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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Recipe for Edie's Aggravation Cookies

[a Web image of cookies that look like Edie's cookies]
I am not a baker.

But Saturday I felt inspired to make cookies for a book-signing. More than that, I felt inspired to make a specific recipe: "Aggravation cookies" made famous on my street by my dear neighbor Edie Schneider.

There may be an Edie Schneider in everyone's life - or there should be. She was already an old lady when I met her in 1981. It seemed she was always working - mowing the lawn, carrying water to the garden with a metal watering can, harvesting the crop with her husband George, then freezing the vegetables for winter. She raised five kids, and lived with her husband for more than 60 years. She and George did volunteer work for the elderly well into their own 80s, and rode double on their Harley-Davidson motorcycle just as long. They wore matching biker jackets. Edie kept herself in shape. Her hair and her nails were always just so. Whenever I visited, she said "I love you," especially toward the end, when she knew and I knew it wouldn't be long.

But Edie was more than the old grandma down the street who was always working and always loving and always looking good.

You see, Edie always had "aggravation cookies" in her freezer. My kids got wise to this fact and would just happen to stop by now and then, to visit Edie and George. They were always rewarded with some yummy (and freezer-cold) cookies.

Charlie, my oldest, asked Edie for the recipe. She gave it to him. I put the recipe card in my seldom-used dessert recipe binder. That was about 25 years ago. Saturday was the first day I've ever looked for the recipe. There it was, the card faded over a quarter of a century - entitled, "For Charlie - Aggravation cookies," in Edie's neat cursive handwriting.

I was nervous about my book-signing. I think that's why I was inspired to bake Edie's cookies. I wanted her with me that day. It made me feel calm.

I felt calmer when I found out how easy the cookies were to bake. That means a lot to a non-baker like me. Unfortunately, all the cookies were not devoured at the signing. Now I know why Edie called them "ag-ra-VA-tion" cookies in the way she always emphasized. They're aggravating because it's almost impossible to stop eating them. I put the leftover cookies in the freezer. I'm hoping to forget them until the grandkids come to visit.

Aggravation Cookies - Edie Schneider

1 c oleo (Kids, oleo is what the old-timers called margarine) (I used butter)
1 c brown sugar
1 T baking soda
2 c oatmeal
1 c flour
Add choped raisins, coconut, chocolate chips or whatever.
Roll dough into balls and flatten.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 12 minutes.

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