Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Andrew Nestle

In the 1930’s, a dietician named Ruth Wakefield made cookies to sell to road weary travelers who passed through the Toll House Inn that she and her husband owned. One day, Wakefield found herself without the Baker’s chocolate she needed to finish making her locally famous Butter Drop Do cookies. So instead she broke up a semi-sweet chocolate bar given to her by a friend. These chunks of chocolate did not melt like the Baker’s chocolate, but the result was not unappealing. The chocolate cookie was invented.

But we are not here to celebrate Ms. Wakefield’s ingenuity, but instead to pay tribute to the friend who gave her the chocolate; a man named Andrew Nestle. At the time of Wakefield’s discovery, Nestle had a chocolate company. When Betty Crocker featured Wakefield’s recipe on her national radio program, the idea took off and Nestle began selling more and more of his semi-sweet chocolate bars. In an effort to capitalize on this new-found popularity, he first began scoring his chocolate bars to make them easier to break up, and then be began packaging them with a little cutting tool to make it easier to turn the bars into chips.

But Nestle’s real stroke of genius came after he made a deal with Wakefield for the rights to her recipe. Nestle received the rights to the chocolate chip cookie recipe in exchange for chocolate for life for Wakefield, and placed that recipe on the package of his new product – the chocolate chip. To this day, the recipe remains on the packages of Nestle’s Chocolate Chips.

Today Nestle’s company is a diverse food products provider, offering everything from Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream to Hot Pockets. And they of course still sell those chocolate chips that I love soooooo much. With a market capitalization of over $130 BILLION, it is one of the largest corporations in the world. Obviously, not all of this wealth came directly from chocolate chips. But you've got to start somewhere, right?

More on Chocolate Chip Cookies

Some fun with Hot Pockets

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