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  • Susan Welsh

One dollar and the legacy of America's favorite cookie


In 1939 two iconic movies made their debut. While The Wizard of Oz and Gone With the Wind were buzzing at the box office, Trenton's own Taylor Pork Roll was being showcased in the Food Zone of the New York World's Fair alongside the pavilions of multiple nations. One of the most popular was Le Restaurant du Pavillon de France which ultimately spun off into three of NYC's most prestigious and acclaimed dining experiences--La Cote Basque, La Caravelle, and Le Pavillon.

Meanwhile in Whitman, Massachusetts, Ruth Wakefield was selling her Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe to Nestle, giving them permission to print it on the back of their package in exchange for a dollar and a lifetime supply of chocolate (or a permanent consulting gig with Nestle, depending on which account you read).

By rough estimate I've made and consumed portions of over 2,000 batches of chocolate chip cookie dough. This is at a rate of about a batch a week over the course of a lifetime starting at around age 10. My math could be a little off-- but the point is, LOTS of the stuff. It remains one of my favorite sweet treats, and NO I don't like the ice cream version of cookie dough even a little bit--too sweet!

My preferred chip for the batter is not Nestle, it is Ghirardelli's Bittersweet. I agree with America's Test Kitchen and their vote for this brand as the winner. As far as recipes go, you'll have to test them for yourself. They vary in texture, sweetness, and ingredients. I still like the tried and true original recipe, but there is something elevated and amazing about the $250 Neiman Marcus Chocolate Chip Cookie and the fun story behind it.

Whatever you do, pour yourself a glass of milk, find your own favorite recipe, bake up a few batches, and share. Your neighbors, friends, and loved ones will appreciate a batch, still warm from the oven, or even a few for the road or on the side with a bowl of ice cream, which was the intention of Ruth Wakefield's recipe to begin with.


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