The perfect gift for the chocolate chip cookie lover in your life: a copy of The Great American Chocolate Chip Cookie Book personally inscribed by the author to your recipient paired with a tin of the real thing (or not!).
No doubt you’ve heard the saying, “Feed someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach them how to fish and you feed them for a lifetime.” It is equally true of chocolate chip cookies and a book that offers great recipes and tips for a lifetime of great chocolate chip cookie baking and eating!
Ended Chocolate Chip Cookie Week 2014 by delivering a Powerpoint at the Boston Public Library, located just about 20 miles from where the cookie was invented. During the Q&A that followed, I learned of some Jordan Marsh department store chocolate chip cookies that at least one woman in the audience missed as much as their famous blueberry muffins. After that everyone rushed to the back of the room for some delicious cookies from talk partner bakery Kilvert & Forbes (featured on pages 98 and 100 of the book). Visit the contact page to inquire about having me deliver this talk to your company or group!
I talk about Gov. Weld’s love of the Fig Newton.
GACCCB was one of Cape Cod Times book editor Melanie Lauwers’ picks for a great book gift on “The Point with Mindy Todd” on Cape Cod NPR station WCAI, during a show devoted to holiday-themed, cooking and craft books, which you can listen to here. Lauwers called GACCB “adorable,” though the information that I had also written a whole book about Spam elicited an “oh, dear,” from host Todd. (Lauwers’ review of the book for her newspaper read, in part, “The history, the popular culture and the cultural variations of chocolate chip cookies … mixed .. into one colorful and informative book.”)
Another Point, the great, new, independent Main Point Books in Bryn Mawr, hosted a local cookbook author signing event Dec. 15, including me and, coincidentally, Cookulus chocolate chip cookie app inventor Andrew Schloss (featured on p. 166 of my book), serving up drinks from his new Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits book. The nearby Hope’s Cookies generously supplied refreshments for book-buyers like me, who prefer a sugar high.
David A., me and Famous cookies
My visit with Philly.com food guy Michael Klein and David Auspitz at Auspitz’s Famous 4th Street Cookies last week resulted in this great post
that also appeared in the print edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer’s (aka Inky’s) Food section today under the headline “The Book on a Favorite Food” (ironically placed beside a story titled “Why Can’t We Make What We Like?). Hope to see you Saturday at Reading Terminal Market
Two Philadelphia book signings coming right up! The first is at Reading Terminal Market (12th and Arch streets), where I do my bi-weekly Taste of Philly Food Tours and also act as the Market’s eblast/website news correspondent. I’ll be signing copies of the book in the Market’s Center Court from noon to 3 p.m., Sat., Nov. 16. Signed books there will come with one free cookie from the Market’s Famous 4th Street Cookie stand, a multiple Best of Philly magazine award-winning business featured in the Chocolate Chips To Go chapter of the book and pictured on that chapter’s introductory page.
Why is it called Famous 4th Street when it’s located on 12th Street? Because these cookies were originally only sold at the Famous 4th Street Deli on 4th and Bainbridge streets. The Auspitz family sold the deli in 2005 but kept the side cookie stand located in Reading Terminal.
Their “Famous” chocolate chip cookie is from an old family recipe of David Auspitz’s wife, Janie. The deli originally had a grocery area, including an ice cream freezer supplied by the local Jack & Jill distributor. But when Haagen-Dazs ice cream was first introduced and became all the rage, David put some Haagen-Dazs pints in the freezer, to the extreme displeasure of the Jack & Jill distributor, who promptly took his freezer back. This also being around the time of Famous Amos’ greatest success, Janie suggested David trying selling her cookies in the newly empty space.
Thus did one Auspitz sweets sideline melt away and another rise (both literally and figuratively).
I’ll also be signing books at the Barnes & Noble in Rittenhouse Square from noon-2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 5. Chocolate chunk cookies from the Barnes & Noble Cafe will be served at that event.
Come on down, say hi and enjoy some cookies while knocking off some of the most difficult folks on your holiday gift list. (Who doesn’t love chocolate chip cookies and, by extension, chocolate chip cookie books?)
Famous 4th St. Cookies: You know you want one
Welcoming library sign
Tons of fun in Toll House-land this weekend. Learned a number of new things about the Toll House during my panel discussion with former Toll House employees I interviewed, and others who turned out for the event. Like what else besides the beloved pecan rolls came standard in the Toll House bread basket (cornbread, gingerbread, even rum bread). Former Toll House waitress/panelist Carol Cavanagh amused the SRO crowd with a story about the customer who tried to test her ability to memorize their orders (a requirement for waitresses at the Toll House) by playing musical chairs when she went into the kitchen to place them. But Carol was too good for them and after she matched up every dish with the right person, one of the mischief-makers sighed and said, “Young lady, you just cost me $5.”
Saturday’s panel (L to R): Me and ex-Toll House waitresses Marguerite Gaquin, June O’Leary and Carol Cavanagh
Entries in the event’s chocolate chip cookie contest were almost all flat and soft and nutless (despite published judging criteria that called for fidelity to the classic Toll House taste, which includes walnuts).
1st place winner gets his prizes: my book, cookies and Nestle morsels to practice his craft
Could excessive sensitivity to people with nut allergies be driving the chocolate chip cookie with nuts from our land? (Say it’s not so!) No surprise — me being one of the judges and all — that the top-scoring cookie contained walnuts and all the other ingredients and amounts Toll House cookie inventor Ruth Wakefield called for. But big surprise that their baker was 14-year-old Matthew Kelcourse, who beat out all the adults with his complex-tasting, pleasantly textured beauties, this contest having no separate youth category. His recipe is here
I will launch the book in the town where this cookie began. The Saturday, Oct. 19 event will be held at the Whitman Public Library, 100 Webster St., Whitman, Mass. from 2:00pm to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19. It will and feature a Toll House cookie contest and a panel discussion featuring former Toll House employees, including Marguerite Gaquin (pictured below), daughter of the late Toll House baker Sue Brides. This will be followed by a book signing. Cookie entries need to be at the library by 1:15 p.m.; the panel discussion begins at 2 p.m., followed by the cookie awards ceremony, book signing and refreshments (featuring guess what!). The event is free and open to the public.