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.”
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).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.