It began as a small token of appreciation for the Illinois State University Marketing Department, and has now expanded to the oh-so-popular and much anticipated “Cookie Week.”
Jan Staley, office support specialist for the Marketing Department, is well known in the building for her baking skills. Each year, Staley takes vacation time during the week of Thanksgiving to create her masterpieces, which she shares with the entire College of Business during the last full week of classes. “It’s me, the Pillsbury Doughboy, Betty Crocker, and the Elves working together in my small, apartment-sized kitchen,” she said.
Staley includes 25–28 varieties of treats throughout the week, with a menu outlining each day. Thursday is set aside for repeats of anything left over from the week. She creates smaller cookies so students, faculty, staff and visitors can enjoy a variety of choices from the spread.
Staley has stocked up on all flavors of chips, nuts, and other cookie components and begin work in the coming days. She offers her usual favorites as well as a few new varieties each year. Annual selections include Peanut Blossoms, six varieties of fudge, six varieties of candy bark, Rice Krispie Treats, peanut brittle (courtesy of Associate Dean Tim Longfellow) and lemon cookies.
When asked why she started such a generous tradition, Staley said everyone was so nice to her the year she started working here, and she thought it was a nice way to give back. “I consider all of the faculty, my faculty. We’ve grown together for so many years.” She has always had a passion for baking, which she traces all the way back to her teen years while visiting her grandma, when she learned the important lesson of double checking her measurements.
You can find these cookies in the Marketing Department’s conference room until Thursday, December 3, this year. Thursday afternoon anything leftover will go down to the Atrium for the taking.