Monday, September 1, 2014

Ruth Wakefield (June 17, 1903 - January 10, 1977)

Wakefield was educated at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. Then, she worked as a dietitian and lectured about foods. In 1930, she and her husband Kenneth Donald Wakefield (1897-1997) bought a tourist lodge in the town of Whitman, Massachusetts 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 desserts. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938. The restaurant had many visitors, including Massachusetts' Senator John F. Kennedy. Her chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular.

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 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".

Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar. Nestlé began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies.

Wakefield died following a long illness in Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

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