[Sca-cooks] A Cookie by Any Other Name

Johnna Holloway johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu
Thu Jan 25 16:15:57 PST 2007

Cookie appears in the 18th century according to OED
C. 1730 Burt /Lett. N. Scot./ (1760) II. xxiv. 272 In the Low-Country
the Cakes are called Cookies.
OED notes that it's prob. from the Dutch /koekje/
of /koek/ cake: this is apparently certain for U.S.;
but for Scotland historical evidence has not been found.
The word  does occur in Scotland where it's the usual name for a baker's 
plain bun; in U.S. usually a small flat sweet cake
(a /biscuit/ in U.K.), but locally a name for small cakes of various
form with or without sweetening.
There are all sorts of 17th century recipes like Digby's Excellent small 
Cakes. There's an entire section that Karen Hess notes are cookies in 
all but name in Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery. These are labeled
sugar cakes in S143 and S144. [Given our modern definitions, One might 
argue that wafers are cookies which would clearly make them medieval.]
Peter G, Rose goes into the Dutch aspects in The Sensible Cook.They were 
baking Koeckjens [cookies] for the Native American trade by the 1650's.
This is explored further in Matters of Taste.
But Amelia Simmons by publishing her recipes and calling them cookies
in the first American cookbook written by an American set the stage for 
making them uniquely ours.


Phil Troy / G. Tacitus Adamantius wrote:
> On Jan 25, 2007, at 2:49 PM, Elise Fleming wrote:
>> Greetings!  It was posited that the cookie didn't appear until the  
>> 1800s.>> So... when is a cookie not a cookie?  snipped
>> Alys Katharine
> Yes. It might be better to ask, "When is a cake a cookie?"
> The popular wisdom is that the word "cookie" (or something like it)  
> enters the English language officially with Amelia Simmons' "American  
> Cookery", which source was published in England, too. The assumption  
> is that the people of Nieuw Amsterdam had a Dutch tradition, later  
> absorbed by the Americans, and eventually, the English, although they  
> appear, overall, less likely to use the word "cookie".
> I still say these Parliament cakes look a lot like some of the  
> Lebkuchen recipes, and further suspect that if you got into a time  
> machine and brought some Parlies back to various parts of 16th and  
> 17th century Europe, you'd probably find that many people would have  
> a pretty good idea of what they were, even if they didn't recognize  
> the name, or wanted to use honey in their own versions.
> Adamantius

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