Why do the Brits call them biscuits and we call them cookies? The answer lies in the 17th century Dutch colony of New Netherland. But cookies have a peculiar history. Once the purview only of the wealthy, their flavors, shapes, and textures have changed over time. Influenced by changing technologies, household labor, slavery, social status, agricultural innovations, and immigration, cookies have become the standard American Christmastime treat. But how did we get there? In this illustrated lecture, food historian Sarah Wassberg Johnson discusses the history of cookies in America, Christmas traditions through the ages, and why we eat so many cookies during the holiday season.
Sarah Wassberg Johnson is The Food Historian - author, speaker, educator, podcaster, and blogger on all things related to food history. A frequent interviewee of journalists looking for historical context, she was featured in seasons 1 and 2 of The History Channel mini series, "The Food That Built America" and has been featured on NPR, the Atlantic, CNN, Atlas Obscura, and more. She has published in New York History journal and the Agricultural History journal and is currently finalizing edits on her book, "Preserve or Perish: Food in New York State during the Great War, 1916-1919," under contract with SUNY Press.
This program is sponsored by the RRLC Library Assistants Group.
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