Oatmeal Cookies, circa 1945


While not usually a proponent of vegetable shortening over butter when baking, sometimes you just gotta go with what you have. Plus during these current financial times, I really feel like a 40’s frugal housewife.

This recipe is from the WWII-era when butter and sugar were rationed. I did modify it slightly by using a small amount of white whole wheat flour. (Gotta love the white wheat.)

There’s that old thing about the creative boost you get from limitations and scarcity, yeah? Well, the youngest kitchen helper went nuts for these. Oatmeal cookies, we’ve had before. But these?


  • 1/4 cup shortening or bacon drippings
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup sifted flour (we used 1/2 all-purpose and 1/2 white whole wheat)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup oats (old fashioned or quick uncooked)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cream shortening well, adding sugars gradually. Add egg and beat thoroughly; add vanilla.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and the oats; add them to the creamed mixture. Roll small balls of dough (this part, the kids loved doing) between palms of hand until the surface is shiny. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet for 12-15 minutes.

Really. Really. Good cookies.

Ration Book 3