The Tale of the Macaroons

by Margaret Mendel

The macaroon is a tale of three cookies and dates back to Italy circa 800 B.C. with all three sweets originating from a simple mixture of eggs and almonds that had been pounded to a paste. The earliest version of this cookie was baked in the same manner as bread, in brick ovens, perhaps smothered in hot embers or cooked on a cast iron pan over an open fire. This early version of a macaroon was the perfect food for travelers and even marched off to war with the Ancient Roman Legions. These morsels were packed with protein (though back then travelers and soldiers were not aware of its nutritional value), they were easy to carry, and had, what we call in contemporary terms, a long shelf life.