ANNAPOLIS – Forget Oreos. Or chocolate chip — it’s already claimed.
Apple oatmeal would be the official state cookie under a bill introduced Tuesday by two Cecil County delegates.
Delegates David Rudolph and James Crouse, both Democrats, introduced the cookie bill on behalf of 20 fifth-grade students at Tome School, a private school in North East.
The sweet idea originated two years ago when the then-fourth graders were working on a class project on the 50 states, said teacher Taralyn Miller. One student discovered Massachusetts had designated chocolate chip as its official cookie, she said.
That revelation apparently tickled the students’ sweet tooth.
Determined to lobby for a Free State cookie, the students researched ingredients available in Maryland and official munchie designations in other states, Miller said.
“They came up with apples and oats,” she said.
The two crops are both grown locally, and an apple orchard in Elkton where students go for field trips, inspired the students, Miller said. The children then found a recipe for apple oatmeal cookies on the Internet.
Miller brought Rudolph into the mix to push for the students’ proposal in Annapolis. Although it was by then too late to be introduced during the General Assembly’s 2001 session, Rudolph visited the students several times, giving them more homework on their idea.
“They did all the work,” Rudolph said. “They came up with the cookie most appropriate for Maryland, representing the farming industry.”
Asked why he joined Rudolph in sponsoring the bill, Crouse said, “There’s nothing more I’d like to see than students interested in learning more about their government.”
Although the students found the project fun and exciting, it has also exposed them to state government, Miller said. Still, she said the students may be “too hopeful” that Marylanders will soon be munching away at apple oatmeal cookies.
“I know that there are a lot of deeper and pressing issues that need to be passed,” she said.
It may be tough cookies in the General Assembly. Because the bill was submitted after regular deadlines, it must get through the Rules and Executive Nominations Committee before it can be fed into the typical committee schedule.
If the bill makes it to another House committee, the students will be at a hearing with apple oatmeal cookies in hand, Miller said.
That’s likely to have a lot of gastronomic appeal for lawmakers, Rudolph said, because the cookies are “delicious.”
“My compliments go to Mrs. Miller and her students for their hard work,” Rudolph said.
Similarly, it was third-grade students in Massachusetts who pushed for that commonwealth’s official cookie in 1997. A designation of a Maryland cookie would join a list of state symbols, including official drink (milk), dinosaur (astrodon johnstoni) and feline (calico), which was pushed last year by grade-schoolers in Allegany County.