Oatmeal Date Cookies and the ‘witches’

Two nights ago, I spent the evening with three women that I adore. We have been close friends for a long time.

My daughters think of these women as their aunts. They told me that, when they were little, they loved falling asleep at night to the sound of “the witches” laughing – it made them happy.

Years ago, Ralph affectionately nicknamed the four of us “the witches” after the Witches of Eastwick…  one blonde, one brunette and two red heads!

We love our nickname.

Every summer for the last 15 years, these women and I have stolen two days from our lives to sleep over at my summer place. We always show up with enough food for a month and enough wine for an army! We think we are Amazon culinary warriors. I cook and then we feast.

I should have had the foresight to have recorded our menus from when we first met. Of all my friends, I have cooked more for these women than everybody else combined.

Our time together is precious to me.

We have a group dynamic that is generous and kind. I suppose that is where a lot of the laughter comes from. It’s easy to laugh when you feel safe. Two of my friends are absolutely hysterical. They find humour in everything and keep us constantly seeing life from a happier vantage point.

Ten years ago, we promised each other that we would go to Italy, together, to celebrate our 50th birthday. Every year, during our summer visits, we would dream about our trip to Italy – where we would go, what we would do and, most importantly, what we would eat!

We did not take our holiday.

Two nights ago, as we sat together, we tried desperately to find some humour. There was none to be found. One of my friends has lost her beloved husband to cancer.

As we spoke, I was overwhelmed by her grace and honesty. Her gentle acceptance of her life gave us peace. It gave us the courage to be able to talk about the future.

At this point, the future is the next couple of days, but that’s OK – one day at a time.


I made these cookies for her dad.

Oatmeal Cookies Chock Full of Dates and Raisins

makes 3 dozen cookies

preheat oven 375*F

1 cup butter, softened

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

pinch of mace

4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 cups dates, chopped

1 cup golden raisins

Cream together butter and sugar

Add eggs and vanilla – beat until fluffy

Add flour, salt and spices – mix well

Add oatmeal, dates and raisins – mix well

Drop by tablespoons on to greased cookie sheets – space about 2″ apart

Bake for 15 minutes  – cookies should be golden.

Cool on wire rack.

Thanks so much for reading.

  • Peter Buckland

    A very touching story. I do like the way you lead us through such personal stories and remembrances as we make our way towards the recipe.

    Thank you.

  • Sheila

    Thank you that was beautiful. You only left out one thing…… I’m only 45!

  • Helena Millar

    I feel very honoured to know these “witches” and what a fantastic group they are.
    Knowing you have friends like this at a time of need is precious and I wish you all many more precious times together.

  • I actually think three witches and their queen (ahem) is more appropriate.
    We’ve been through it all – and I have no doubt there’s more to come…but I feel so lucky to have you ladies in my life. My world is so much better because of you!

    • It has been a remarkable year – to say the least

  • Diane Marks

    I am honored to be a witch, but i wonder if I am a funny one.

    Love Diane

    • You are totally the funny one! xo

  • Shirley Gamble

    I I taught that lady who lost her husband as well as her daughter. I was glad to read that she has such supportive friends. I know she will make it as she is a strong woman. I will continue to pray for then all. Love your blog.

    • Thank you. They are both very loved.

  • David D.

    Awesome! I have made these with just raisins before, will try with dates as well. Congrats on winning the Best Blog (but we already new that anyway, the contest just confirms it 🙂 )

  • Marie Hansen

    We were privileged to a preview of these cookies. Wonderful flavour!
    Stewart and Marie

  • Nancy H.

    I had the pleasure of witnessing this sisterhood of the “witches” in action first hand. During such a sad time it is very, very comforting to know that you are all there for each other. <3

  • Pingback: Faithful Friends Who Are Dear To Us… | bite()

  • Pingback: Rome | bite()

  • Pingback: ciabatta at the farm | bite()

  • Pingback: bridal shower mode… | bite()

  • Pingback: my pajama party with the witches | bite()