The most common answer was: the Norwegians. Apparently, Norwegians love their cookies. And who wouldn't: many are fried puffs of stuff sprinkled with powdered sugar. You can eat a whole lot without really knowing you've swallowed anything. The rosettes you see here were for sale to raise money for Rad Grad, a big graduation party for high school seniors.
The seniors were also selling other types of cookies, wrapped nicely for giving as gifts, or to treat yourself as a special person.
Another thought as to why cookies are popular was: they are easy to make to serve to big crowds. Cake might be nice, but it can get messy, said my informant, who was overseeing the cookie table in Gust's department store. Space is always at a premium in Gust's, but today lucky shoppers were able to squeeze in to taste many delicious cookies made by the employees.
Across the street at Cinnabar Creek, a shop overflowing with ceramic ware, jewelry, fancy socks and gloves, and lots of books, they were a bit slow in getting cookies out. On my first visit, I stared forlornly at an empty tray. "When are the cookies coming?" I asked. "Soon," was the answer, but not the one I wanted to hear.
Later, after hearing a rumor the cookies had arrived, I checked in again. Yes! Lovely treats! "Why are cookies so popular in Big Timber?" I asked once more. "I don't know," said the barista steaming lattes. "Maybe because they go good with a cup of coffee?"
Next door, at an improvised bazaar in the Old Firehouse, Tumbleweed Teas had an enticing display of shortbread along with many tea blends to sample. Tea was the focus, and it was obvious that the cookies were an excellent accompaniment. In fact, they are used to cleanse the palate between sips.
Some businesses did not have any cookies. I remember big plates of amazing goodies at the drug store last year, but today no one there knew anything special was going on in town. They thought they might have some cookies to hand out during the lighted Christmas parade on December 11, but that is too far away for me to get excited about right now.
I was told the 3 banks in town will soon have open houses with treats, so I may get some answers there. I know these banks have employees whom I consider smart cookies indeed.
For my last visit, I returned to Gust's to make sure I had sampled the very best they had to offer. A small boy shyly took a cookie and then handed one to his brother in a stroller.
"Why do you think cookies are so popular?" I asked him.
"Because they taste good," he said.
"Because they taste good," echoed his little brother.
Well, duh. Why didn't I think of that?