Growing up near Youngstown, Ohio, Assistant Professor of English and Speech Matthew Petrunia never tasted a wedding cake. Instead, the staple dessert at weddings for him was the cookie table—or, more accurately, tables, lined up all around the ballroom, crowded with platters of cookies baked by the couple’s family and friends, enough for every guest to gorge on about 30 of them.
Hue thinks that just takes the cookie.
“The first wedding I went to after moving to Colorado, there was no cookie table,” Petrunia remembers. “I thought it was a colossal joke.”
For an info session for incoming students about Liberal Arts minors on August 23, he decided to bring the tradition to FIT and create a cookie social, where students could mingle with professors in a relaxed, butter-heavy setting.
The cookie table: Starting from bottom right, the cookies are pizzelles, marmalade thumbprints, apple thumbprints, and pecan tarts.
But procuring all those baked goods was no cookiewalk. He drove more than seven hours to Santisi’s IGA Marketplace in Girard, Ohio, and picked up 1,500 cookies, plus 15 pounds of Giannios chocolate candies, then drove right back. (Cookies from a respected supermarket, apparently, can stand in for the home-baked variety.)
The goodies came from a melange of ethnicities: clothespin cookies (a flaky crust with a cream filling), kolache cookies (filled with apricot, poppyseed, or nuts; also called foldover cookies), and buckeyes (peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate), but none of the chocolate-chip variety. “I was interested in bringing cookies they hadn’t seen before.”
The cookie table (again). From bottom, Italian wedding cookies (the white balls), walnut bars, raspberry kolaches, nut kolaches, buckeyes, and kiffles.
He plated the sweets with Fenton Glass and Viking Glass, colorful candy dishes that everybody’s grandmother owned when he was growing up. FIT’s cookie table became a rainbow of glass and jelly.
Giannios candies inside a Viking handkerchief vase
Then the students flooded in, and the treats went like hotcookies. The buckeyes disappeared after just 40 minutes.
“There were polite cookie-takers who took three and walked away,” he says. “Then there was this one girl who had about 20 cookies on this little plate. I like that she lost control.”
Students loving the liberal arts (plus cookies)
By the time the room emptied two hours later, just 23 marmalade thumbprint cookies remained. Clearly, at FIT, you can’t have your cookie and eat it too.
By Monday, 22 students had signed up for a Liberal Arts minor. Now isn’t that just the icing on the cookie?