As I waited for my modem to connect me to the worldwide web today there were a few thoughts for posts going through my mind. How about a Phillies live blog? The Fightin’ Phils, dodging thunderstorms in pursuit of that elusive 3rd straight win. But there’s a moratorium on Phillies posts here. Even this might be a violation, so the Phillies are out. Then in a moment of egomania I thought about discussing my world-class fantasy baseball team. It’s quite a force, and even if only half the people in the league have logged into their roster–winning makes me feel special. My early season lead is already one of my top-5 career fantasy moments. Dan Okrent sent me an email that said, “Nice Draft.” That’s the level I was operating at, but fantasy is boring. Especially fantasy baseball. That’s NBA playoff level boredom (Go Sixers!) right there. So, with nothing to talk about, it’s either take the day off, or post about cookies. I think it was a pretty obvious choice.
I don’t know when everything starting getting its own “day,” but every day there is a celebration of something if you look hard enough. It could be National Velcro Day, or National Toll Booth Operators Day, but it’s never, ever just a Tuesday. Tuesdays are sh*t. I imagine that’s why we force these “holidays.” Some are more significant than others. I feel like National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day is under the radar. If I was in charge of such things, I’d say, “Hey trees, no hard feelings, but you’re bumped for Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. Arbor Day isn’t moving the needle.” Considering how much I love chocolate chip cookies, it’s surprising how little I know about their storied history. A three paragraph blurb really caught me up. Allow me share…
Everyone has a chocolate chip cookie recipe. They’re all pretty much the same. In fact, I am such dedicated chef of calorically robust foods, that I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe bookmarked on my computer. That’s pretty chubby. But, wouldn’t you bookmark a recipe called, “Best Big, Fat, Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies?” That’s what I thought. Chocolate Chip cookies inspire a quest for an always greater cookie, but you often come back to the original. As far as I know, to this point in my life, there’s not a better chocolate chip cookie recipe than the one that exists on the back of the Nestle Toll House package. What I didn’t know was The Toll House Inn is an actual place…
The chocolate chip cookie was invented in 1937 (by accident) in this building by Ruth Wakefield a cookie enthusiast and die-hard Hoyt Wilhelm fan*. Can you imagine a world without chocolate chip cookies? I surely cannot. Apparently Ms. Wakefield believed the chocolate would just melt into a mess in the oven, but when they didn’t–Hello Best Seller! Ready for the bad news? The Toll House Inn burned down (fittingly a kitchen fire) in 1984. In its place stands a Wendy’s and a Walgreens. I cried. Cancel the pilgrimage to Whitman, MA.
Other Chocolate Chip Cookie Facts:
- Betty Crocker (Not a Real Person) featured them on her radio show in 1939.
- Ruth Wakefield sold the Toll House name to Nestle. She got free chocolate for life.
- It is the official cookie of Massachusetts
- Cookie Was Originally Called the “Chocolate Crunch.”
- Cookies were popular care package request among MA born G.I.s in World War II.
My Top-5 Chocolate Chip Cookie Making Tips:
- Use Real Butter. If you’re on a diet–don’t make cookies.
- Beware Dark Cookie Sheets–They’ll burn the hell out of the bottom of your cookies.
- Don’t Over-Chip–The cookie to chip ratio must be maintained.
- Freeze Some–You’ll eat them just a fraction slower.
- Take them Out of the Oven right BEFORE you think they’re done. The last bit of cooking occurs outside the oven.
All right, I expect everyone to now run out and get some supplies, check the pantry for brown sugar. At the very least stop at Wawa on the way home and get a Toll House chipwich, which is the best commercial incarnation of the Chocolate Chip cookie. I probably won’t make any today, but this weekend? Who knows? I might fire up the apron and get wild.