On July 9, 1997, the state of Massachusetts declared the chocolate chip cookie to be their official state cookie.

It replaced the previous state confection, the barley-and-oat cookie, which had been adopted in 1697 by the legislature of the Province of Massachusetts. The barley-and-oat cookie was a deliberately bitter and unpleasant-tasting baked good, with the whole oats providing a particularly unpleasant mouthfeel.

This was deliberate, as the Puritans who had invented the cookie thought that its poor taste and texture would present “a bulwarke againste Idleness” and that sweet treats were “tooles of the Devil and temptations to Sinne.” By limiting themselves to unpleasant cookies, the Puritans thought, they could resist sin and temptation.

It is worth noting that a contemporary account, from 1698, notes that “as poore as these Cookys are” that they are still “bettere by a League than thee usual Fare” at a Puritan dinner table.

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It is well known that the fallen Dark Lord Muolih is and has always been incapable of creation ex nihilo unlike his sire and target of his ire the Creator. As such, he has only ever been able to alter or to copy, never to create. This is best known as the origin of the Gobs, created in imitation of and opposition to the Fairies of the Creator, and hence why said Gobs are known for their suicidal self-loathing.

But it not wholly in the area of life itself that the Dark Lord Muolih found himself unable to craft anything that was not a vile mockery of the Creator’s efforts. In an attempt to recreate the sumptuous and heavenly feasts at the table of Cubaeh, Muolih sought to give his chief chef Phonru (a fallen being who had once served Gyfeil the Gourmand) recipes worthy of the Creator’s table. In this effort he failed; Muolih’s concoctions as realized by Phonru were edible, even nourishing, but they were never more than hollow and dark echoes of the delights heaping the table of Cubaeh.

The most notable, and notorious, creation of Muolih in this regard was his attempt to craft a chocolate chip cookie. Said cookies were foremost among the fancies of Gyfeil the Gourmand and touched directly by the Creator; Muolih’s efforts to craft his own were a dismal failure. And so came into being oatmeal raisin cookies, made by the Dark Lord in envy and mockery of chocolate chip cookies much as he made Goblins in envy and mockery of the Fairies.

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Marian Fisher, dressed in black and sporting a lace choker as always, had a booth at the seventeenth annual Mason County High School Fun Fair.

The cheerleaders were selling kisses, the marching band had a ring toss game, and the football team operated a dunk tank. Even the chess club had a booth, challenging all comers to last just five moves against “The King of Pawns.” Marian’s booth was different; she was associated with no club and had built the stand in her spare time. The sign simply read “Free Milk and Cookies,” with no conditions or prices.

Keith Nost, who knew Marian from weekly D&D games, was the first one to stop by.

“Would you like some lactateous secretions or miniature cakes baked just short of carbonization?” she asked in her usual monotone.

“What are you doing here?” Keith said. “What is all this?”

“I’m amazed you can keep a character sheet without being able to read. It’s a stand for free milk and cookies, and I just offered you some.”

“I know, but…putting yourself out here like this? You’re just gonna get made fun of. Publicly. Lord knows I would. I don’t wanna see that happen to you.”

“Why would anyone take the time to browbeat a humble cookie vendor?” Marian asked. “Don’t worry your bezitted little head about me, dear.”

“And since when can you cook? I’ve seen your fridge at home. Expired milk, eggs making like their forefathers and going south…”