Archival Anecdotes: What's the story with the cookie jar?
July 12, 2021
For as long as I can remember, I've heard songs and jokes about the cookie jar. Yet somehow, I have never lived in a home that had a cookie jar. I guess my cookies resided in plastic packages (as many do).
Cookies are characterized as sweet, handheld baked goods. They first made their appearance in the Middle East during the seventh century. The concept of the cookie (and the sugar needed) eventually made its way into Europe, and by the 14th century, cookies were commonplace in European bakeries.
Glass cookie jars became the place to store the sweet treats. In England, these jars were known as "biscuit barrels."
These jars made their way into the American home just in time, as another treat was on the horizon- the chocolate chip cookie.
Created in the late 1930s, by the hand of Ruth Wakefield of Toll House, the cookie was crispy, chewy and dotted with chocolate chunks.
In Wakefield's 1938 cookbook "Tried and True," she shared her chocolate chip cookie recipe and suggested they be served with ice cream.
Soon glass jars took on a new style. These cylindrical jars were often decorated with floral elements. Over time, manufacturers became more creative, producing cookie jars shaped like fruits and vegetables, animals and fictional characters.