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It’s Official: Eat Cookies
Citizen Ship
Posted: September 01, 2023
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    Trinity Presbyterian School student Mary Claire Cook and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey pose with the new state cookie. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)
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    The Yellowhammer cookie includes pecans, oats, and peanuts. (Governor’s Office/Hal Yeager)
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    The cookie is named after the yellowhammer bird. That state bird is also called the northern flicker. (Handout)
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    Freshly overturned peanuts lie in a field in Summerdale, Alabama. Farmers grow pecans, oats, and peanuts in the state. (AP/Mobile Register, John David Mercer)
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Alabama has over 40 state symbols. These include a state nut (pecan) and a state legume (peanut). But there was no state cookie until this summer.

It all started at Trinity Presbyterian School in Montgomery, Alabama. Fourth graders learned about their state’s history and symbols. Seniors studied government.

Two states had an official cookie at the time of the students’ research. New Mexico is wild about bizcochito (bis-co-CHEE-toe). That’s a shortbread cookie topped with cinnamon sugar. Massachusetts prefers classic chocolate chip. Alabama wasn’t on the list.

The students vowed to fix that shortcoming. They held a cookie contest. Fourth graders came up with 24 recipes. They gave their final products to seniors, who served as judges. Student Mary Claire Cook won with her new goody. “It’s pecans, oats, and peanuts, and it has peanut butter filling in the middle,” she says.

Seniors named her treat the Yellowhammer. No surprise. Alabama is known as the yellowhammer state. The name pays tribute to a bird also called the northern flicker. That woodpecker is the state bird.

Russell Powell was one of the senior judges. He says the winning cookie serves Alabama well. Pecans grow in Mobile and Baldwin counties. Peanuts grow in the Dothan area. Oats grow in the central part of the state.

Mary Claire added honey and powdered sugar to the peanut butter filling for good measure. Yum.

Senior students took their idea of a state cookie to a local official, Reed Ingram. He wrote a bill that the House and Senate passed. The governor signed the bill into law on June 2.

Why? It’s important to know how ideas become laws. It’s a blessing to live where people—even students—have a voice in the laws that are passed.