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Photo by Andrea Maibaum.
Photo by Andrea Maibaum.

Spread the Love

Feb 9, 2012

Lately I’ve gotten a startling number of requests for dating advice from people who know me, and should therefore know better. They are surely aware that the closest I’ve come to a date in the last three years was the time I told a lonely ex-Hutterite that my ideal Sunday dinner was chicken and dumplings. Never mention dumplings to a single Hutterite male — he’ll get the wrong idea about you for sure.

Even though my friends have mistaken my jaded air for worldly wisdom, I feel compelled to oblige them as best I can. Here’s some of the questionable dating advice I’ve been handing out lately. Feel free to add your own advice in the comments, so I can steal it and look smarter next time I’m asked for guidance.

  1. Wear clean clothes. This is probably always a good idea when you’re going out in public. If you’re in an emergency date situation and cannot be clean, be prepared to be extra charming to compensate.
  2. Be yourself — but not too much yourself, or your date will get scared. On the other hand, maybe you should unleash the full force of your personality on them. Weeding out the timid right away saves time in the long run.
  3. A lady does not arm wrestle on the first date.
  4. I’ve never forgotten what my kindergarten teacher told me: red and green clash. Dating people of different races, religions, political beliefs and sports affiliations is fine, but never get serious with someone of a different tractor faith.

With brilliant advice like that, is it any wonder no one’s had much luck? Ah, but since store-bought romance is in the air, my single female friends are feeling twitchy. How will they cope with being alone on Valentine’s Day? I say we take a tip from the late Tub Rath, mentioned in our last e-newsletter, who faithfully delivered holiday goodies to the women of Wasta for many years. Perhaps instead of waiting for someone to show up with boxed treats, sappy cards and out-of-season flowers, we should take some initiative and spread a little love around town ourselves. I’ll be doing it with cookies.



Oatmeal Valentine Cookies

2 1/2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup soft butter or oleo
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oatmeal (quick or old-fashioned)

Powdered Sugar Icing

Confectioner’s sugar
Red food coloring

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Add butter, sugar, milk, eggs and vanilla. Beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Stir in oatmeal. Roll dough out on lightly floured board to 1/4 inch thickness. Bake 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on wire rack.

Add confectioner’s sugar to a bowl with a dash of vanilla, a few drops of food coloring (if desired) and a bit of milk. Stir thoroughly, adding milk as needed until icing is thick enough to spread but still runny enough to ooze a little. Spread onto cooled cookies, and let dry.


12:17 pm - Thu, February 9 2012
Kari Hanson said:
This is my Mom's recipe! We made these as kids in the 60's! It is to date the best cookie on earth. LOL at your advice. :) Happy Valentines from a Minnesotan who really loves South Dakota with all her heart!
04:33 am - Fri, February 10 2012
Amy Scheel-Jones said:
Yum! These cookies will be on my Valentine's menu for sure. A little butter and love is never wrong -especially with a laugh thrown in. Thanks for the advice! Another prayer of thanks that I found a man who is tractor-neutral...Perhaps our love will survive?
06:40 am - Fri, February 10 2012
Laura Johnson said:
Kari - Happy Valentine's Day to you! Here and I thought it was my Great-Grandma Skoven's recipe. I wonder what the true origins of it are.

Amy - Tractor-neutral? I didn't know such a thing was possible. Perhaps that could work.
10:13 am - Fri, February 10 2012
Those cookies look delicious. Although my father worked for a large John Deere dealer for many years, I really had no interest in tractors. Then, I married a farmer whose tractor allegiance runs red. Case-IH all the way here...except for the Bobcat. ;-)
06:50 am - Mon, February 13 2012
Rebecca said:
Hilarious! Glad I finally got a chance to read this.
10:02 am - Mon, February 13 2012
Vonda said:
Making these today for my hubster of 33 years!
02:54 pm - Tue, February 14 2012
Barb said:
I clearly can't leave the office and be away from my computer for a few days. I seemed to have missed all the fun with this blog last week. Love the humor and the recipe. Thanks for a good laugh Laura.
07:34 am - Mon, February 20 2012
Marsha Peterson said:
Do you think there is any hope now that your dating advice has been passed on to your grandfather and your brothers? Thank you for sharing the recipe and bits of wisdom and for the fun evening!

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