Salena Zito: The cookie table and the bonds of traditions in America

PITTSBURGH — Barb Yavorcik’s husband jokes that when he called his mother to tell her they were engaged she hung up the phone and turned the oven on to preheat.

Why? “To bake the cookies for the wedding, of course,” she said.

In certain parts of the country, particularly in Pittsburgh and Youngstown, Ohio, where the Yavorcik family came from, if you do not have a cookie table — actually several cookie tables ready to greet your guests as they enter the wedding reception — you may as well expect nothing short of a revolt by the guests.

Or at least life-long judgment and gossip about “that wedding” that had no cookies.

“If you don’t do it, people talk about the wedding that ‘didn’t have the cookie table’ — nobody wants that shame brought to their name,” said Christina Blasi, who had a bountiful cookie table at her Pittsburgh wedding.

“Everyone makes different types of cookies, and once complete, they come together to be a massive assortment of deliciousness. The key to the success of a cookie table is to-go containers. Most people can’t eat a dozen cookies after dinner and cake, but they sure will pack to-go containers full of them to eat for breakfast the next day,” said Blasi.

In short the cookie table is everything; no matter if the wedding is held at a fire hall, social club banquet hall, high-end hotel, or on a beach, and no matter how inconvenient it is — if you are from the Rust Belt you will find a way to bring homemade cookies and display them artfully at your wedding.

For the generations who made up America’s Melting Pot and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren the cookie table is more important than the cake, what is served for dinner, or what kind of dress the bride wore.

It is a tradition whose origin is not entirely clear but involves months of preparation, several hundred pounds of sugar, butter, and flour, a variety of nuts as well as a sense of pride and connection to the past.

Read the full piece HERE.

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