Americans love cookies — and we each eat an average of 18,928 cookies in a lifetime — with chocolate chip cookies top of the list of the treats that Americans bake and consume most.
To celebrate today's National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day (yes, that's a thing) — the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel chain is giving anyone who stops by any of its 460 hotels worldwide one of the complimentary chocolate chip and walnut cookies traditionally offered as a welcome amenity just for guests.
Free chocolate chip cookies are also being handed out today in New York City, at Penn Station, and in Chicago's Union Station (while supplies last).
The twist for train travelers is that in both stations DoubleTree representatives will be handing out pairs of chocolate chip cookies, encouraging cookie lovers to join the brand's "Nice Travels" movement by keeping one cookie for themselves and giving the other to a friend, co-worker or stranger.
But, of course, there's no law that says you can't keep both cookies for yourself.
Cookie fans who can't cash in on today's free chocolate chip cookie giveaway campaign can still celebrate National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day by baking a batch of cookies at home.
"Chocolate chip cookies are our most loved cookie type," said Esmee Williams, a spokeswoman for Allrecipes.com, which currently has 1,477 chocolate chip cookie recipes on its site.
Williams attributes the popularity of chocolate chip cookies to how easy they are to make, to their broad flavor appeal — and to the fact that the raw cookie batter is tasty to snack on.
There's also the nostalgia factor.
"When we asked home cooks in our 2016 Back to School survey what was the first thing they baked, chocolate chip cookies were among the most commonly shared response," said Williams.
Wherever or however you eat your chocolate chip cookie today, take a moment to thank Ruth Wakefield. While mixing up some cookie dough at a Massachusetts roadside lodge called the Toll House Inn back in 1930, Wakefield ran out of baker's chocolate and decided to try adding bits of semi-sweet chocolate to the batter. But the chocolate pieces didn't melt into the dough, and instead of coming out of the oven as all-chocolate cookies, a new taste sensation — the chocolate chip cookie — was born.
In Wakefield's honor, in 1997 the state of Massachusetts, at the urging of a third grade class, designated the chocolate chip cookie as the official cookie of the Commonwealth, in honor of Wakefield's invention.
If you miss out on the festivities of National Chocolate Chip Day, don't fret. August has many more holidays to offer.
Friday, August 5th, is National Oyster Day, with many restaurants and bars in New Orleans and elsewhere around the country celebrating the day with complimentary and discounted bivalves.
To mark the day, "Go where the oysters are, take a trip to a local oyster farm to see where and how they grow. And buy some on the spot!" urged Cynthia Nims, Seattle-based author of "Oysters: Recipes That Bring Home a Taste of the Sea."
"Some places may have on-site picnic tables and maybe even barbecues so you can sit to enjoy them right away," she noted.
Not a fan of chocolate chip cookies or oysters?
National Bowling Day rolls in on Saturday, August 13.
On that day, Bowlmor AMF centers around the country will be offering free bowling between 10 a.m. and noon at any of the 300 bowling centers the company operates.