Cookie Jars Are Trending, Cookies Not Included

Recipes, cash, written affirmations, and receipts. That’s what Hazy Mae retains in her ceramic cookie jars. Cookies? None. Since she was gifted her first cookie jar, a midcentury ceramic bear, a number of years in the past, the New York Metropolis-based artist has turn out to be a collector of some dozen quirky, principally classic cookie jars. “A pal of mine was like, ‘You’re the one particular person I do know with 100 cookie jars and never a single cookie in your own home,’” says Mae, whose mom saved related odds and ends — by no means cookies — in her assortment of house-shaped cookie jars.

However Mae isn’t only a collector, she’s additionally a cookie jar maker, and her work is a part of a brand new wave of appreciation for ceramic cookie jars. Boosted by ongoing enthusiasm for pottery and sculpture, new cookie jar creations are as soon as once more dotting retail cabinets, as a revived reverence for classic fashions additionally takes maintain.

Ceramic cookie jars — these flamboyant crockeries topped with ornate finials — first introduced artwork into the guts of American properties many years in the past. Turning into a outstanding kitchenware merchandise by the Nineteen Fifties, across the introduction of premade cookie dough, cookie jars remained fashionable effectively into the Nineties. However even after being sidelined as seasonal vacation decor, broad adoration for ceramic cookie jars has by no means absolutely disappeared. “The concept of a cookie jar is acquainted and it feels nostalgic,” says Mae. “But additionally, it’s new and contemporary and up to date.”

New designs in at present’s ceramic menagerie embrace rendered woodland creatures and splotchy puffer fish alongside cottagecore toadstools. Streetwear model Supreme collaborated with Pillsbury to create a Doughboy cookie jar and a line of clothes that includes the basic character, providing throwback afterschool-snack vibes to a younger technology whose baking rituals could have began with the model. Equally, Williams-Sonoma gave Mickey Mouse a refresh in cookie jar type; the consequence was cool sufficient to earn a spot in Rihanna’s kitchen. CB2’s iteration of a midcentury fashionable piece by designer Paul McCobb, whereas glossy and minimalistic, can be a nod to the retro.

At Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, Mae’s whimsical, monochromatic line incorporates authentic characters and well-known figures like Tina Turner and Iris Apfel. “I hoped that it will turn out to be a factor that lots of people did once more,” says Mae in regards to the cookie jar resurgence. “They’ll include something that you really want. Lots of people say that mine are dialog items.” Which is precisely what you’d hope for, provided that Mae’s cookie jars price round $800.

A white cookie jar sculpture of Elvis.

A Hazy Mae Elvis cookie jar, which retails for $850.
Hazy Mae

Ceramic cookie jars have been a perennial muse for the classically skilled artist. She painted photos of cookie jars, zooming in on their options, for years earlier than finally increasing her apply to sculpting them. Now, Mae handmakes every cookie jar — shaping the clay on a slab curler, then constructing the bottom and head, earlier than firing and hand-painting every — in a course of that takes about six weeks to finish.

However whereas the ceramic cookie jar has lengthy been repurposed for a lot of issues — even goodwill, as seen in current charitable effort the Cookie Jar Challenge — I’ve all the time been skeptical of ceramic cookie jars as a storage resolution for cookies. After my son and I end baking our vacation cookies each December, I rigorously heap them into a wise meals storage bag or a reusable container, by no means as soon as contemplating the cookie jar in what needs to be its second of glory.

“They’re not meant to be in there very lengthy,” says pastry chef Cheryl Day, proprietor of Again within the Day Bakery in Savannah and the writer of the celebrated Cheryl Day’s Treasury of Southern Baking. Day recommends storing do-it-yourself cookies in cookie jars for under a few days. Retailer-bought cookies, particularly in the event that they’re packaged in sleeves, might be tucked into the jar for longer. “It’s going to final a bit bit longer, and it’s going to look lots nicer.” And if cookie jars aren’t the perfect at retaining issues contemporary, they not less than can shield cookies from bugs and even tiny fingers, she provides.

However Day doesn’t truly hold her personal cookies in a cookie jar. Just a few years in the past, she bought what she describes as a “faux-vintage” ceramic cookie jar. “I purchased it as a result of I cherished it, and I ended up storing different stuff in there which was form of enjoyable,” principally workplace provides and spools of thread, she says. “Simply knickknacks.”

The enjoyment of cookie jars, for a lot of, is discovering a jar that feels completely suited to 1’s personal private style or identification. On this hunt, the world of classic cookie jars provides close to infinite choices. In Chicago, pastry chef Mindy Segal stays smitten with a classic Nineteen Forties ceramic cookie jar that she’s had for many years. “I name him Chef,” says Segal, coauthor of the cookbook Cookie Love. “I’ve had him since I used to be in my 20s and it was my first main buy into the classic world. I really like him and can by no means do away with him. He’s like my man.” Chef dons a stiff white chef’s hat and he has been dubbed guardian of canine treats. Lately, Segal purchased a second cookie jar, which lives in her fashionable Mindy’s Bakery. “I put pretzels in it and generally I put sweet in it. I don’t put cookies in it,” she says.

Years earlier than the existence of digital marketplaces, a go-to useful resource for ceramic cookie jar collectors and novices alike was a store positioned on Chicago’s North Facet known as Jazz’e Junque, owned by Mercedes DiRenzo Bolduc. Often known as the “cookie jar woman,” Bolduc has even lent her experience and cookie jars as props to the units of film classics Residence Alone and Groundhog Day. Fittingly, Bolduc’s personal — cookie-less — cookie jar is a one-of-a-kind, custom-made caricature of her and her canine. “Every kitchen ought to have a cookie jar to mirror the particular person’s character,” advises Bolduc. “It makes them blissful.”

Bolduc opened her store in 1989 — a 12 months after Andy Warhol’s assortment of greater than 175 ceramic cookie jars offered at Sotheby’s for practically $250,000 — with a give attention to classic clothes, however cleverly used cookie jars as a hook to distinguish from the opposite classic retailers within the space. “The cookie jars have been the large sellers. I removed the garments and I ended up turning it right into a cookie jar store,” she says. “Once I opened, I met those that had been gathering cookie jars for like 20 years already.”

Cookie jar gathering grew within the U.S. as most of the huge pottery producers like Brush-McCoy and American Bisque slowed down manufacturing earlier than finally shutting down within the Nineteen Eighties. Again then, Bolduc would scout newspapers for preowned jars, and reference trade guidebooks to supply those with probably the most worth. However costs for secondhand cookie jars have considerably deflated since their heyday within the ’90s when Bolduc may promote a extremely sought Howdy Doody cookie jar for $500 or extra. (Bolduc says the ceramic marionette now goes for round $200.)

The circulation of counterfeit cookie jars, replicas of probably the most priceless, helped upset the market, making some would-be consumers skittish about spending a whole lot of {dollars} for classic cookie jars, particularly when bought on-line the place most resales happen at present. However Bolduc says the costs — and demand — for classic cookie jars are steadily creeping up once more, possible due to the present ’90s revival, partnered with the rise in thrifting and classic purchasing.

Bolduc closed her storefront just a few years in the past and moved into a big stall at an antiques mall within the suburbs. Even scaled down, it’s nonetheless a classic kitchenware emporium filled with ceramic teapots, salt and pepper shakers, and extraordinarily fashionable classic Pyrex.

Bolduc’s cookie jars line the stall, sitting excessive on cabinets with their lids taped shut to forestall unintentional tumbles. From cheeky pups and charming owls to a pastel clock emblazoned with the phrases “cookie time,” just like the one seen in Monica’s kitchen on Pals, and a mammy cookie jar that recollects the way in which these on a regular basis objects have been used to bolster offensive, anti-Black tropes, the cookie jars are timestamps of American tradition.

On a backside shelf at Jazz’e Junque, nonetheless nestled in its authentic field, is a classic double-barrel jar from cookie pioneer Wally “Well-known” Amos, designed to effectively maintain two several types of cookies (or non-cookies), individually. Favourite cookie jars are sometimes described as having character, however considerate ingenuity may depart a long-lasting impression. And there are nonetheless methods to innovate. Throughout Artwork Basel final fall, Pharrell Williams’s BBC model in collaboration with artist Todd James unveiled a cheerful, Saturn-shaped cookie jar — product of vinyl.

Angela Burke is a Chicago-based meals author and the creator of the location Black Meals & Beverage.


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