- Happy Accidents
- Happy Accidents #021 - The Chocolate Chip Cookie
Happy Accidents #021 - The Chocolate Chip Cookie
From all of us to you, thanks Ruth!
Today, we're going to talk about the sweetest of accidents, the invention of the chocolate chip cookie.
SETTING THE STAGE
Ruth Wakefield (accidental inventor of the chocolate chip cookie) was born Ruth Graves in Massachusetts in 1903.
She graduated from Framingham State Normal School's Department of Household Arts in 1924 and went on to work as a dietician and food lecturer.
In 1930, she married Kenneth Wakefield and together they bought a tourist lodge, the Toll House Inn, in Whitman, Massachusetts.
The Toll House Inn was known for its delicious meals and desserts, and Ruth Wakefield was constantly experimenting with new recipes (a great way to increase your luck surface area!)
THE HAPPY ACCIDENT
One day, while making a batch of Butter Drop Do cookies, Ruth ran out of baker's chocolate (here it comes, you know what happens next...)
So she decided to substitute it with chopped up Nestle's semi-sweet chocolate. She expected the chocolate to melt and spread throughout the cookie, but instead, to her surprise (and our delight) it retained its shape!
Ruth had just accidentally created the first chocolate chip cookie (a huge THANK-YOU from all of us!)
The cookies quickly became a hit at the Toll House Inn, and Ruth Wakefield's recipe was soon published in a Boston newspaper. Word spread quickly and soon chocolate chip cookies were being baked and enjoyed around the world (imagine....before Twitter even!)
Once Ruth realized she was onto something, she made a pretty sweet deal (pardon the pun) when she sold her recipe to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of chocolate.
Nestle then capitalized on this and decided to print the recipe on the back of every package of Nestle chocolate chips sold.
The popularity of the cookies grew even more when Nestle began producing pre-cut chocolate chips in 1939, making it easier for people to recreate the recipe at home.
Today, the Toll House Inn is no longer in operation, but the legacy of Ruth Wakefield's accidental invention lives on in the millions of chocolate chip cookies baked and enjoyed around the world.
Special Thanks: This story was originally mentioned to me by Donnie Tuttle. It sounded like a pretty great story for the newsletter so after a little research I decided to include it in this edition. Thanks, Donnie!
Some fun facts:
The original Toll House Inn was destroyed by fire in 1984, but a replica of the original inn was built on the same site in 1986.
The recipe for the Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie was included in the 1938 edition of "The Joy of Cooking."
The chocolate chip cookie has been the official state cookie of Massachusetts since 1997.
In 1998, the world's largest chocolate chip cookie was made in Flat Rock, North Carolina. It weighed over 40,000 pounds and was 102 feet in diameter.
The lessons here:
Follow your passions: Ruth Wakefield's love for baking and experimenting in the kitchen led to her invention of the chocolate chip cookie. Pursue your passions and you may stumble upon a brilliant idea or opportunity that you never could have imagined.
Be open to new opportunities: Ruth Wakefield was experimenting with different recipes when she ran out of baker's chocolate and decided to use broken pieces of Nestle's chocolate instead. This willingness to try something new and improvise led to the creation of a beloved classic.
Don't be afraid to take risks: Ruth Wakefield and her husband Kenneth took a risk when they purchased the Toll House Inn, which became the birthplace of the chocolate chip cookie. Without that bold move, the world may never have experienced the delight of biting into a warm, gooey chocolate chip cookie.
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