HeLa Book Review and Homemade Oreo Cookies

So today I'm giving you a book and cookies to munch on while reading!  I'm positive you'll enjoy both.

So for the book.  "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" is so well written!  The author, Rebecca Skloot, is an award winning science writer.  The book talks about HeLa cells that are all over the whole world in different scientific labs.

I had no idea what they were before reading this.  Basically, all of our cells cannot survive forever (I mean forever) if grown outside of our body.  But Henrietta's cells, taken from her cancerous growth in the 1950's, did keep growing.  That was an era where doctors didn't have to ask to use patients or their tissues, etc for research.  The book chronicles the life of Henrietta, the doctors, her family, the science field, and the HeLa cells.  Rebecca Skloot makes the story chronological and finally gives Henrietta the recognition that she deserves.  Rebecca was able to write this book because of her long relationship developed with Henrietta's daughter, Deborah.  It is respectful, it is hard, it is enlightening, and it is incredible what the science field has done.

Deborah and family were most concerned that they never saw any money from their mother's cells.  Mostly, Deborah wanted the future generations to get an education.  Rebecca Skloot has established a scholarship fund for the descendants of Henrietta Lacks.

I thought is was amazing to see a list of things that HeLa cells have aided in development.  For your own enjoyment, here's a short list:
Polio Vaccine
Cell's reaction in Space
Hybrid Research with plants
Cloning research
Human Gene Mapping leading to down syndrome and klinefelter syndrome, etc discoveries
Successful Transportation of cells
The way Herpes, Measles, Mumps, Fowl Pox, Equine Encephalitis viruses attack cells
How to freeze cells without harming or changing them
Radiation/Nuclear Bomb study
Study of Pressure's influence on cells
Chemotherapy drugs
Environmental stress
Other Bacteria
Hemorrhagic Fever
And the list goes on...

So again, I recommend this book.  I really couldn't put it down.  It doesn't have intense science language or is hard to understand, it's written for everyone.  I think it's an important read because the content relates to us now; the scientific world as we know it is largely due to Henrietta.

You'll have to let me know what you think.  Enjoy.

And for some cookies!  I remember my mom making these for an elementary school bike ride with our class.  The class rode by my house where my mom served them out for everyone.  Sweet and delicious and you better have some milk close by.
Homemade Oreo Cookies
from Mama Melanie

2 boxes Devil's Food Cake
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup Crisco

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 tsp vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix cookie ingredients together until blended.  Roll into small balls and place on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake about 9 minutes.  Let cool on the cookie sheet and then transfer to rack.

Mix frosting ingredients together and beat until well combined and smooth.  I find that beating for at about 5 minutes makes a better frosting - letting the powdered sugar really combine with the other ingredients.  Once cookies are completely cool, spread frosting on the bottom of one and sandwich the bottom of another (same size cookie) on top.

Enjoy with a glass of milk!

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  1. cake mix cookies are one of my fave standbys. the book looks fab too!

  2. oooh, and right now since the library is finally moving back to awhole-lot-closer-than-2nd-street, we don't have to return books til the end of December!! YAYY!

  3. MILK with cookies? I should have known you were up to something...


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