You are probably not familiar with the name Ruth Wakefield and my guess is that your parents are not either. Bear with me while I introduce her to you and then you will understand the connection to your birthday epistle.
She was born in June 1903 in Easton, Massachusetts and worked as a dietician and lectured on foods. I n 1930, she and her husband Kenneth bought a tourist lodge in Plymouth County – located about halfway between Boston and New Bedford. It was a place where passengers had historically paid a toll, changed horses, and ate home-cooked meals. When the Wakefields opened their business, they named the establishment the Toll House Inn. Ruth cooked and served all the food and soon gained local fame for her desserts… especially a new cookie recipe she created. She invented chocolate chip cookies around 1938 when she added chopped up bits from a Nestle’ semi-sweet chocolate bar into a cookie.
During WWII, US soldiers from Massachusetts who were stationed overseas shared the cookies that they received in care packages from back home with soldiers from other parts of the US. Soon, hundreds of soldiers were writing home asking their families to send them some “Toll House” cookies, and Wakefield was soon inundated with letters from around the world requesting her recipe. Thus began the nationwide craze for the chocolate chip cookie.
As the popularity of the cookies increased, the sales of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate bars also spiked. Andrew Nestlé and Ruth Wakefield made a business arrangement: Wakefield gave Nestlé the right to use her cookie recipe and the Toll House name for one dollar and a lifetime supply of Nestlé chocolate. Nestlé then began marketing chocolate chips to be used especially for cookies and printing the recipe for the Toll House Cookie on its package.
Wakefield’s creation went on to be the most popular cookie of all time. Chocolate chip cookies currently have gross sales of over $18 billion in the United States… and Ruth Wakefield sold the rights to the cookie for $1.
I’m sure by now you can guess the connection to your birthday epistle. You and I have a mutual love for chooooooclate chiiiiiiiiiips. But here is the lesson I want to pass on to you. Ruth Wakefield, in her own way, changed the world for the better. (At least in my humble but accurate opinion). She did it because of a passion that she had and a desire to serve others and to bring them a degree of happiness – even if it was fleeting.
In the years to come it is going to be exciting to watch your passions emerge. One of my prayers is that the Lord will fuel you with godly passions that you will steward well as you seek to serve Jesus, serve others, and be used mightily to bring joy to a despairing world. May these first two verses from Psalm 84 reflect your passion to know God and be the wellspring from which all other passions flow…
How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
2 My soul longs, yes, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Never forget that you are very loved!