Pittsburgh cookie table history, mystery, etiquette

Ever wondered why there are 12 cookies per guest at a Pittsburgh wedding?

At a Pittsburgh wedding, the cookie table is as important as the first kiss, but finding the true origin of tradition is as difficult as making the perfect Pittsburgh.

Some say it is a custom brought to Pittsburgh by immigrants (and everyone from Italians to Poles claims its heritage). Others say it was born from the Great Depression-you need to save money on cakes. Still, until very recently in the 1990s, there are few published documents about wedding cookie tables.

The cookie table always attracts the crowd.
Michael Will Photo Courtesy

But regardless of their roots, this lasting tradition of sharing dozens of sweet homemade sweets at weddings is imprinted on Pittsburgh’s culture. And it continues to confuse newcomers to the city.

So how did you get started?

According to Lauren Ul, food and fitness curator at the Heinz History Center, the answer is “ambiguous.” But there is one thing that is clear. that is, Youngstown, OhioIt seems to be a tradition peculiar to Pittsburgh.

Back in the 1900s, the concept of cookie tables was a staple of church socialization, PTA meetings, and card games, but not necessarily weddings.

She said the link between the cookie table and the wedding did not begin to appear in publications until the 1990s. But perhaps the concept didn’t appear in newspapers or cookbooks, she added. Because everyone was doing it, it wasn’t considered newsworthy.

As the sign says, “Eat now and bring the box later.”
Michael Will Photo Courtesy

Indeed, Pittsburgh enjoyed wedding cookie tables long before the 90’s. The local bakery said he remembered the cookie table as far as he remembered at his family’s wedding.

“The big story I grew up in Penn Hills was more than just” How was your wedding? ” —It was, “How was the cookie?” Said Mark Serrao, owner of Oakmont Bakery. “They started baking a month before their wedding. There are cookies in the closet and freezer.”

For many local families, preparing a cookie table has become an important experience when family recipes are shared and each cookie is truly lovingly made.

“Whether you show your skill in making cookies or whether this is your love for someone, this takes a long time and it’s something you’re proud of, so you’re you I want to bring the best and the best of the to the table, “Uhl said.

Dancing fuel
Michael Will Photo Courtesy

Indeed, many of the cookies found on Pittsburgh’s cookie table-Lady Rock, Koratsuki, Pittzel, Peche Concrema, Peanut Butter Flowers, Nut Rolls, Lists-followed-need attention to time and detail.

Generally, families prepare cookies, but couples often order from professional kitchens such as Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop, Bethel Bakery, and Oakmont Bakery to add supplements.

For Katrin Doolin, manager of the wedding department at Bethel Bakery in Bethel Park, the Pittsburgh cookie table tradition has been a must for years for Irish and Slovak families, who are enthusiastic about preparing cookies and cookie menus. I spent a few weeks planning.

“What I like about the cookie table is that there is no single story. Like the best traditions of life, everyone has their own spin,” Doulin said. rice field.

She is most familiar with the story of the origins surrounding the frugality during the Great Depression.

“The cookie table was born from our roots, which means that many immigrants came to Pittsburgh at the turn of the century, especially before and after the Great Depression,” she said. “The money was so tight that they didn’t bear the cost of desserts and cakes, as it became a cost-cutting tool for couples as well.”

This is usually not just a cookie table, but multiple cookie tables.
Michael Will Photo Courtesy

Serrao, an Italian, has always believed that tradition has Italian roots, which fits well with Pittsburgh’s tender heart.

“I know Slovak women, Polish women, Eastern Europeans, Greeks are coming in and saying it’s theirs,” he said. “The Greek family said,’We must have a cookie table. It’s our culture.” And I think “it’s everyone’s culture.” But I think of hospitality and generosity rather than culture. “

He’s been aware of that tradition since the 70’s, but Tony Moio, who owns Moio’s Italian pastry shop in Monroeville, has changed over the years.

“When I first came with my dad and grandfather, if they had cookies at the wedding, it was 1-2 per person, and over the years it started to rise,” Moio said. Said. “It exploded 10 to 15 years ago and now requires a cookie table.”

Michael Will Photo Courtesy

There is no exact number of cookies at the wedding. The bakery agrees that it is somewhere between 6 per guest and 1.5 dozen per guest.

However, beyond that generous amount, some tables are covered with a tray of sweet delicacies. Moio remembers his wedding at the closed Monzo Hotel in Monroeville with 5,000 cookies.

Yes, that’s about 416 dozen.

He sent cookies to Pittsburgh expatriates from California to Texas and Florida for their wedding.

Familiar with the tradition, Moio thought it was a custom on the East Coast and was more widespread than Pittsburgh. So until he met the bride in Pittsburgh, who was married to a New Jersey groom, and the topic of cookie tables inevitably emerged.

“The New Jersey couple was like,’What the hell is this?'” He said.

When attending our first wedding in Pittsburgh, we asked them because there are a lot of cookie table manners questions that are too embarrassing to ask.

Most importantly, when can you eat cookies?

This is a bit controversial and the answer is probably in family traditions.

Some families open a cookie table during happy hour, while others wait until after dinner.

In general, bakeries are advised to wait until after dinner.

“Universal etiquette is that you aren’t supposed to touch those cookies until after dinner, but what etiquette is and what happens is two completely different things,” says Doulin. I did. “I dare to tell Grandma that she isn’t allowed to sneak out cookies from the cookie table before dinner. Also, to Aunt Betsy, four cookies in her wallet with coffee the next morning. Tell someone that you are not allowed to enter. “

Serrao gives a green light to eat cookies both before and after dinner. His family provides some cookies before supper and stores more elaborate cookies such as mini canoris and mini cheesecakes after supper.

“Before the wedding [reception]We’ll give them a little to survive until dinner, “he said.

Should I eat both cakes and cookies?

Yes, the bakery agrees.

How many cookies do you need per person to create a cookie table?

it’s different.

On the most conservative side, plan 4-5 cookies per person. On the more generous side, it’s up to a dozen and a half.

“We had a big wedding in Italy and Poland, where we see a dozen or a dozen and a half cookies, but we don’t even hit the eyelashes. I followed them up. But there were no cookies left, “Dulin said. “If you have a lot of people from outside the town, you have to teach them to use that cookie table. They may be polite. You need to dig in.”

A takeaway bag is absolutely necessary.
Michael Will Photo Courtesy

What else do I need to make a cookie table?

Boxes and bags for takeaway. This is the key.

Some families have attached family recipes as a souvenir.

“People need to have boxes and bags to take them home,” Moio said.

Can you give me more?Explore others Strange pittsburgh story.

A story by Rossilynne Culgan.

(First edition: April 16, 2018)

Pittsburgh cookie table history, mystery, etiquette

Source link Pittsburgh cookie table history, mystery, etiquette

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