Monday, December 06, 2004

Name that dessert.

What do you call a little ball-shaped cookie containing nuts and coated in white confectioner's sugar? This has been a matter of debate at Loyola House the last couple days, and give-and-take on the issue has opened my eyes to interesting regional differences in the naming of one of my favorite desserts. Growing up, I knew these delectable treats as Mexican Wedding Cakes. Fellow first-year novice Drew Marquard - whose mother kindly baked the cookies in question - says he grew up calling them Russian Tea Cakes. This website would seem to indicate that both names are correct; several novices from Ohio also reported that they knew these cookies - often but not exclusively prepared during the Christmas season - as "Snowballs." Anecdotally, it strikes me that the "Mexican Wedding Cake" moniker is fairly widespread, as fellow first-year novice Mike Singhurse - who grew up in Indiana, geographically and culturally worlds away from my home digs in Massachusetts - reported that he knew the cookies by this name as well. On the same token, I'm sure the "Russian Tea Cake" and "Snowball" names are widespread too. The whole experience taught me an interesting and valuable lesson in cultural geography and family traditions. More importantly, the cookies - whatever you want to call them - were delicious. Thank you, Mrs. Marquard! AMDG.


At December 07, 2004 9:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,

At December 07, 2004 9:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Joe,
If this appears as 2 comments it's because I am incompetent and inadvertently sent it before I completed the message. I'm glad that you like the cookies. Who knew that they'd be a source of controversy? I agree that they go by many names. I really enjoy your website. Keep up the good work! Loretta Marquard

At December 08, 2004 3:49 PM, Blogger Joseph Koczera, S.J. said...

Mrs. Marquard -
Thanks for your kinds words, and thanks again for the cookies. The debate about what to call them was, I'm pleased to report, a very light-hearted one, and I had a neat time learning about the different names. Another reason I love living in community here at LH. Thanks again - hope all is well.


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