After spending four days at the Association of Food Journalists conference in Memphis, Tennessee, and then munching my way through Kentucky and Alabama for another week, I came home with the intention of avoiding anything with sugar, flour or an abundance of butter in it. Not an easy endeavor when you live in south Louisiana and write about food.

Almost immediately, I fell off the no-sugary-treats, no-bread bandwagon when I had lunch at La Petite Grocery in New Orleans. How could I pass up tasting that lovely, crusty bread from Bellegarde Bakery on the table? And, then there was the restaurant’s bittersweet chocolate torte with chicory ice cream I just had to share with my lunch companion.

After that, I did rather well until our newspaper’s fundraiser for the Capital Area United Way. As part of fund raising activities, employees held a baked goods sale. Katherine Anders, Advocate columnist Smiley Anders’ wife, provided oatmeal cookies for the sale and I succumbed, reasoning that an oatmeal cookie with cinnamon, raisins and walnuts is practically a health food.

Her cookies are also mighty good. See if you agree with me that her oatmeal cookies are worth breaking a diet for.

Cookbook signing

Food blogger Joy Wilson will launch her new cookbook, “Joy the Baker Homemade Decadence: Irresistibly Sweet, Salty, Gooey, Sticky, Fluffy, Creamy, Crunchy Treats,” on Wednesday, Oct. 14, at the Garden District Book Shop, 2717 Prytania St., New Orleans. She will sign copies of her book and demonstrate a recipe from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Cheramie Sonnier is The Advocate’s food editor. Her email address is

Katherine Anders’ Oatmeal Spice Cookies With Cinnamon and Nutmeg

Makes about 4 dozen. Recipe is from Katherine Anders .

1 stick plus 6 tbls. salted butter, softened

¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar

½ cup granulated sugar

2 eggs

2 tsps. vanilla

1½ cups all-purpose flour

1 plus tsp. baking soda

3 tsps. cinnamon

1½ tsps. freshly grated nutmeg

½ tsp. salt

3 cups uncooked old-fashioned oats

1 heaping cup raisins

1 cup walnut pieces, finely chopped

1. Heat oven to 350 F. Beat butter and sugars together until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla. Beat well.

2. Add combined flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Beat well. Gradually stir in oats, raisins, and walnuts. Mix well.

3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons onto cookie sheet. Bake 10-15 minutes. Cookies are done when they are very lightly golden brown on top.

Note: Anders sometimes increases the butter to 2 sticks.