Great-Grandma’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
This week marks what would have been my Great-Grandmother Margaret Lewis’ 111th birthday. The daughter of immigrants, Margaret Lewis loved numbers and learning. A single mother at the turn of the twentieth-century, Margaret did not go to college until she was in her seventies, where she was the oldest, and hardest-working, person in her class.In lieu of baking a cake or lighting a candle in her honor, I thought I would share a recipe from this amazing woman, whose perseverance and love shaped who I am today.
Margaret Lewis’ parents immigrated to the United States from Europe at the end of the nineteenth century. Both of her parents died when she and her siblings were very young. The children were split apart and went to live with various relatives. As a child, Margaret contracted polio and she walked with a slight limp for the rest of her life. I learned to walk by holding her walker as she moved me, and herself, around her apartment. Even though she died when I was only six, I remember my great-grandmother Margaret very clearly. She loved sweets, and always kept a tin container filled with cookies on her table and candy in a dish by the side of her couch. Little cans of pineapple juice populated her fridge.
The picture of my great-grandma that stays with me is one my mom vividly recounts: My great-grandma exits the bus from Brooklyn with a ton of bags. One bag holds her clothes, one holds gifts for everyone in the family, and another bag holds sweets – like her Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies.
In tribute to her, and in the spirit of Tikun Olam, here is simple recipe my great-grandma used to make the world a better place, one delicious morsel at a time.
Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies
Makes six dozen
- 1 Cup Shortening
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Cup Brown Sugar (firmly packed)
- 2 Eggs
- 1 Cup Peanut Butter
- 2 Cups Flour
- 2 tsp. Baking Soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 Cup Oatmeal
Preheat oven to 350° F. In a large bowl, combine shortening, granulated sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture is creamy. Add eggs and peanut butter – beat well. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a separate bowl. Add to creamed mixture. Stir in oatmeal. Shape into one inch balls and place on ungraded cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.