It was the year 1906. American hero Teddy Roosevelt was President of a country plagued with problems – landslides, earthquakes, murders, segregation, and race riots. But, he was also President of a country focused on making progress. And, though 1906 did little to help the social and environmental issues facing Americans, it did contribute greatly to technology and American placement at the forefront of technological advancement. You see, in 1906, Orville and Wilbur Wright were finally granted a patent for their flying machine. After years of research, experiments, test flights, successes, failures, and arguments over the issue of a patent, this was a major victory. And, it set the stage for aircraft development, which might be one of the most significant technological developments in history.
Orville and Wilbur Wright were brothers born four years apart who grew into adulthood in Dayton, Ohio. After their high school years, they began a printing business together, and later opened up a bicycle shop. It was around this time that they became interested in the budding glider phenomenon popping up in different parts of the world, which they read about in newspapers and magazines. They decided to give flight a try, and by 1899, they developed their own kite to fly. Their first goal with flight was to build a glider that they could control, a glider whose shape and movement would allow them to understand and predict how it would move through the sky. To accomplish this, they studied the wings and flight patterns of birds as they moved through the air. In 1900, the brothers finally built a manned glider, and they took it to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for testing.
By 1903, the Wright brothers were ready to add power to their invention. They built the Wright Flyer I, which had a wooden frame and muslin-covered wings, a carved wooden propeller, and a gasoline engine. And, on December 17, 1903, they flew it at Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. Orville flew it a distance of 120 feet for twelve seconds going about seven miles per hour. Then, Wilbur flew it 175 feet about ten feet off the ground! The brothers had made history. The only problem was that no one believed them. They had trouble making successful flights in front of reporters, and they took all the photos of their successes themselves, so no one believed what they said they accomplished. Nevertheless, they kept at what they loved, and eventually, they won their patent, started the Wright Company as a commercial aviation business, held flight training, and sold the use of their patent to the government for use during World War I.
So, what are we cooking? Oatmeal cookies from Just For Two: A Collection of Recipes Designed for Two Persons published in 1906.
Orville and Wilbur Wright certainly had to eat while they were inventing, experimenting, and making the first manned flight in North Carolina. Who’s to say they didn’t enjoy a nice batch of oatmeal cookies while they were working away? If they did, maybe this is the recipe they enjoyed!
So, let’s go – into the kitchen to make history!
Here are our ingredients: Butter (salted), sugar, eggs, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, old-fashioned oats, flour, and raisins.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 375. This recipe calls for a “hot oven,” which means 400-450 degrees according to Wikipedia. However, after some experimenting, you want to go with a 375 degree oven. Trust me. Get out a mixing bowl, and add your butter and sugar.
Step 2: Cream together the butter and the sugar. Orville and Wilbur would most certainly approve of you using an electric mixer!
Step 3: Add the eggs. Like I’ve said before, some people crack their eggs into a separate bowl first and add them one at a time. I just go for it. Do what makes you happy!
Step 4: Add the cinnamon, baking soda, and salt. I only added a 1/2 teaspoon of salt since I’m using salted butter. I don’t want salty cookies!
Step 5: Add the flour and oats. I added one cup of flour and one cup of oats, mixed that in, then I added the remaining cup of flour and cup of oats. When I add in the dry ingredients gradually, I typically end up with less of a flour dusting all over my counter, which is a good thing!
Step 6: When you’ve finished mixing your dough, fold in the raisins. I’m not a big fan of raisins, but the recipe calls for raisins. However, if you’re like me and you don’t like raisins, but you’re not writing a blog that keeps to the original recipe, mix it up! Add in some dark chocolate chips, or candy bits, or nuts – whatever you like!
Step 7: Roll balls of dough the size of “an English walnut” – that’s two tablespoons to you and me! Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. To me, the secret to a good cookie is to slightly underbake it. Just don’t overbake these. I experimented with cooking time along with the oven temperature, so, again, trust me!
Final step: Pour yourself a cold glass of milk and enjoy what you’ve made! Maybe you didn’t draw up the plans to a flying machine, but you could be eating the same cookies the inventors of the airplane did! That’s why I love history – it never goes away. It evolves into new things, it changes, it goes through different phases, and it takes on different meanings, but it never goes away. And, as long as we make an effort to preserve it, it’s something we can always look back to, learn about, and learn from.
Airplanes are a common thing. We see them all the time. They fly over us as we go about our lives. We really think nothing of them. But, history shows us that they had a spectacular beginning. They grew from open-framed, wooden contraptions to high-tech metal crafts that can circle the globe. In 1906, the Wrights flew ten feet above the ground. Now, planes fly miles above the ground going hundreds of miles per hour. Everyone has a beginning, and everything has a beginning. And, history keeps all of those beginnings tucked away as stories for us to discover if we want to.
From 1906: Oatmeal Cookies
- 1 cup salted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 cups old-fashioned oats
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup raisins
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cream together the butter and the sugar.
- Add in the eggs.
- Add in the soda, cinnamon, and salt.
- Gradually mix in the oats and the flour.
- Fold the raisins into the dough.
- Roll the dough into balls using two tablespoons of dough at a time. Place them on a baking sheet a few inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown. Cool.