Cookie

Dee Latoz of Westville puts a waffle cookie cookbook into the display case at the Westville Public Library.

If you smell cookies coming from the doors of the Westville Public Library this Labor Day weekend, your nose might be right. A waffle cookie exhibit opens there Saturday.

Waffle cookie irons of all origins, years and beauty are being displayed in the art center area through the end of October, but will begin Saturday with an open house between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. There will be a demonstration video, cookie samples and volunteers on hand to answer questions and share knowledge of pizzelle and galette cookie making and their history.

Anita Kedas of Danville spearheaded the coming together of what she calls the “cookie committee,” a group of four women and two advisory members who all either collect, make or otherwise enjoy galettes, pizzelles or waffle irons and cookies.

“I convinced them that it was part of our legacy of Westville,” said Kedas.

Kedas, who is originally from the Grape Creek area near Westville, said the waffle cookie is a tradition for the area because of its original ancestral roots.

“A lot of the people brought these over in the 1920s and ’30s,” said Bob Shapuras of Westville. “They brought these over from the old country on the boat.”

Dee Latoz said there are differences between galettes, pizelles and crumbcakes. Latoz brought the only crumbcake iron on display, which is Norwegian, and has a delicate, intricate pattern and makes a thin cookie.

Latoz said galettes are French-Belgian, whereas pizzelles are Italian. Galette irons normally are deeper than a pizzelle and make a thicker cookie, while pizzelle cookies are thinner, crispier and have a more intricate design.

“All the recipes are basically the same,” Latoz said. “It’s just the irons that make the different nationalities.”

A binder with a number of cookie recipes contributed by local bakers is on display as well as a video of Kedas demonstrating waffle cookie making from start to finish and their history. The DVD was produced by Andrew Dudich of Westville and a copy can be purchased for $5. It can be purchased through his Web site at http://ardudichphotography.webs.com/.

While learning the processes that are used to make the delicious cookies and eating the cookies themselves is definitely a draw for Saturday, seeing the waffle irons is reason enough to stop by. The glass cases are full of old and new, big and little, fancy and plain cookie stamping devices.

Some of the irons are so old they are made for use in the fire only, while others are new and electric. One is stamped with the maker’s mark A Timmerman and said it was made in Danville.

One iron is celery green. The smallest in the group would make a cookie that would be the size of a palm or smaller, while most others stamp out cookies the size of a human head.

Shapuras said the tiny iron was a salesman’s sample that a businessman would take around with him to show storeowners or housewives how it worked without lugging around a full-size model. Those are some of the most sought after these days.

“The miniatures always sell for more than the bigger ones do,” said Shapuras.

Collectors find irons at garage sales, estate sales, flea markets and antique shops. Many times they are passed down from a family member or friend.

While not all the irons they collect get used, cookies are always made, year-round and especially at the holidays.

“We make a lot of them,” said Shapuras. “They last a long time. They last six to eight months and they stay crisp. We take them hunting and fishing and we dip them in coffee.”

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