Appreciating all that makes America special

Food: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Don't they just look delicious? Uploaded to Flickr by fritish.

Don't they just look delicious? Uploaded to Flickr by fritish.

Ruth Wakefield holds a very important place in my life, and I didn’t even know her name until today. But I knew that someone invented chocolate chip cookies at the Toll House Inn near Whitman, Massachusetts. Now I know it was Ruth. Or “Aunt Ruth” as I call her now.

It’s a pretty cool story. Aunt Ruth baked special cookies for her guests at the inn, using baker’s chocolate. One day, she found herself without her regular chocolate, and all she had on hand were some semisweet chocolate bars left by a fellow named Andrew Nestle. The name might ring a bell. Anyway, she expected the chocolate to melt into the cookies, but found to her surprise that they softened, but didn’t spread. Her guests loved them and she made more and more.

Cookies and milk. Oh, baby. Uploaded to Flickr by soundless space.

Cookies and milk. Oh, baby. Uploaded to Flickr by soundless space.

The Nestle company made a pretty smart trade at this point – they’d put the original Toll House cookie recipe on their packages, and give Aunt Ruth a lifetime supply of their chocolate. In return, every human being with taste buds would want chocolate chip cookies, and Nestle would earn more money than they know what to do with.

These days, of course, there are all kinds of chocolate chip cookies. There are lots of recipes for homemade types, there are those you can cut and bake, and of course there are packaged cookies like Chips Ahoy and Famous Amos. Some people like them chewy; I prefer crunchy unless they’re fresh out of the oven. There are lots of delicious cookies; we’ve already seen one on this list (No. 44: Oreo) and we’ll probably see more. They’re just…so…good.

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