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Coconut Cookies


By Judy Thomas

Fri, Jul 11th, 2014
Posted in All Columnists

July 14, 1914 - What is so significant about that date? Well, it is my mother’s birthday. She would be 100 this year and I wish she were here to celebrate with, but in reality I know that can’t be. We all have wonderful memories about our moms, but my mother had a little different story to tell, and I’m so proud to have been her daughter, even though I inherited diabetes from her side of the family. Here’s why I am proud...

Evelyn Dorthea Grace Edge was born in the little town of Leeds, Iowa near Sioux City, and when a small child she moved with parents Charles and Dasa to Waterloo, Iowa with her older sister Frances. About the age of 15, she was diagnosed as a diabetic, which in those days next to nothing was known about the disease. Her parents entered her into a research program at the U of Iowa University Hospital to undergo the “Guinea Pig program” as she called it and lived there for the next six months learning to use the first commercially produced regular insulin for human consumption.

She always said that it saved her life, but was not a pleasant experience. They had their stomachs pumped daily, until she rebelled, so that was stopped. Her arms bore scars from repeated blood draws, and believed they weren’t as sophisticated as they are now. She used glass syringes and stainless steel needles that had to be sharpened and the testing of sugar was so far behind that she was probably always 2-4 hours behind what the real test results really were. She took insulin three times per day before each meal, and I can remember after World War II when they came out with NPH U-40 long coverage and she could go to once a day. How happy she was. But in later life she said she had much better control with the three times per day and six small meals, rather than three big meals, and this is what they train you to do today in diabetes education.

In spite of all her problems she was a very fun, loving mom. She was an excellent cook, seamstress, she made all my clothes much to my dismay (and now I realize just how lucky I was). After I was married and had children of my own, she kept them in beautifully made outfits out of her scraps. She was a talented piano and organ player, gardener, confidant, Christian example and a great cook. I have her 1939 “Household Searchlight Cookbook”, so will pick a recipe from the back and share with you. These recipes are from the war era when rationing and coupons were needed. So sometimes bacon fat was substituted, and this one recipe that I remember, it was used in.

Coconut Cookies

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup melted lard or bacon drippings

2 eggs

2 tsp. baking powder

2 cups oat meal

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla

2 cups flour

1 cup coconut



Mix first six ingredients together thoroughly then add dry ingredients. Mix well. Do not grease cookie sheets. Bake in 350 degree oven 10 to 12 minutes. If you use the bacon fat, you will have a distinctly unusual flavor, but it grows on you and if you watch the cooking shows on TV, you will see bacon in everything. It’s all the rage now. Enjoy until next time!

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