Dietribes: Cookies

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From the Dutch koekje (diminutive of koek, "cake") we have what we know so fondly as the cookie. Whether you like them chewy or crunchy, dense or like air, here are some facts about famous cookies to whet your sugary appetite.

"¢ The first "cookies" were used in simple oven tests. Eventually it was discovered these little balls of batter were delicious to eat as well. According to this site, "Early American cookbooks show that the earlier versions were called 'Tea Cakes.' Our simple 'butter cookies' strongly resemble the English tea cakes and the Scotch shortbread. The English also call them biscuits, the Spanish call them galletas, the Germans call them kels and in Italy there are several names to identify various forms of cookies, including Amaretti and Biscotti."

"¢ In the 1930s, Ruth Wakefield, who with her husband owned and operated the Toll House (yes, that Toll House) Inn near Whitman, MA, added crumbles of semi-sweet chocolate to her dough to make a "chocolate cookie" ... voila! The chocolate-chip cookie was born. She sold the recipe to Nestle and as part of the deal she received all the chocolate she'd ever need. To this day, the chocolate-chip cookie is still the preferred cookie of choice in the United States.

girl-scout-cookies.jpg"¢ Around the office here, we just got our deliveries of Girl Scout cookies. As a young lass I too hounded my parents' friends and co-workers to buy from me, continuing a tradition that was started by the Mistletoe Troop in Muskogee, Oklahoma, which baked cookies and sold them in its high school cafeteria as a service project in December 1917. Girl Scout cookies were not sold during WWII because of food shortages, but I would venture to say that their over-all popularity hasn't been hurt by this sabbatical. Today, the best sellers are the Thin Mints (25%), followed by Samoas (19%) (no real surprise there!)

"¢ Has anyone heard of the "super-secret Neiman Marcus cookie recipe"? I remember my grandmother procuring it many years ago by way of a friend of hers who said she paid some ungodly amount of money for it (or not). Anyway ... the recipe isn't a secret at all, and can be found here. Try it out for yourself -- I remember thinking it was OK, but how can something NOT be good when it includes a whole stick of butter?

cookie-monster.jpg"¢ One of the greatest purveyors of cookie-mania is, of course, the Cookie Monster. Originally created as a fierce monster for commercials (that sadly never aired), Jim Henson eventually allowed the Cookie Monster to join the cast of Sesame Street, to great success. Besides cookies, the monster eats plenty of other food, especially since concerns for obesity have restricted his appetite. Also, there are rumors the Monster has entered rehab for his cookie obsession.

"¢ I really enjoyed all of the recipe suggestions for sweet potatoes that were sent in a few weeks ago, so this week I'll ask: what is your favorite cookie recipe? Classics are welcome, but does anyone have a recipe with a twist? Also, does anyone have a good vegan recipe I can whip up for a friend?

[Previous Dietribes: Strawberries, Macaroni & Cheese, McIntosh Apples, Smoothies, Coffee, The Sweet Potato and Eggs]

"˜Dietribes' appears every Wednesday. Food photos taken by Johanna Beyenbach. You might remember that name from our post about her colorful diet.

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March 19, 2008 - 3:41am
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