Marguerite Gaquin, daughter of late Toll House baker Sue Brides, and I succumb to the charms of Boston TV host Maria Stephanos, up to and including Gaquin showing us her mother’s original recipe! As chapter one of my book explains, Brides was chief baker for cookie inventor and Toll House restaurant owner Ruth Wakefield and was at her side when Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie. See more photos and what Gaquin says is the real, original recipe at WCVB’s website.
On Thursday, my essay about the real story behind the invention of the chocolate chip cookie (i.e. it was no accident) posted on Slate’s Food page. Eater posted links to it, The Daily Mail in the U.K. wrote this story off it and the story itself has been reprinted in a number of newspapers around this country.
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.