When my children were growing up, the most popular cookie in our household was the chocolate chip cookie. If I had a dime for every batch I have baked over the years I’d be rich. These cookies have been part of our historic family events including major birthdays and holidays. As I stirred them up I’d give page numbers to my older son and he would learn numbers by finding the corresponding pages in my cookbook. With all three children I had to guard the dough because it would mysteriously disappear in the days when raw eggs were still safe. When the same children left for college these cookies became part of the care packages from home.
Today I occasionally bake several dozen for my children and grandchildren and I know they bring back or create memories of comfort, sweetness, and special events as they were and are growing up. Even now I bake chocolate chip cookies and take them to the college library–where folks have been exceedingly kind to me–or the Warren County Public Library (for the same reason), or to my colleagues in places where I worked.
In fact, over half the cookies baked in homes in the United States are chocolate chip cookies. They seem to be quite a favorite and so they get their very own national day today.
The first known cookies were made in Persia (modern day Iran) in the 7th century A.D. By the 14th century the idea of a cookie had spread to Europe and Parisians could buy “little wafers” in street shops. A couple of centuries later, cookie recipes began appearing in Renaissance cookbooks for the first time.
Over many times and places cookies have found a way into our vocabulary as well as our stomachs. In Holland they are called koekje or little cakes. Spain has its galletas, Germany its kels, England its biscuits, and Italy its biscotti. But no matter what word is used to describe these sweet confections, Americans call them “cookies.”
In the United States cookies began to change dramatically with the invention of the intercontinental railroad. Now ingredients could be found in faraway places and brought back for the purpose of cooking. Coconut could be found in the South and oranges in the West. The various kinds of cookies with so-called “exotic” ingredients grew dramatically.
So today we celebrate the most wonderful, sweet, delicious, scrumptious, ambrosial, succulent, pleasurable, exquisite, fragrant, luscious, tempting, morsels of food known to mankind–chocolate chip cookies. Can’t you smell them baking already? Bakers, start preheating your ovens! It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day.