WHAT IS A COOKIE TABLE?
The name really says it all – a table full of cookies! But to the Western Pennsylvania region, it’s so much more! Traditionally, friends and family of the bride and groom, with the mother of the bride taking the reigns, prepare these cookies. Quite regularly, hundreds of dozens of cookies end up on display during the big day, and a variety of ethnic cookies make an appearance. Some popular cookies include pizzelles, nut cups, lady locks, fruit horns, biscotti and Italian wedding cookies – an anise-infused drop cookie with a simple, sugar glaze! To locals, the Wedding Cookie Table is such a strong tradition that the day just wouldn’t seem complete without it. Think of it as the cherry on top of a sundae!
WHERE DID THE COOKIE TABLE ORIGINATE?
Rooted deep in the history of Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Eastern Ohio lies the beloved cookie table. To the folks in these parts of the country, a wedding without a Cookie Table is like having a wedding without the Bride and Groom – pointless! The Wedding Cookie Table has strong ethnic and religious ties, linked mainly to European immigrants of Catholic descent – particularly present in industrial areas that housed Italians, Greeks, and other Europeans.
Although the beginning of the Cookie Table is debatable, it is believed that this sweet sensation has been around since the Great Depression. It has been implied that the Cookie Table grew in popularity during this time because it offset the cost of purchasing a wedding cake, due in large part to the family and friends who baked for the wedding.
WHAT MAKES THE COOKIE TABLE SO SPECIAL
Aside from keeping the tradition alive, the Wedding Cookie Table gives family and loved ones the opportunity to show their love and adoration for the newlyweds through working with their hands. The baker carefully selects each cookie and takes great pride in his or her confections. Keeping the bride and groom in mind, often times the baker aims to elicit a warm and happy memory – most likely from childhood. For example, the bride may have grown up baking pizzelles with her Polish Nana in her cozy kitchen, or the groom may have been known to swoop in and “test taste” his aunts famous sugar cookies. Either way, each person is baking with love and pride for their loved one, and those feelings manifest into a variety of sweet, sweet treats!
Wedding Cookie Tables in the Press
- Washington Examiner: The cookie table and the bonds of traditions in America, November 2017
- 5 Foods so totally Pittsburgh – Wedding Cookie Table
- It’s a Pittsburgh Wedding!
- Wikipedia: Wedding Cookie Table
- New York Times: The Wedding? I’m here for the Cookies!
- National Post: In Pittsburgh, the wedding cookie table
- Parade: 25 Reasons to do a Wedding Cookie Table
- NPR: What’s a Wedding without Cookies
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: This is Pittsburgh Food: On the cookie tables
- Bridal Guide: Cookie Tables and Other Fun Wedding Traditions
- The Columbus Dispatch: Engagement means baking can’t be far off
- Pittsburgh Magazine: Cookie Table Throwdown
- Cravory Cookies: Ditch the Wedding Cake and Have A Cookie Table At Your Reception
- Bob on Books: Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown– The Cookie Table
- Edible Allegheny: Wedding Must-Have: The Traditional Pittsburgh Cookie Table
- Media Web Source: Pittsburgh Wedding Planning
- Party Savvy: The Pittsburgh Cookie Table
- Dame Who Dish: Tackling the Cookie Table: Why Pinterest Has Made A Wedding Tradition Easier
- Ohio Magazine: Something Borrowed, Something Baked
- Pretzel Crazy: Pittsburgh Cookie Table – Wedding Cookies Do Get Better
- Uncommon Courtesy: Regional Wedding Traditions – Cookie Table
- Jama’s Alphabet Soup: Passion in Pittsburgh – With This Cookie, I Thee Wed
- Serious Eats: Pittsburgh Rare – A Culinary History of the Steel City
- Wedding Bee: A Pittsburgh Tradition
- Charlotte’s Weddings & More: The History of Wedding Favors
- A Cookie Custom: Cookie Table Contest Winner
- Franklin Institute: Wedding Trends 2016