Who Invented the Chocolate Chip Cookie?

By: Steven Magill

Copyright (c) 2008 Steven Magill

Have you ever wondered who invented the chocolate chip cookie? Because chocolate chip cookies are so common, it is easy to forget that these treats have not been around forever. In fact, did you know that chocolate chip cookies are not even one hundred years old? It's true!

The answer to "who invented the chocolate chip cookie" is: Ruth Graves Wakefield.

Ruth Graves Wakefield was born on June 17, 1903 and she is person who invented the Toll House Cookie, which was the world's first chocolate chip cookie.

Ruth Wakefield was educated at the Framingham State Normal School Development of Household Arts and she graduated in 1924. After graduating from school, she worked both as a doctor and gave lectures about food.

In 1930 Wakefield and her husband purchased a lodge for tourists in Whitman, Massachusetts (part of Plymouth County). The lodge was first built in 1709 and has a long and rich history of its own. Many weary travelers have spent the night at the lodge as it is conveniently located around halfway between New Bedford and Boston. This is usually where passers through paid a toll, changed their horses and stopped for some much appreciated home cooked food. When the Wakefields bought it, they named the lodge the Toll House Inn and made sure to keep up with the lodge's traditions. All of the home cooked meals were prepared and served by Ruth and it was not long before her desserts earned her some local fame. There were many visitors to the lodge, one of the most famous being John F. Kennedy (when he was still a Senator).

In 1940, Ruth wrote a cookbook called Toll House Tried and True Recipes. Ruth passed away in 1977 and the Toll House Inn burned down at the end of 1983. While there are plenty of companies that make and sell chocolate chips now, the recipe printed on the back of the Nestle Toll House bags is the original Ruth Graves Wakefield recipe. As of today, Nestle is the only company with the rights to print the recipe on its bags. All of the recipes that are printed on other company's' bags are different from the original recipe.

The chocolate chip cookie was invented in the late 1930s (making it almost seventy seven years old) though there are different stories about how, exactly, the original chocolate chip cookie recipe was invented. Some stories say it was an accident, others say it was an experiment and still others say that it was a purposeful recipe. The story of how the chocolate chip cookie was invented varies according to the person telling the story. One thing is for certain, though, and that is that the answer to "who invented the chocolate chip cookie" is Ruth Graves Wakefield. Who knew that what might have started out as an experiment or an accident would someday be one of the most common treats in the Western World? Who doesn't remember eating chocolate chip cookies after school?

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