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Let’s Cook: Rolled in Flavor and History

By Chuck Repnow - | Jul 3, 2021

Many people have a favorite cookie. There are also numerous folks who have a treasured cookie recipe. For a number of years in our home, June is the month that we look forward to trying new cookie recipes. I am sure for many people December is conceivably the month to try treasured or new cookie recipes for holiday celebrations.

Lydia became a member of the Gasman Helping Hands 4-H Club several years ago. Becoming a 4-H member has been wonderful and worthwhile experience for her. She has learned countless life skills including how to run a meeting with Parliamentary Procedure. She currently serves as the president of this engaged, active and friendly club. Help is always near should a concern arise. We are blessed here in Ward County with wonderful leadership and assistance from the 4-H office – Emily and Shirrell, just to name a couple!

Ruth Smeltzer once said, “Life is a jig-saw puzzle, and our greatest task is to fine the place into which we fit.” Belonging to 4-H has helped many a young person to realize where they fit. The 4-H green clover emblem has been around since 1909. The green four-leaf clover has white “H’s” placed on each leaf. The white represents purity. The four “H’s” stand for: Head, Heart, Hands and Health to represent the equal training for each child. Being involved in 4-H reminds us that life is good.

The vast number of 4-H projects completed each summer nationwide certainly engage each member’s head, heart, hands and promotes health. All four of these H’s were being engaged recently as I watched Lydia make date-filled pinwheel cookies with the guidance of her mother for 4-H Achievement Days. I could not help but to think back on previous baking sessions and obstacles that were overcome by the fact of learning from mistakes. Oh, the priceless habit of practice and patience.

Making these tasty cookies allowed all of us to take a step back in time. The recipe came from Mrs. George Meyer, who was a neighbor to Jan’s family north of Ray. Jan’s father, who is 92, can still recall the delight of these fine date-filled cookies when Mrs. Meyer made them. The conversation went beyond the cookie batter as Jan told about the Meyer home and its location “beyond the coulee and south of the old country schoolhouse” to the Thompson farm. For many years beautiful rambling yellow roses bloomed by the Meyer’s weathered gate. It was a summer image that we appreciated for many years. These buildings are long gone but the memory of them was rekindled as the date pinwheels were being completed.

An afternoon baking session that featured a century-old, excellent recipe brought forth many rewards. We had the chance to engage our Heads in some family history. Our Hearts were enlightened as we heard stories about early farm neighbors and the kindness and courtesy they showed one another often through shared treats and recipes. Hands were busy mixing, rolling and slicing heritage cookies. Much can be said about spending family time in the kitchen in this manner. When you take into consideration the sharing, learning and laughter, what could be Healthier?

If we want our children to live a better life, a beautiful life, and an engaged life, we must show them how. 4-H is a great place to start.

Recently I was visiting with a gal who told me this about Date Pinwheel Cookies. She stated if Date Pinwheel Cookies are served at your funeral luncheon that means that you were a special person. It made me smile because as ordinary as baking is, when done with a special touch it says, “I care about you.” These cookies are delicious, and they do not have to be baked all at once. By leaving a prepared roll in the freezer allows you to make fresh cookies with ease.

Date Pinwheel Cookies

Mrs. George Meyer, Ray, ND

Circa 1930

Cook until thick:

16 oz. baking dates

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

Cool well before spreading on following.

Mix together:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1/2 cup margarine

1/2 cup butter

3 eggs

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. vanilla

Divide batter into 3 parts; roll each out in a rectangular shape to ™ thickness. Spread with date mixture; roll up like a jelly roll. Cool, slice. Bake at 375 degrees for 7 to 10 minutes.

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