Mom’s Oatmeal Cookies

Lila Steele Judd

Oatmeal cookies would have been a fall or winter treat, as no one in their right mind would build a fire in the cook stove and heat up the kitchen when the temperature was already hot.


When Mom made these oatmeal cookies she did not have a mixer or a modern electric or gas cook stove.  Mixing was done by hand in a bowl with a wooden spoon.  On the farm there were no cabinets other than a few shelves for dishes, so  the kitchen table served as the work space.

One may think four eggs would be too many, but eggs were one food we had in abundance, since Dad was raising chickens.  And the skim milk was not the same as the skim milk we know today.  Since our milk was not pasteurized, the cream would rise to the top and could be skimmed off and used to make butter, or better yet, to make ice cream or fudge!  No chocolate chips either, but we did have raisins.

The cookies were baked in the oven of the coal cook stove.  The only way to know if the oven was the right temperature was by feel.  Mom would open the oven door and quickly wave her hand to check the temperature.  She always baked one or two test cookies, which she broke in half to check the doneness.  If you were lucky you got to sample a test cookie.    There was no kitchen timer, so she had to watch the clock or go by how they smelled to know when to take them out of the oven.

Mom’s Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup shortening
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup skim milk
3 cups regular rolled oats
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 cups raisins

Wash raisins in hot water and drain. Cream shortening with sugar, then add eggs and vanilla. Combine rolled oats, flour, soda, baking powder and salt and cinnamon. Add to creamed mixture alternately with milk. Stir in raisins. Drop on greased cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Yield: About 5 dozen cookies.



The Ancestry Insider: Enhancements to FamilySearch’s Personal Trees

Ever wonder what happened to the genealogy databases we used to search?  Well they have re-appeared–on FamilySearch!  The Ancestry Insider explains. . .

The Ancestry Insider: Enhancements to FamilySearch’s Personal Trees.

Cool, Clear Water . . .

Be careful what you pray for, because you might just get it!

A few weeks ago in church we were asked to pray for water.  We did, and by Wednesday we had a light shower.  It worked!  But not enough to curb a drought.   We haven’t had much snow in the mountains this winter, and there won’t be the usual run-off as the snow melts to fill the reservoirs.  Then what?

Perhaps we should also pray for help to conserve water.  When you think about it, we use water as if it were a never-ending resource.  We live in a deseret, right?  Maybe we need to consider how we use this resource.

A few years ago when our son brought his family from the Midwest to visit, his wife was amazed at how fast the water came out of the faucets.  Out there in the flatland they have to pump water up into water towers to get enough pressure to move it to where it is needed.  Here in Utah we get our water from mountain streams and reservoirs, and it comes into the house fast.  Let’s be careful not to turn the faucet on full force.

With the newfangled foaming hand soap there is no need to wet the hands before washing and leave the water on while you scrub.  One quick rinse does the job that could have used a gallon of precious water.   The same principle applies to brushing teeth.  A dry tooth brush actually scrubs teeth better than a wet one.

Along with asking residents to refrain from watering their lawns, city officials could also suggest we take fewer, shorter showers.  I remember a person who had been in the military saying recruits were allowed only 5 minutes to shower, following which they  had to wipe down the shower with their sox.  It isn’t unusual now to take a 20 minute shower every day.  Just think of the water we could save if we went back to the once-a-week Saturday-night bath in a #3 galvanized tub.  That one tubful served the entire family, with a little hot water added from the teakettle between family members to warm it.  I also remember applying the same principle when we moved to a house that had a bathtub.  There was quite a ring-around the tub after two or three had used the same water, but we survived.

Flushing the toilet less can save water too.  “If it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”

Washing dishes with a brush under running water while squirting detergent is the epitome of wasteful water and detergent use.

I haven’t mentioned the laundry yet, but that’s also a water hog.  Most women wouldn’t even think of using the same soap and water for more than one load, but that’s what we used to do.  The sheets were the first load, followed by other white stuff, next the colored clothes that people wore, and the really dirty overalls washed last.

Should we need to curb our water use come summer we will forego watering lawns and washing down driveways with water from the hose.  There won’t be much running through the lawn sprinklers either.  We may even need to save our waste water and carry it out to the garden like the pioneers did.

Keep praying for moisture and also thank God for what we have.


Medical Alert

by my mother, Lila Steele Judd

I am an old lady and I have lived in an old house practically alone for the past 25 years. Not only am I old, I am also a coward of the dark. I have shivered out a lot of frightening experiences here. It hasn’t bothered my children much until I fainted the other morning and my head knocked a hole in the bedroom wall. Of course, I have fainted before, but never have I left the evidence so plainly marked. This time they were sure I had fainted and it wasn’t another one of my pipe dreams.

My family was pretty worried for fear they would be accused of neglecting their duty, and they got together to decide what to do with me. One of my granddaughter’s husband’s grandmother had just purchased an expensive medical alert system for her, so my family thought that would be the thing to get for me. Here’s where the smooth-tongued salesman comes into the picture.

First, I must tell you about this old house of mine. I have a brother, almost as old as I am. He is a dreamer, but not one that just dreams, he does something about his dreams, much to the exasperation of his wife. Now he wanted to build some storm windows out of plastic, but no way would she let him put these storm windows on her house. I had decided to put storm windows on my windows, and there was his golden opportunity. He decided he would put them on my house. Well, the house was old, and I decided it wouldn’t hurt, so I told him to go ahead. He labored for weeks getting those big frames covered with plastic to fit into my long windows. They fit tight alright, and when it rained it sounded like the natives pounding out a battle cry. Time passed, and we had had very few storms heavy enough to cause any disturbance. I had almost forgotten about the noise.

Now we will go back to the salesman, and what a salesman. He could have sold refrigerators to the Eskimos, and my family were an easier mark than that. Before I knew it they had me fitted out for any occasion. I had a regular alarm system in my bedroom and a chain resembling a dog collar around my neck. The chain was plated with gold no less.

Saturday night the salesman called me and said that everything was set and wanted to know if he could come over and give the system its final try. Well, I was still up, so I thought what the heck, and I told him to come. He came over and brought his little boy for company. Then we went through all the ceremony and checked back with the operator to make sure that I knew what to do. The stage was set, and he left wishing me luck and hoped that I would never have to use it.

Saturday night passed without incident, and I felt so safe and secure that I even wore my gold chain to church, just in case someone should ask me about it. Sunday evening came, and Jeniel came down and visited with me for a while. We got into a discussion about religion, and after she left, I stayed up and read for quite a while. Never felt so safe in all my life.

As usual, I woke up about 3 o’clock to go to the bathroom. At this time I heard a car turn around on the road and the lights flashed through my window. Seconds after this there was a commotion outside, and it sounded like someone was tearing the plastic off my windows. No I thought, this can’t be happening to me so soon after getting the alert system. I stood rooted to the floor wondering what I should do. Then I thought of the System, and I mustered all my courage and the alarm box started to sound off. The sound was very loud, and I thought that will surely scare the intruders off, but the noise continued, so I mustered up enough courage to peek out the window.

To my surprise I found that it was only a storm, mostly hail, pounding on the plastic windows. My kids will kill me getting them out in such a storm, so I hurried and called them. Grant was up and almost dressed and Ira was having a time trying to find his shoes. When I told Gayle about it, she called to Ira and said, “Get back in bed Dear, it was a false alarm,” and then she started to laugh.

I’m a little worried about the System now. Why did it take so long for those two to get down here? I could have been carried away, and my whereabouts would have been just another mystery.