Ruth Graves Wakefield
Ruth Graves Wakefield
Ruth Jones Graves Wakefield
June 17, 1903
|Died||January 10, 1977 (aged 73)|
|Education||Framingham State Normal School|
Kenneth Donald Wakefield
Ruth Jones Graves Wakefield (June 17, 1903 – January 10, 1977; maiden name: Ruth Graves) was an American chef, best known as the inventor of the Toll House Cookie, the first chocolate chip cookie. She was also a college graduate, dietitian, educator, business owner, and author.
Ruth Wakefield was born "Ruth Jones Graves", daughter of Fred Graves and the former Helen Vest Jones (Helen Graves), in East Walpole, Massachusetts on June 17, 1903. Wakefield grew up in Easton, Massachusetts, and graduated from Oliver Ames High School in 1920. Wakefield was educated at Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts in 1924. Wakefield worked at Brockton High School as a home economics teacher and also worked as a hospital dietician and service director for a utility company. In 1928, she and her husband Kenneth Donald Wakefield (1897–1997) had a son, Kenneth Donald Wakefield Jr. In 1942, they had a daughter, Mary Jane Wakefield.
Toll House Inn
In 1930, she and her husband bought a tourist lodge (the Toll House Inn) in Whitman 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 lobster dinners and desserts. People from across the region visited the Toll House, including notables such as US Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, Sr. Her chocolate chip cookies soon became very popular. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938.
It is said that Wakefield was inspired by a trip to Egypt when she started to experiment with cookie recipes. Her assistant Sue Brides was experimenting with pecan drop cookies. Wakefield found the conventional cookie recipe of half white sugar to half brown sugar to be uninspired and she attempted to improve on the recipe.
Ruth Wakefield invented the chocolate chip cookie. She added chopped up bits from a Nestlé semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie. It is often incorrectly reported that the cookie was an accident and that Wakefield expected the chocolate chunks to melt making chocolate cookies. In reality, 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 best selling cookbook, Toll House Tried and True Recipes, that went through 39 printings. The 1938 edition of the cookbook was the first to include the recipe for a chocolate chip cookie, the "Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie".
As the popularity of the Toll House Chocolate Crunch Cookie increased, the sales of Nestlé's semi-sweet chocolate bars also spiked. Andrew Nestlé and Ruth Wakefield made a business arrangement: Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. Nestlé began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies and printing the recipe for the Toll House Cookie on its package.
Chocolate chip cookies are still consumed today and currently exist in a market space of over $18 billion in the US.
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