Monday, July 25, 2011

Literary Agent Miriam Kriss's Oatmeal Awesome Cookies

Miriam Kriss is the vice-president of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency. With a client list that reads like a Who's Who of urban fantasy and paranormal fiction, Miriam has a reputation as a literary agent who knows the business of books. Her wide appetite for fiction of all flavors gives her a unique appreciation for the market, but what Miriam truly falls in love with is a writer's voice. She knows her clients' work better than anyone and knows precisely how to spice it up and take it from "This is yummy" to "Hot damn, that's awesome! I need another!" I'm fortunate enough to call Miriam my agent, and I'd love to throw down with her in the kitchen 'cause I'm pretty sure the meal would be to die for, though we might have to assign our husbands clean-up duty 'cause you know the scene would have the kitchen warfare of Julia Child meets Attila the Hun. Because she is awesome, Miriam took the time away from her incredibly busy schedule to answer some questions for Pots 'n Pens and share a "killer cookie recipe. It makes like a million cookies, but they don't last long."

POTS 'N PENS: Share your favorite literary feast or treat. What makes this food and/or writing so memorable?
Miriam: The breakfast in CS Lewis’ THE HORSE AND HIS BOY. After Shasta, the titular boy, emerges from the Southern wilderness, lost and alone, to find himself in finally Narnia, friendly dwarves feed him the most amazing breakfast imaginable. Full English doesn’t even cover it. The imagined sausages alone still make my mouth water. I know British food doesn’t have a great reputation but as a result of reading a lot of British Children’s literature when I was younger full English breakfasts and high teas will always hold a very special place in my heart.

What’s your favorite kitchen accessory or appliance? How about a favorite writing accessory or reference?
I have a full set of nice copper bottomed pans but I cook nearly everything on the same cast iron skillet. I love the way cast iron cooks and the way that caring for it has a bit of a ritual to it. I also like the fact that if I ever meet any evil fey it will serve as a good weapon, much as it did for Tiffany Aching in Pratchett’s WEE FREE MEN.

What is your A+, number 1 writing/editing/query-reading snack?
Tea, the beverage, not the meal, with diet coke a near second. If I ate while doing those things I would gain a zillion pounds.

Tell us about your edible specialty, and rate your skill in the kitchen: novice, not bad, or nominate me for a Michelin star.
I’m pretty good. We enjoy entertaining and I like to combine high and low brow cooking, keeping it fun and not too fussy. So I’ll do pizzas but with shitake, fresh corn and shrimp. I’ll do burgers but with three kinds of meat and I’ll throw in some ostrich and bison so it’s leaner but still flavorful. Then instead of making a fancy desert I’ll put out a big bowl of assorted Little Debbies and everyone will be remembering when they used to get Star Crunches in their lunch. If we are going to do a fancier sit down dinner I like to have just one other couple over and make something that can sit in the oven for a while without damage, like a roast with truffle risotto and salad, so that if we’re chatting longer I don’t have to run off to the kitchen. I like to have as much as possible prepared before the guests arrive.

Pots or Pens? If you were stuck on an island with either bland food and a great library or mouthwatering food and boring books, which would you choose? Why?
I’d take the books. I don’t really notice much else when I’m reading a good book so I could happily eat the bland food and not even notice it if the books were good enough.

If you could only live with this only one book and only one food, what would they be?
This is a hard one because in time you can come to hate anything through monotony but I’ll go for the Bible and really good bread. Seems a classic combination. Though a potato, or maybe quinoa, might be more nutritious.

Oatmeal Awesome Cookies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 sticks butter or margarine (softened)
1 1/2 cups sugar (if you want to use Splenda instead make sure it’s granulated)
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups old fashioned oats (I use Quaker Oats)
2 cups butterscotch chips
2 cups raisins
*If you leave out the chips or the raisins, add in as much of either other chips, other fruit or extra oats, otherwise these will be too runny. If you're using margarine, make sure it's not too soft or the cookies will run and be lacy.

Preheat oven to 375.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl use a fork to combine the flour, salt, baking soda and spices.

Cream the sugar into the butter in a large mixing bowl. Then add the eggs one at a time until combined. Mix in the vanilla.
Gradually incorporate the flour mix.

Using a spoon or your mixer on a “stir” setting gradually add the oats, chips and raisins.

Drop rounded teaspoons of the finished batter on to cookie sheets about three inches apart (the cookies will spread, especially if you use margarine).
Bake 7 or 8 minutes until lightly brown. If they're not quite dry give them a minute more.

Cool 2 minutes on pan than transfer to a baking rack until totally cool. They’re delicious when they come out of the oven but very very crumbly.

If you are interested in querying Miriam, please look to the Irene Goodman Literary Agency's website for her interests and follow the submission requirements.


  1. Butterscotch chips in an oatmeal cookie is like heaven! YUM.

  2. Butterscotch sounds Yummy, thanks for the recipe!

  3. Great post! Those cookies look delicious! I have to agree with Miriam; I'd take the bland food and great books any day!!

  4. To quote Fat Bastard, "GET IN MY BELLY!"

  5. @Cole, you crack me up! :-)

    Great interview! Sounds like her house would be a wonderful place to go for a meal.

  6. Great interview and oooh yummy looking cookies!

  7. Remember you must eat 3 chips while baking or it won't come out right. Love you ladies!!