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15 Snackable Nuggets for National Cookie Day

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Today is National Cookie Day! Grab some cookies and read up.

1. Mallomars are still a seasonal item—available only from September to March. It was a necessity back in 1913, before the advent of refrigerated trucks. Now the limited availability is all about building hype. 

2. Ever wonder why Barnum's Animal Crackers have a string on the box? It's because they were originally a seasonal treat meant to be hung as an ornament and then eaten on Christmas day. 

3. Secretary of State John Kerry isn't just a smart cookie. He opened Boston's Kilvert & Forbes Bakeshop in 1976, the same year he started practicing law. Kerry sold the bakery in the mid-'80s, but still enjoys the chocolate chip cookies.

4. Who, who? The Pillsbury Doughboy's official name is Poppin' Fresh.

5. Fig Newtons are named after Newton, Massachusetts because the Kennedy Biscuit Works named their cookies after nearby cities, such as Shrewsbury and Beacon Hill. One name that was never a contender: Cambridgeport, the actual birthplace of the "fruit and cake" cookie.

6. Most people assume that Hydrox sandwich cookies are Oreo knock-offs, but it's actually the other way around. Hydrox have been around since 1908. Oreos were invented four years later.

7. How's this for Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous Amos? Wally Amos was the first African-American talent agent at William Morris, where he represented superstars including Simon & Garfunkel, Diana Ross, and Patti LaBelle. He opened the first Famous Amos bakery in 1975 with a loan from Marvin Gaye and Helen Reddy.

8. Pepperidge Farm's most famous cookie was a complete accident. The Naples was a single vanilla wafer cookie with dark chocolate topping that often melted during shipping. Cookies got stuck together, and the Milano was born.

9. In 1989, New Mexico became the first U.S. state with an official cookie—the crispy, buttery, cinnamon-and-anise-flavored bizcochito.

10. The beloved Toll House chocolate chip cookie was named after the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts, owned by Terry and Ruth Wakefield. Around 1938, Ruth put broken pieces of Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate into her cookie batter. While commonly thought to be accidental, modern scholarship indicates that it was a purposeful experiment. The inn's guests loved them ... and so did everyone else. Supposedly, Ruth allowed Nestle to print the recipe in exchange for one dollar—which she never received. But she got a lifetime supply of chocolate, which is probably better anyway. 

11. Presbyterian minister Sylvester Graham, inventor of the eponymous graham cracker and Graham Diet, claimed that unhealthy carnal urges could be curbed by eating bland foods. Needless to say, he never had s'mores. 

12. The brand name Chips Ahoy, founded in 1963, is a play on the nautical phrase "ships ahoy." But the first well-known use of chips ahoy dates back to 1859 in a series of articles called "The Uncommercial Traveler" by Charles Dickens. Walt Disney made the name even more famous in a 1956 Donald Duck short of the same name.

13. 'C' wasn't always for cookie. Cookie Monster appeared in a 1969 commercial for Munchos potato crisps before appearing on Sesame Street. Even then, his insatiable appetite for cookies wasn't established until the show's second season.

14. Americans love their milk and cookies. But Japanese bars often serve chocolate-coated Pocky sticks in ice water.

15. Girl Scout cookies are baked by Little Brownie Bakers, a subsidiary of Keebler, and ABC Smart Cookies. Here's how to tell which bakery your cookies came from: Brand name boxes, like Samoas and Tagalongs, come from Little Brownie Bakers. Generic descriptive names, like "Peanut Butter Patties" come from ABC. Thin Mints come from both.

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How Do You Stress the Word: THANKSgiving or ThanksGIVing?
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Here’s something else to stress about for Thanksgiving: where to put the stress in the word Thanksgiving.

If you’re from California, Iowa, or Delaware, you probably say ThanksGIVing, with the primary stress on the second syllable. If you’re from Georgia, Tennessee, or the Texas Panhandle, you probably say THANKSgiving, with the primary stress on the first syllable.

This north-south divide on syllable stress is found for other words like umbrella, guitar, insurance, and pecan. However, those words are borrowed from other languages (Italian, Spanish, French). Sometimes, in the borrowing process, competing stress patterns settle into regional differences. Just as some borrowed words get first syllable stress in the South and second syllable stress in the North, French words like garage and ballet get first syllable stress in the UK and second syllable stress in the U.S.

Thanksgiving, however, is an English word through and through. And if it behaved like a normal English word, it would have stress on the first syllable. Consider other words with the same noun-gerund structure just like it: SEAfaring, BAbysitting, HANDwriting, BULLfighting, BIRDwatching, HOMEcoming, ALMSgiving. The stress is always up front, on the noun. Why, in Thanksgiving alone, would stress shift to the GIVE?

The shift to the ThanksGIVing pronunciation is a bit of a mystery. Linguist John McWhorter has suggested that the loss of the stress on thanks has to do with a change in our concept of the holiday, that we “don’t truly think about Thanksgiving as being about thankfulness anymore.” This kind of thing can happen when a word takes on a new, more abstract sense. When we use outgoing for mail that is literally going out, we are likely to stress the OUT. When we use it as a description of someone’s personality ("She's so outgoing!"), the stress might show up on the GO. Stress can shift with meaning.

But the stress shift might not be solely connected to the entrenchment of our turkey-eating rituals. The thanksGIVing stress pattern seems to have pre-dated the institution of the American holiday, according to an analysis of the meter of English poems by Mark Liberman at Language Log. ThanksGIVing has been around at least since the 17th century. However you say it, there is precedent to back you up. And room enough to focus on both the thanks and the giving.

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Watch Boris Karloff's 1966 Coffee Commercial
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TAKWest, Youtube

Horror legend Boris Karloff is famous for playing mummies, mad scientists, and of course, Frankenstein’s creation. In 1930, Karloff cemented the modern image of the monster—with its rectangular forehead, bolted neck, and enormous boots (allegedly weighing in at 11 pounds each)—in the minds of audiences.

But the horror icon, who was born 130 years ago today, also had a sense of humor. The actor appeared in numerous comedies, and even famously played a Boris Karloff look-alike (who’s offended when he’s mistaken for Karloff) in the original Broadway production of Arsenic and Old Lace

In the ’60s, Karloff also put his comedic chops to work in a commercial for Butter-Nut Coffee. The strange commercial, set in a spooky mansion, plays out like a movie scene, in which Karloff and the viewer are co-stars. Subtitles on the bottom of the screen feed the viewer lines, and Karloff responds accordingly. 

Watch the commercial below to see the British star selling coffee—and read your lines aloud to feel like you’re “acting” alongside Karloff. 

[h/t: Retroist]

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