Alternate Nickname “The Pilgrim State”
Suggested Nickname “The Wicked State”
Two Truths and a Lie
Out of necessity, early colonists made bread with a mixture of rye, corn, and wheat flour. As the country prospered, molasses was added, and steaming replaced baking resulting in a sweet, moist loaf. Later Industrialists sold this bread to the masses in tin cans. B&M Brown Bread in a Can became the official state bread in 1972.
Deborah Sampson disguised herself as a man and enlisted in the Fourth Massachusetts Regiment in 1782. She joined a Light Infantry Company and completed a series of dangerous missions and tended her own wounds to evade detection. She was eventually found out and honorably discharged but later received a military pension for her service.
The Recipe - Healthy-ish Chocolate Chip Cookies
In 1930, Ruth Wakefield mixed chocolate chunks into cookie dough expecting it to melt into the dough. She was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t and began selling the cookies at her Toll House restaurant in Whitman. I don’t think any cookie recipe has ever become more popular. Chocolate Chip Cookies are the official state cookie of Massachusetts, and could probably represent the nation as a whole.
I never realized what a uniquely American treat these cookies were until I studied abroad in Spain. To curb a bout of homesickness, I translated the ingredient list and went shopping. My homestay graciously let me borrow their kitchen, which luckily had an oven, but I had to eyeball the ingredients as she had no food scale, measuring cups, or teaspoons. I also had to break up bars into chocolate chunks, because bags of chocolate chips were nowhere to be found. Every European I shared these with went nuts. My homestay’s face lit up in delight. My Swedish friend gave me extra hugs out of gratitude. A French acquaintance dug out a hidden bottle of wine in exchange for two extra cookies. I have never felt more like an ambassador. Happily, I saved some photos from these 2006 adventures.
My “favorite” chocolate chip cookie recipe has changed over the years. Currently I like to bake a healthier version of the original Toll House Cookie. Like Ruth Wakefield, I aim for a soft chewy texture, but I replace all-purpose flour with a blend of bread flour and oat flour. I brown my butter for extra flavor and triple the amount of vanilla. I also use bittersweet chocolate instead of the Toll House Morsels, because they taste so much butter. I rest the dough in the fridge overnight so the whole-grain flour can hydrate before baking.
These cookies bake so well, and they’re absolutely delicious. I insist on dunking them in a big mug of milk because that’s just the best. Next time I’ll make a double batch and freeze half so I can always be 15 minutes away from freshly baked chocolate chip cookies.
Want to experience Massachusetts for yourself? Then Teresa recommends ...
If an old friend invites you to their wedding on a covered bridge in rural Massachusetts you should definitely go; it was a delight. I would also recommend reading Sylvia Plath’s “The Bell Jar” and anything by Mo Willams. My kids are especially fond of “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.”
Time for the whole truth
Massachusetts doesn’t have an official state bread, but they do have seven state songs including a Patriotic Song, Polka Song, and Glee Club Song.
(By the way, you can click on any of the 2 truths and a lie statements to visit the source of the trivia)