Thursday, March 3, 2011

Got Milk?

I'd like to take a moment to talk about a local wedding tradition that will be making an appearance at our August reception - the cookie table.  Not familiar with this tradition?  You can read a New York Times article about this quirky little detail hereMrs. Octopus and Mrs. Cheeseburger also touched upon the issue when planning their respective PA weddings.  For those of you not interested in clicking to another page to get the low-down, allow me to explain.  In Western Pennsylvania, many wedding receptions feature a cookie table.  This is usually a spread of cookies that accompanies the wedding cake, rather than replacing it.  However, this table isn't composed of your typical Oreos and Pepperidge Farm Milanos.  No, no.  Much more labor and love goes into this bad boy.

Image via Cup of John
delicious, no doubt, but just ain't gonna cut it.

Instead of your local supermarket fare, wedding cookie tables are comprised of dozens upon dozens of family cookies, highlighting the treasured recipes from the bride's and/or groom's clan.  They are a huge tradition in Western Pennsylvania; I've heard more than my fair share of shocked and disappointed comments following a cookie-less wedding.  This tradition is most actively practiced by the sizeable Italian community in the region.  My family is not Italian, nor did they grow up in the region, making cookie tables a relatively new concept to them.  Mr. Snow Cone's family, on the other hand, are born and bred Pennsylvanians and Italian with a capital "I."  While my family has never been part of a wedding that hosts a cookie table, it's pretty much an expectation for any wedding in Mr. Snow Cone's family.  I was kind of plus-minus on the entire concept, seeing it as a lot of trouble for a tradition that I'm not terribly attached to.  And then I heard, "You're not thinking of not having a cookie table at the wedding, are you?" 

At that moment, I realized that this is not something I can just write off because it's not near and dear to my own heart.  I'm only half of the wedding, so it's ridiculous of me to think that my traditions and preferences will be the only ones put into motion.  Mr. Snow Cone's family associates weddings with cookie tables, so it would be absurd to not have a cookie table at his own wedding!  

How many cookies are we realistically talking about?  Well, our coordinator said that the general guideline is 8 to 10 cookies per person.

Let's crunch the numbers.  

8 cookies per person x 250 people = 2000 cookies. 

two thousand cookies.
I know what you're thinking, "Wow, that's certainly a lot of cookies."  And I hear you on that one.  But, for me, the reality of this gargantuan number of cookies didn't really hit home until we determined how many dozens of cookies that would be.

2000 cookies / 12 cookies per dozen = 167 dozen cookies.

one hundred and sixty-seven DOZEN cookies.

Even though I've heard and looked at these numbers a good number of times, I still experience a minor "holy %*@$" moment every time they rear their gigantic heads.  But, don't worry, there's good news.

If we split it up 50-50, each family is only realistically responsible for about 85 dozen.  Still a mind-boggling amount, but it's a bit more manageable than 167 dozen, right?  Plus, there's always a network of family and friends who you can delegate cookie-baking to.  No joke, as soon as we got engaged, my parents started receiving volunteers for cookie-baking.  People are up to the task, which makes this entire project feasible.  Our wedding isn't until August, so there's the better part of the summer to bake and freeze, cutting the workload into little bits here and there.  Finally, if it turns out to be just too much, there's always the option of ordering cookies from any number of bakers who specialize in wedding cookies.  With all of these different options and strategies, I can sort of begin wrapping my head around all of this cookie business.

Have you seen cookies at weddings?  And, just for fun, what's your favorite type of cookie?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that's a lot of cookies! I've actually never seen cookies at a wedding, but I also haven't been to very many weddings (I came from a super small town). Then again, I never heard of candy bars until I started going to wedding blogs, too. lol! I think it's such a great idea! OH! And my favorite cookie is the snickerdoodle.

    Anyways, I just wanted to say hi! I'm a new follower (I found your blog on weddingbee) and I look forward to reading more from you!