Ruth Graves was born June 17, 1905 in Massachusetts.
After graduating from college in 1924, Ruth began working as a dietitian.
She married Kenneth Donald Wakefield before the couple purchased a Cape Cod style tourist lodge at Whitman, Massachusetts.
Originally built in 1709 as a tollhouse (part inn and restaurant, and part toll collection booth for the toll road), the Inn was located on a toll road about halfway between Boston and New Bedford.
Historically, tollhouses were utilized for travelers to change horses and eat home-cooked meals.
When Ruth and Kenneth opened their business, they turned it into a charming restaurant, naming it the Toll House Inn.
Ruth began cooking traditional home-made colonial meals for guests at the inn, capitalizing on its fame as a colonial building, and decorating the inn in traditional colonial styles.
Her well made food and special desserts began attracting people from across New England.
Chocolate chip cookie
One day in 1930 while making her popular Butter Drop Do cookies, Ruth discovered that she had run out of powdered baker’s chocolate, and substituted cut up pieces of Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar instead.
She was surprised when the chocolate bar pieces did not melt into the cookie dough, but remained soft and intact.
Serving them to her guests as “Chocolate Chip” cookies, they became immediately popular, and soon people were asking for her recipe.
Sales of Nestles’ Semi-Sweet Chocolate bars suddenly increased in the local area, and when Nestles’ salesmen investigated, they discovered Ruth’s cookies were the cause of the increased sales.
Nestles’ asked for permission to print the “Toll House Cookie” recipe on its packaging; in exchange, Ruth received a supply of Semi-Sweet chocolate for the rest of her life.
Then in 1940, Ruth published a cookbook, “Ruth Wakefield’s Recipes: Tried and True” which became a best seller.
Over the years the Toll House Inn and restaurant had many famous visitors, including John F. Kennedy.
Then in 1966, Kenneth and Ruth sold their Toll House, retiring to Duxbury, Massachusetts.
The new owners turned the building into a nightclub.
In 1970, the Saccone family purchased the building and restored it to the original Toll House Inn and Restaurant; on New Year’s Eve 1984, the Toll House Inn caught fire and burned to the ground.
Ruth Graves Wakefield died January 10, 1977 following a long illness in Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Now WE know em