On This Day
1898 – The United States Navy Hospital Corps is established.
A hospital corpsman (HM /ˈkɔːrmən/ [or corpsman]) is an enlisted medical specialist of the United States Navy, who may also serve in a U.S. Marine Corps unit. The corresponding rating within the United States Coast Guard is health services technician (HS).
Born On This Day
1903 – Ruth Graves Wakefield, American chef, created the chocolate chip cookie (d. 1977)
Ruth Graves Wakefield (June 17, 1903 – January 10, 1977) was an American chef, best known as the inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie. She was also a college graduate, dietitian, educator, business owner, and author.
Wakefield grew up in Easton, Massachusetts, and graduated from Oliver Ames High School in 1920. Wakefield was educated at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. There, she worked as a dietitian and lectured about foods. In 1928, she and her husband Kenneth Donald Wakefield (1897–1997) had a son, Kenneth Donald Wakefield Jr. In 1930, she and her husband bought a tourist lodge (the Toll House Inn) in Whitman in Plymouth County. Located about halfway between Boston and New Bedford, it was a place where passengers had historically paid a toll, changed horses, and ate home-cooked meals. When the Wakefields opened their business, they named the establishment the Toll House Inn. Ruth cooked and served all the food and soon gained local fame for her lobster dinners and desserts. People from across the region visited the Toll House, including notables such as US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Sr. Her chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938.
She added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie. It is often incorrectly reported that the cookie was an accident, and that Wakefield expected the chocolate chunks to melt making chocolate cookies. In reality, Wakefield stated that she deliberately invented the cookie. She said, “We had been serving a thin butterscotch nut cookie with ice cream. Everybody seemed to love it, but I was trying to give them something different. So I came up with Toll House cookie.”
Wakefield wrote a best selling cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, that went through 39 printings starting in 1930. The 1938 edition of the cookbook was the first to include the recipe for a chocolate chip cookie, the “Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie”.
As the popularity of the Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie increased, the sales of Nestlé’s semi-sweet chocolate bars also spiked. Andrew Nestlé and Ruth Wakefield made a business arrangement: Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. Nestlé began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies and printing the recipe for the Toll House Cookie on its package.
Wakefield’s invention met this need and went on to be the most popular cookie of all time. Chocolate chip cookies are still consumed today and currently exist in a market space of over $18 billion in the US.
Wakefield died on January 10, 1977 following a long illness in Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
In 2018 the New York Times published a belated obituary for her.
Today’s email was written by Heather Landy and edited and produced by Liz Webber and Susan Howson. Quaartz Daily Obsession: Videoconferencing
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