Food & Drink

Oatmeal Date Bars

Alvena Barnes of Bellingham married her husband at Christmas in 1949. Art was serving in the U.S. Navy and in January or February of 1950 he was on a destroyer for anti-submarine warfare training. She says she baked these bars and packed the probably still warm cookies into a coffee can and mailed it to him.

After he received them, he stuffed a few into his pocket before going on watch. The captain came along, sniffed, and accused Art of having alcohol. Art offered him a cookie. By the time the mail had reached the ship the dates had fermented!

"We have them every Christmas. This year we are celebrating our 61st anniversary," she says.



1 cup brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

11/4 cups oatmeal (old style)

1 pound dates (about 21/2 cups)

11/2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter, softened, plus 1 tablespoon butter

1 cup water


Combine brown sugar, flour, oatmeal, softened butter and soda.

Cook dates, sugar and water together; add 1 tablespoon butter.

Layer half of oatmeal mixture in 8- by 8-inch pan.

Top oatmeal layer with layer of cooked date mixture.

Top date layer with remaining oatmeal mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.