The original chocolate chip cookie was invented in around 1938 in Massachusetts, and Nestlé chocolate, the same chocolate we enjoy today, was part of the story. A young couple, Ruth and Kenneth Wakefield, bought an old farmhouse in the small town of Whitman, which was on Route 18, between Boston and Cape Cod. It was an excellent location and they turned it into the Toll House Inn. They put all their savings into the purchase and renovation, and opened the inn with the last $50 that they had. Ruth was a 1924 graduate of the Framingham State Normal School Department of Household Arts and a dietitian who gave lectures about food. The 1709 farmhouse that the young couple bought had already been converted into an inn, and in the old days it had been where travellers paid a toll, changed horses, and ate a home-style meal. They named their business The Tollhouse Inn. When the Wakefields opened their business, Ruth was both the cook and the server. They opened with only seven tables, and in three years had expanded to 61 tables and usually had a waiting line. That was an amazing feat in the 1930s, the time of the Great Depression.
Ruth expected the chocolate to melt and preads through the cookie dough as baker’s chocolate would, and was surprised when she saw that the chocolate pieces retained their form, and were moist, soft and delicious in the cookie. Her new invention became an instant success and Ruth named it Chocolate Crunch Cookies. It is thought that she put nuts in them, and thus the crunch. But not everybody had the time or energy to cut chocolate bars up with an ice pick.
Mrs. Wakefield’s cookies became a craze. During World War II, mothers sent care packages to soldiers who were stationed overseas containing the cookies, and they shared them with other soldiers, making the cookies even more popular. Rose Kennedy had the Toll House Inn send weekly care packages to each of her sons during WWII. (JFK preferred Mrs. Wakefield’s gingerbread cookies.) Joseph Kennedy Sr. used to go by the inn for a slice of Boston Cream Pie. After the war, when John F. Kennedy became a senator, he also liked to eat at the Toll House Inn.
The inn continued to be popular until the Wakefields decided to sell it and retire in 1966. Ruth Wakefield died in 1977, when she was 73, and Mr. Wakefield died in 1977. In 1983 Nestlé sued the new owners to stop them from using the name on the cookies that they were making in their restaurant. Nestlé lost. A federal judge ruled that the words Toll House cookie could no longer be considered Nestlé’s trademark.
The Toll House Inn burned down on New Year’s Eve in 1984. It was never rebuilt, but there is an historical marker where it once stood. The land where the chocolate chip cookie was invented now houses a Wendy’s and a Walgreen’s, typically American.
As for Nestlé, it got over losing the right to the name of America’s favorite cookie, and continued to acquire and merge. Today Nestlé owns over 2,000 brands in 150 countries. It is worth an estimated 90 billion CHF.
And that’s the way the cookie crumbles.
The word cliffhanger comes from cliffs. Duh. Cliffs are vertical, or nearly vertical, rocks that have been formed by erosion and weathering. There are lots of famous cliffs, but the first ones that come to my mind are the White Cliffs of Dover, probably because there was a popular World War II song about them that was part of my childhood, and also because they are on the historical English coastline.
When one thinks of cliffhangers, England and its gothic novels always come to mind. Cliffhangers are the kind of story, book or movie that uses suspense either at the end of an episode or a scene. A good example was the way the final episode of Game of Thrones, season 5, was done. Jon Snow was dead. Or was he? Those of us who sweated it out until season 6 was aired were never really sure. The writers used old-fashioned melodrama, suspense and uncertainty, and the audience was left as if hanging from a cliff in a state of tension and apprehension. And that’s a true cliffhanger.
This part of the blog will not be able to offer any nail-biting cliffhangers, but it will have classes in series, and I hope they will be interesting enough that you will want to come back and read what happens next, even if you don’t lose sleep anticipating the next chapter. Enjoy.
Betsy and I worked together as teachers in an English School many years ago. The need of keeping my English fluent and updated inspired me to have classes with her, so, 3 other teachers and I formed a group for these classes. Betsy’s classes were always fun, full of new, challenging and interesting vocabulary, focusing on what was happening in the world and many times, with suggestions for our own classes. I still keep the material she prepared for us at that time and, surprisingly they are still fitted for my students. The environment where she teaches is so cozy that we believed we were abroad; this also contributed to the charm of the classes. Apart from that, Betsy and I have developed a strong friendship that has been kept alive up to now. I still turn to her whenever I need something and she never lets me down.
Aprender inglês com Betsy é um privilégio! Com aulas dinâmicas, inteligentes, divertidas, sempre tratando de assuntos atuais, consegue ensinar e cativar! Tenho aulas com ela há muitos anos! Não pretendo parar, pois além de aprender a língua, Betsy coloca assuntos muito interessantes em pauta. Nestes muitos anos, nunca repetiu uma só aula! Grande professora!
Fui aluna da Betsy há muitos anos atrás em uma escola de idiomas em BH e quando descobri que ela continuava dando aulas, entrei em contato e já agendei meu horário semanal. Até retornar a ser aluna da Betsy, não tinha muita motivação para ir a aulas de inglês, porém, atualmente, digo que estou indo para a minha terapia em inglês. A Betsy é uma pessoa divertidíssima, muito culta e interessada. Sua curiosidade me impressiona. As aulas com ela fluem, abordamos os mais variados assuntos e de uma maneira leve consigo aprimorar meus conhecimentos em inglês e aprender novos vocabulários. Pode acompanhar suas aulas e publicações online vai ser sensacional!
Betsy is a wonderful English teacher! Not only is she a native English speaker, but she is also “antenada” in what’s going on around the globe, enabling all kinds of subjects to be brought to light through very engaging and in-depth discussions, and providing a rich vocabulary, with words and expressions you don’t normally find in your usual English textbooks (and that are only ever mentioned on advanced English classes after years and years of going to the same English school). She is very open-minded and has a great sense of humor, making “convos” interesting and funny. And…Betsy loves cats – she is the best! Love, Carla & Amanda.