.  What I love about these cookies is the flexability.  You can make them plain or add chocolate or nuts, raisins, or seeds.  You can make them more healthy or less and they are always yummy.

Grandma's Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
1 cup sour milk
(Sour the milk by adding a tablespoon of vinegar)
(You can substiture sour cream or yogurt for the shortening and milk)
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla

Mix these ingredients together and add:
Chips, coconut, nuts seeds--whatever sounds good.
3 cups oatmeal (use old fashioned oats.)
3 cups flour
(If you use yogurt or sour cream you may need to cut the flour. Also, here, I will often use 1 cup of  wheat or bran flour and 2 cups of all-purpose unbleached.) 

Watch the consistancy--I used yogurt and even by cutting the flour by 1/2 cup--they were a little dry.

The cookies should stay in a nice mound and not flatten out.  They are moist and chewy and delicious.   At least I think so.  For me, they substute as breakfast. 

And I can't make them without seeing my grandma Petra in the kitchen. She endured a lot of hardships and struggles throughout her life. One thing I remember is that she was very stubborn. She wouldn't learn English and if you wanted to talk with her, you spoke Norwegian.  And I did. Sadly, when she died, so did my ability to speak a second language. 

Whenever I make these cookies, I remember her and smile.