Appalachian Food

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate oatmeal cookies

Did you eat in the lunchroom when you were in school? As far as I can remember, Paul, Steve, and me always ate in the lunchroom.

I pretty much packed the girls’ lunches the entire time they were in school.

For whatever reason, the lunches from my elementary school, Martins Creek, stand out in my mind more than my high school years. Maybe its because I spent more time there (8 years)or maybe its because the school was so small I knew all the lunch ladies on a first name basis, and most of them knew me well enough to remember when I was born.

Of course I liked the pizza they served. Remember it came in big squares? Maybe it still does.

I also like their mashed potatoes. And I never got over my infatuation with their cartons of milk. On really good days there might even be chocolate milk!

I did not like the meal of soup and a peanut-butter sandwich. I never understood how anyone could eat peanut butter without the jelly!

I make one lunchroom favorite myself: chocolate oatmeal cookies. Some folks call them no bake cookies or cow patties. I suppose the lunchroom served them because most kids liked sweets and the oatmeal made them semi healthy.

There’s lots of different recipes for the cookies. When The Deer Hunter and I were first married I found the recipe variation I like the best in a community cookbook that students from Martins Creek School created and sold. Coincidentally, the recipe was submitted by a girl who was a grade behind me in elementary school. I guess she never got over her love for lunchroom cookies either.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 cups one minute oats (I use a little less than 3 cups because I like mine extra chocolaty and moist)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine: butter, milk, cocoa, and sugar in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Heat till boiling-boil one minute.

Remove from heat-stir in vanilla and peanut butter.

Once the peanut butter has melted-stir in oatmeal till thoroughly mixed. Drop by spoonfuls onto wax paper or aluminum foil and allow to cool.

The recipe is so easy to make. The cookies are perfect for a quick fix for a sweet tooth and fast enough to make for those last minute functions-you know the ones your daughters forget to tell you about until an hour before they start?

So did you eat in the lunchroom? If so did they ever serve chocolate no bake oatmeal cookies?


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in November of 2011.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    January 19, 2022 at 10:32 pm

    My Mom used to make these! She called them No Bake Cookies! We loved them too! I made them for my boys when they were still at home. My oldest son loved them so much he made them in his college dorm for his friends! Thank you so much for this video! I did eat in the lunchroom in elementary school, they made real food back then! Fresh yeast rolls every day except Friday which was pinto beans and cornbread day with apple betty!

    • Reply
      January 19, 2022 at 10:41 pm

      I forgot to add that most kids in our school ate the school lunch. The lunch was served on trays that were washed and real utensils that were washed. I worked there in 6th grade for free lunches and scraped the trays from kids who didn’t finish. The good part about this was the cooks gave me extra dessert…maybe not so good for my weight lol. My favorite dessert was some kind of cherry thing with cream cheese and graham cracker crust. I taught high school later in life and the lunch there consisted of mostly pizza or not that great pre-prepared foods on styrofoam plates with plastic utensils. What a waste. Love your channel!

  • Reply
    William J. Boone
    January 19, 2021 at 12:53 pm

    Mom-Mom. my mother’s mother, made these every year, but only for Christmas. She called them oatmeal candy. We ate Christmas dinner at 12 noon sharp because Pop-Pop always ate his dinner then. At 5:00 PM Mom-Mom laid out the dining room table with fresh coconut cake, black walnut cake with vanilla icing, her home-made fruit cake, chocolate meringue and pumpkin pie, sugar cakes, thick, soft cookies with a hint of lemon, other kinds of cookies, a big bowl of mixed nuts in the shell, the oatmeal candy, assorted chocolate creams, caramels and chocolate covered cherries, sugar plums (dates stuffed with peanut butter and rolled in sugar), salted, roasted peanuts in a long stemmed glass compote and homemade root beer to wash it all down. Our family didn’t have much money, but we ate well and Christmas was our gastronomic pinnacle.

  • Reply
    June 16, 2015 at 5:58 am

    Now your talking. I remember those school meals, the pizza, cream potatoes, green beans, my favorite was the fried chicken, the beef stew on Friday’s was awful tho. The oatmeal cookies would cause a fight to break out if someone swiped the other ones cookie..

    • Reply
      Linda Rice
      May 6, 2020 at 3:41 am

      I ate in the lunchroom. My favorite thing was the peanut butter cookies. They were awesome! I don’t remember them serving the oatmeal cookies, but my mom made them. I make them too. My recipe is the same as yours, and like you, I don’t use all the oats. Makes them too dry.

  • Reply
    Eldonna Ashley
    June 16, 2015 at 3:12 am

    We didn’t have these cookies for lunch, but a high school teacher made them for us when we had practice for our class plays. There were no school-wide musicals back then.
    I made these cookies often when our sons were growing up. Now there are no sweets in the house, it is just hubs and me. They local grocery does sell these in small packages, I buy them about once a year. A few is better than lots and lots, and much better than none.
    My lingering practice from school cafeteria lunches is putting a pickle on a PB sandwich. I had one today, except I used several pickle slices. I enjoyed it! IDK how the lunch ladies came up with it, but it is a fond memory for lots of people in our hometown. It is much better than it sounds, give it a try. I like bread and butter pickles best, dills are also good.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 9:08 pm

    I ate in the lunchroom and loved EVERYTHING they served! We did eat these cookies and I still eat them today. This recipe is the one we use and it is definitely a keeper! Great lunchroom memories.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    I did eat in the lunchroom, but I always had a bagged lunch. My mom would pack each of us our own lunch each morning. When I worked in a high school for the principal after high school graduation, I discovered lunchroom lunch. The cafeteria made tunafish sandwiches with pickle relish. It wasn’t too bad, but a new way for me. I stuck with brining my own lunch while working until I went back to college for my degree. Oh, the cookies are a must try for me.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    I LOVE those cookies! d:-)
    An “old flame” used to make them for me when I was in college. I can tell y’all, … “the ole folks” in Ooltewah, TN used to call ’em “Boilin’ Cookies”, cause you don’t have to bake ’em, ya boil ’em…

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I went 12 years to Andrews, and I
    loved the lunchroom meals. All the lunchroom ladies were always in a good mood, and their Vegetable Beef Soup was wonderful. Along with soup
    day on Thursday, we were served
    sweet peanut butter half sandwiches and half of a pimento cheese. These were cut in triangles, that made ’em taste better.
    The spaghetti was baked and so
    good, made you want more bread.
    I have never been able to duplicate that cake on that day.
    It was brown with a mixture of
    sugar and cocoanut glaze and had
    the cocoanut browned.
    We never had pizza, we had real
    food, but on Mondays, Hot dogs
    were served and a half pear with
    mayonnaise in the center and a
    cherry on top. I loved those 3
    cent bottles of milk too…Ken

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    June 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Tipper–When I was in school I think everyone ate in the cafeteria. I know I never carried a lunch and I can’t remember anyone else doing it. Lunch was 20 cents during my grade school years and if you were lucky enough to have a spare nickel (you paid for your lunch with tokens, not cash, probably so those who had subsidized lunch weren’t embarrassed) there was a little stand that sold fudgesicles and dreamsicles for five cents. Maybe once every two weeks Mom would give me a nickel for that special treat.
    I don’t recall all the meals but can assure you we never had pizza. I was in college before I first tasted pizza. Your lunch on Fridays was exactly like ours. I loved the soup and the peanut butter sandwiches were okay in my view. In fact, the only thing I can remembered having that I didn’t particularly care for were two dishes–pickled beets (I still don’t care for them) and escalloped tomatoes (I now love them). We had lots of cornbread, turnip greens, pinto beans, and corn, while meat when we had it would be “spread out” with something like chicken and dumplings or spaghetti with meat sauce long on sauce and short on hamburger.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 11:23 am

    Our cafeteria made these too, only they called them “Fudgies”. When my girls were in elementary school, our newspaper published the recipe, and I clipped it, and made them. Quick, easy, and delicious. I’ve also heard them called Preacher cookies, because if you found out the preacher was coming to visit, you had time to make something to go with a cup of coffee.
    Our pizza was in squares, and I didn’t like the vegetable soup because it had all the weeks’ leftovers in it. The hot rolls were homemade and heavenly!I brought my lunch from home in high school, and my girls took their lunch from elementary through high school.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 15, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I remember the first time you posted this in 2011 and my comment about Aunt Lula Bates and the big pearl onion.
    I can’t remember ever eating pizza until I was grown. I remember wondering why it was pronounced peet-za but had no T.
    I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I like peanut butter and honey sandwiches. I like peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I like peanut butter jam sandwiches (in case you don’t already know, that is when you spread peanut butter on two pieces of bread and “jam” them together.” My favorite way to eat peanut butter from a spoon straight from the jar.
    Speaking of bananas, I used to work with a guy from Wisconsin. One night we were talking about what we liked to eat. When I mentioned banana sandwiches, he said “you do what?” He had never heard of using bananas in a sandwich. Poor thing!

  • Reply
    Pamela Danner
    June 15, 2015 at 11:06 am

    Another one I want to try! I bought lunch on some days and took my lunch other days. My Mom would use large cookie cutters to cut my sandwiches in shapes like hearts, circles, or chickens.It was special and made them taste better. When I got to High school it was french fries and milkshakes for me and occasionally pizza. Healthy it was not.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 10:28 am

    Didn’t you run an post on these as “Preacher Cookies” some time back?
    Isn’t it cool how one thing can stir up so many memories and stories?

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    June 15, 2015 at 9:51 am

    We had wonderful food at my elementary school. The yeast rolls & big sheet pans of cornbread were so good & the lunch ladies would often put out extras that anybody could go up & get if they wanted more.
    We had the chocolate oatmeal cookies, too. My baby brother is a chocoholic & his wife would whip up a quick batch for him pretty often.

  • Reply
    June 15, 2015 at 9:41 am

    The lunchroom lady and her family bought our house when daddy took a job out of the county. When we moved back a few years later, I was friends with her daughter and spent the night with her a few times. Her mom knew it was not homesickness or the fondness of her children that brought me there. She made the best yeast rolls I have ever tasted and always had a big pan for dinner when I spent the night. Imagine making yeast rolls from scratch to serve grades 1-6! We didn’t eat in the lunchroom very often due to the cost, so I only remember the rolls and Jello they served daily. I don’t have any memories of lunches we took from home, but I’m sure they contained a biscuit with leftover breakfast meat or fried apples.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    June 15, 2015 at 9:29 am

    Tipper, I started school in 1955 and throughout my school days in a rural country school we had delicious meals. Nothing was instant or precooked, just ordinary country cooking by extra-ordinary women who lived in the neighborhood. All of us looked forward to lunch, which cost a quarter, and a carton of milk which cost 3 cents. My second grade teacher had a milk cow and too much milk, so she brought gallons to school for us to drink. Can you imagine that happening today? Some of the highlights I remember include hot yeast rolls with a buttery bottom crust, soup beans, mashed potatoes and meat loaf, spaghetti and meat balls, and of course, the soup on Friday. By the time I graduated from high school the schools had consolidated and I was taking my lunch. But the memories of school lunch at Bethel will always be with me.

  • Reply
    Debbie foxbower
    June 15, 2015 at 9:18 am

    My mom made these when I was growing up. I made these for my kids while they were growing up and I still do! I have the same recipe as you show and have it memorized because I’ve made it so much and it’s so easy! They sure don’t last long either. I like to eat them while they are still warm and put them on a cracker – a sweet/ salty taste. My dad use to eat them like that. So good!

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    June 15, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Looks delicious and since I am a chocoholic I will give them a try.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 15, 2015 at 9:00 am

    My brother and I lived with our Grandma for a couple of years and she made these fairly often. We called them ‘McCreary County cookies’ (kentucky) because Elmer Boggs, the county agent, had the recipe printed in the newspaper.
    We always ate in the cafeteria all our school years. I don’t recall the idea of taking our lunch ever coming up. I have a vivid memory of my first taste of black olives ! I thought they were terrible ! And they used to give us celery sticks, which I disliked. But somehow my Grandma got the idea I liked it and bought some when we were living with her. So my brother and I did like Andy and Barney did with Aunt Bea’s kerosene pickles – we set out to learn to like it. And we did.
    My favorite school lunch was the square fish patties. In those far off days it was most likely cod and actually tasted good. That was when conventional wisdom said the oceans would feed the world…..

  • Reply
    Crystal Richmond
    June 15, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I always ate in lunchroom. And oh their homemade pizza in the big squares was so awesome! Yes, we had the no bake chocolate cookies. Another favorite was something they made with corn flakes, peanut butter and ??? I just recall that they were chewy and I loved them. Back then lunches in the cafeteria were like eating at home. They were great. Would like to have a piece of that pizza today:) awwww , the memories you provoke. Thank you for always taking us down memory lane. Crys in Arkansas

  • Reply
    Pat Shumway
    June 15, 2015 at 7:38 am

    We didn’t have a lunchroom at my elementary school. Milk was delivered to our classrooms in small glass bottles with paper caps, and we ate our sack lunches at our desks. About once a month we had hot dog day, a real treat. Moms took turns providing cupcakes to make the day even more special!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 15, 2015 at 7:23 am

    I ate in the lunchroom. Lots of different lunch rooms. We didn’t have pizza when I went to school. I was a picky eater and didn’t like most of their food but I loved the peanut butter sandwiches. Funny, that was the one thing you didn’t like.
    The peanut butter sandwiches had honey, that’s probably why I liked them. The peanut butter and honey were stirred together then spread on the white bread. They were made early and had time to sit before lunch was served. As Papaw Tony would say the flavors had time to marry. I loved those sandwiches. They were, quite possibly, the only thing I liked about school.

  • Reply
    Judy Malone
    June 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    I am a night owl, and just saw your post. I did eat in the cafeteria at Beech Bluff High School in elementary days. (named after Beech trees on a Bluff in the rolling hills of West Tenn) Back then, it was still grades 1-12 and most of us went all 12 years together. Can you imagine that? I never liked the cafeteria food, and we all said the soup on Fridays was all the left overs dumped together. And truthfully, nothing was worse than some kid that would throw up after lunch and that smell of “soup” was awful! A good memory anyway. I did pack my own lunch once I got in 7th grade and never ate cafeteria good again! ha

  • Leave a Reply