In which a tea party reminds me of a story about cookies

The library ladies are coming to tea this afternoon, and so I made cookies last night to serve on dainty little plates.

The cookies are Willy's favorites, made from a recipe I got from an ex-boyfriend's mom. When you grow up, as I did, in a place that calls itself The City of Subdued Excitement, you can never escape past fact, it's a point of pride that you can never actually leave my hometown. You can move away from it, but it will follow you everywhere.

To this day, I can walk into a coffeeshop, restaurant, bar or bookstore anywhere on the planet, stand on a chair and say "BELLINGHAM" in a loud, clear voice, and somebody in the room will turn to me and say something like "My sister went to Western," or "I was in the Ski-to-Sea race in 1997".

So it is that, although the ex-boyfriend and I broke up and moved away many yonks ago, when I got a hankering for his mom's oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe it was no trouble at all to find the fellow and ask for the recipe, which he happily sent. Bellinghamsters are that kind of people.

And that's why I can tell you this story. Because really, it's a story about the ancient Turkish trickster-hero Nasruddin, and the time he came to Bellingham.

There are lots of stories about Nasruddin. I've posted one on this blog already, and will probably post many more. If you don't know about the Mulla Nasruddin, let me tell you that he is the tallest shortest thinnest fat man you will ever meet. He is so wise that he is foolish, and he usually wears a little red fez on his head and travels in the company of a donkey.


One day Nasruddin came to Bellingham to visit. He went to the museum, he walked around the college to admire the sculptures, he spent some time at the bookstore, and in the evening he went to visit Eulalah, who served him the best oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies he had ever tasted.

Oh, the cookies! They were sweet, crisp, chewy, and absolutely everything that a cookie should be. Nasruddin was so enthusiastic in his praise of the cookies that Eulalah kindly put some in a little bag for him to take with him. She also wrote down the recipe on a piece of paper, which Nasruddin stuck inside his fez for safe keeping.

When he left Eulalah's house, Nasruddin wandered down to the waterfront to watch the boats. While he stood on the dockside, he couldn't help reaching into the paper bag to taste just one more cookie. As he munched the wonderful cookie, a seagull landed on a rock nearby and croaked at him, clearly begging for a bite of cookie.

"Here you go," called Nasruddin, and tossed half of the cookie to the bird. The seagull gulped down the cookie, and then launched itself into the air, croaking loudly. Almost instantly, Nasruddin was surrounded by gulls, wheeling and screeching and reaching out with their hooked beaks as they dived around him.

In self-defense, Nasruddin threw the bag of cookies high into the air, where the seagulls grabbed it and ate all the cookies before any could fall to the ground.

"Oh, you stupid birds!" shouted Nasruddin. "You think you have gotten all the cookies, you rotten thieves. But, ha ha! You haven't got them all. Because I still have the recipe!"


Here's the recipe. Keep it in your hat for safekeeping, okay?

Eulalah's Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups oatmeal
1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine the ingredients, drop by spoonful onto a greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes, 375 degrees.

Life is good.


  1. first of all, that is the nordstrom/nielsen marcus 250$ cookie recipe. or....somewhat...see

    and secondly,


    we borrowed internet from the bellingham library this summer. and still use the pens we took from that hotel, and still remember how awesome it was to have a hot tub, pool, and breakfast, in a cheap hotel by the freeway. all of which we fully utilized.

    and, oh! maybe you don't know this..

    i'm a huge posies fan.


  2. Ah, if only I were not on a diet and could partake in those wonderful sounding cookies.

  3. Ah, if only I were not on a diet and could partake in those wonderful sounding cookies.

  4. ah, see that? people all over the world

    standin up for bellingham: )


    ~lytha, listening to some posies on youtube

  5. @lytha: the neiman-marcus cookie recipe is similar, but not quite the same.

    The proportion of white sugar/brown sugar/brown sugar/oatmeal is what makes Eulalah's cookies so amazing, and it' slightly (but significantly) different from the urban legend cookies recipe.

    That recipe is located here:

    Bellingham is everywhere. I have proof.

  6. Ah! I'm not the only one who likes chocolate chips in my oatmeal cookies! (Come to think of it, I like chocolate chips in just about anything ;-D). I don't know if you're willing to adapt that already yummy-sounding recipe, but another decadent addition I make is coconut... Yummers!

    p.s. I was at Western once, not too long ago, for a week-long conference, and stopped by back in the '70s when I was looking for a grad school... NICE town!

  7. As the "ex-boyfriend" of our story, I can attest that this recipe is considerably older than any snopes / email / internet hoax recipe -- I was making these cookies with my mom 40 years ago.

    And, yes, they are indeed the best cookies anywhere. :)

  8. How d'ya like that: independent verification of source citation.

    And y'all thought that I was making stuff up, just because I'm a storyteller!

  9. As the "ex-boyfriend" of our story, I can attest that Aarene does indeed make things up. :)


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