I have changed the name of my husband’s favourite cookies since a British friend informed me that Nig Nog Cookies might be offensive. I was saddened to hear this and did some research. Nig nog is thought to be the shortened version of nigmenog, a late 17thcentury word meaning very silly person. The original word is not offensive and can still be found in British slang dictionaries. The problem is that over time, in Britain, the term nigmenog was shortened to nig nog and became an offensive name for a black person.
My vintage cookbooks are filled with names like Rickety Uncle, Johnny Cake, Spotted Dick, Chunky Monkey, Hoe Cakes, and Nig Nogs. One by one, as I adapt and share these recipes, I research the names and change them, if I discover they are controversial.
At our house, the Nig Nog Cookie recipe has been infused with four generations of happy memories. For us, the term Nig Nog has a delightful sound and meaning. I am upset that words can be taken away from us because someone misused them.
Nigmenogs, or silly people, come in all colours, and a plate of these cookies can make a fool of anyone. My husband, the boy from the Get a Bigger Wagon books, can scarcely stop eating them. In Australia, the word ning-nong is used to, affectionately, call someone a fool. I plan to have a little fun with this when next I make the boy’s favourite cookies. Who is the ning-nong in our house, I wonder?
I first posted the recipe for Nig Nog Cookies, in June of 2013. One reader, from the USA, thanked me for posting it because she had misplaced the recipe that she had clipped from the San Francisco Harold forty-five years previous. My mother-in-law made this recipe almost 70 years ago. If you haven’t tried the recipe, you should know it falls into the “fast and simple” baking category. Melt butter in a pot with syrup, add some soda, then pour the warm liquid over the dry ingredients. Roll into balls, press flat, and place far apart, so they can melt and flatten even more. I imagine any nigmenog could make them. They deserve a better name than Crispy Caramel Oatmeal Cookies. They are buttery, paper thin, delights, which explode in your mouth. Click HERE to visit the recipe.
NOTE: I am seriously considering renaming this recipe to Ning-Nong Cookies. What do you think?
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