Realizing I had a food column due for Saturday's paper, I grabbed my recipe box off the shelf as I ran out of the house Friday morning. (Deadline? What deadline? I have a deadline?)
I figured that, as I rifled through the recipes, some inspiration would hit me. The only thing that hit me was that some of the recipe cards need to be rewritten because they are so stained they are nearly unreadable. Maybe this winter in my spare time ...
I did trip over a recipe for Neiman-Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookies, which allegedly a woman in Texas was charged $250 for. She then, in a rage, posted it on the Internet.
The email I received many years ago read:
This is a true story. Please forward it to everyone that you can. You will have to read it to believe it.
My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas and decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie."
It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown, "I'm afraid not."
Well," I said, "would you let me buy the recipe?"
With a cute smile, she said "Yes."
I asked how much and she responded, "Only two fifty, it's a great deal!"
I said with approval, "just add it to my tab."
Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285. I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe -- $250."
I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them that the waitress said it was "two-fifty," which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any possible interpretation of the phrase.
Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money, because according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe -- we absolutely will not refund your money at this point."
I explained to her the criminal statutes that govern fraud in Texas. I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the state's attorney general for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want, we don't give a damn, and we're not refunding your money."
I waited a moment, thinking of how I could get even or even try to get any of my money back. I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of fun."
I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus -- for free.
She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this."
I said, "Well, you should have thought of that before you ripped me off," and slammed down the phone on her.
So, here it is!!! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 for this ... I don't want Neiman-Marcus to ever get another penny off of this recipe."
All indications are this story is yet another urban legend. I don't even know if these cookies are even close to those made by Neiman-Marcus, since I've never been in one of their stores. These cookies are wonderful, but the recipe makes more than 100 cookies. I halve the recipe when I make them.
2 cups butter
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups brown sugar
5 cups blended oatmeal (measure oatmeal and blend in blender to a fine powder)
24 ounces chocolate chips
1 teaspoon salt
1 8-ounce Hershey bar (grated)
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups chopped nuts (your choice)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Cream the butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla; mix together with flour, oatmeal, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Add chocolate chips, Hershey bar and nuts.
Roll into balls and place two inches apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees. Makes 112 cookies.
Margaret Button is the city editor of the North Adams Transcript. Send recipes for inclusion in future columns to the North Adams Transcript, 85 Main St., Suite 2, North Adams, Mass. 01247 or email them to email@example.com.