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Baking Cookies

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My mother has a recipe for chocolate oat chip cookies her grandchildren love. 

The kids, however, cannot read the recipe because it’s written in script. 

I didn’t know this until my son asked if we could bake a batch. When mom sent a photo from her hand-written spiral notebook, he professed confusion. 

He said he’d have an easier time reading Arabic. 

As an experiment, I showed him some of a huge cache of letters I received in the 1980s and early 1990s from friends when I was in high school and college. I got the same blank stare. 

He said they weren’t taught how to write script in school. 

I can’t say I’m surprised that writing in script wasn’t taught at school, but I didn’t anticipate just how inaccessible that would make the content. 

Drilling down, I discovered several interesting things.

First, script writing exercises in many states were phased out in recent memory in favor of classes for typing, since proficiency with the keyboard was required by the Common Core State Standards adopted in 2010. 

Second, writing script as part of a curriculum has been making a comeback. That could be due to a backlash against what many see as the excessive use of computers and smart phones, especially among younger people. 

According to an article in Education Week, 21 states now require some sort of cursive handwriting instruction, up from 19 in 2018 and just 14 in 2016. 

Last year, California made cursive handwriting instruction mandatory in elementary school. 

According to the article, cursive writing was first introduced widely in schools in 1850.

Third, ironically, image recognition technology, as well as large language models such as ChatGPT, may provide solutions to be able to “read” cursive. 

I used the image recognition system in my Pixel to detect the characters from my mother’s recipe and it did a pretty good job transforming the image into text. 

We hit another snag, however, as my son didn’t know the letter C stood for cups, T for tablespoons and t for teaspoons. 

You need some cooking knowledge to know that. 

For those interested: here is the digital version of the recipe: 

Chocolate Oat Chips Cookies 

1 Cup margarine softened 

1 1/4 Cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 Cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 Tablespoon milk

2 teaspoons vanilla 1 3/4 Cups of flour

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1/2 teaspoon of salt 

2 1/2 Cups of oatmeal (quick or old fashioned)

2 Cups of chocolate chips  (one 12 ounce package.)

1 Cups chopped nuts – optional

Heat oven to 375°

Beat together margarine & sugars until creamy. Add eggs, milk, vanilla – beat well. Add combined flour, brown sugar & salt – mix well.

Stir in chocolate pieces & nuts & oatmeal. Drop by rounded spoonfulls onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake about 10 min. Cool / min – then remove to wire rack.

Makes about 5 dozen


TWITTER ARMIES: Katherine Boyle gets this right about the future of business communication, people who rely on the old institutions of the press and lawyers will be at a disadvantage to those who can communicate directly via social media.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Henri is a good example of someone who posts effectively on social media without writing long narratives or memes. He just posts unique, helpful information.

LUCKY BATS: This was my favorite book as a child about a Little Leaguer who learns that there is no substitute to practice. It ends with the iconic Puritanical line: “Lucky bats won’t do it. Lucky hats won’t do it. Only hard work.”

CASSETTE TAPES: I’d like to see the Venn diagram of a) people who listen to music b) people who know what a cassette tape is and c) people who know about the band Europe.

COVERING THE BASES: Sign from a merchant in Bryant Park during the holiday season trying to cover all the bases for consumers.

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