Historically Speaking

Making sense of it all!

Toss Your Cookies

Posted by Elyse Bruce on December 27, 2010

Whether it’s toss your cookies or shoot your cookies or snap your cookies, it doesn’t matter how you say it — none of those phrases sound any better than the real word to which they refer.  The phrase toss your cookies is so prevalent in society that in 2007, a board game from Gamewright with that very name hit the market.

The earliest published reference to “toss your cookies” that Idiomation could find was from a review published on March 11, 1986 with regards to the CBS sitcom “Tough Cookies” written by Golden Girls’ writers Paul Junger Witt and Tony Thomas. 

Sometimes, when it’s not making you laugh, it can make you toss your cookies. The trouble with the show is that it’s trying to be believable, when the characters are unbelievable, to the point of being sappy.

In the book “The Real Nick and Nora: Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett” by David L. Goodrich and published in 2001, the following reference to “snap your cookies” is found on page 213, attributed to sometime in 1954:

Frances once wrote him saying she’d searched through shops in New York, London, and Paris for a gift to thank him with but had finally realized that no mere object could suffice.  Albert put his thanks another way:  “I know that if we spill over with love and gratitude you will probably snap your cookies all over that beautiful suite of offices you have.  So we will try to contain ourselves.”

The term “cookie” first appeared in print around 1703 according to The Oxford Companion To Food and so it’s a safe bet that no one was tossing, shooting or snapping cookies before 1703.

However, at the turn of the 20th century, newspapers oftentimes printed helpful hints for harried housewives that suggested giving sick babies soft cookies because they were more easily digested than other foods.  One can garner from that advice that a baby who didn’t keep the cookie down was a very sick baby indeed.

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