Throughout final 12 months’s vacation season, individuals began popping right into a baking discussion board on Reddit with two million members to share a photograph and ask a burning query: What on earth is that this cookie cutter presupposed to be?
The earnest solutions typically helped clear up the bakers’ confusion. Rapidly, nevertheless, the posts started surfacing so typically that one member created a subreddit devoted to untangling such cookie-cutter mysteries.
The discussion board on Reddit is known as r/WhatIsMyCookieCutter, and its reputation — membership surged this fall to greater than 250,000 individuals — says one thing about baking. With out packaging or directions, the form of a cookie cutter picked up at a secondhand retailer or rescued from the recesses of a silverware drawer could be arduous to interpret. Is it meant to be a reindeer? A dinosaur? The state of Wyoming?
On r/WhatIsMyCookieCutter, there aren’t any unsuitable solutions. As extra members arrived, the group advanced right into a self-contained world of inside jokes and operating gags. Others reply to queries by importing renderings of what a cookie cutter is likely to be, typically utilizing a drawing and portray app like Procreate to sketch out their whimsical and colourful strategies.
Over time, these drawings turned as a lot the main focus of the subreddit as answering questions in regards to the shapes. One individual finds a rose in each cookie cutter. One other sees nothing however pineapples. Just lately, the bill from the “I’m Only a Invoice’ section on “Schoolhouse Rock!” has made cameo appearances.
“Within the early days, there was a really particular objective for this sub, which was to establish the shapes of the extra distinctive cookie cutters on the market,” mentioned Tes Reilly of Washington, D.C., an avid cookie decorator and one among seven present moderators of the subreddit. “It was sensible.”
Now, “persons are not right here as a result of they’re avid customers of cookie cutters with urgent questions,” Ms. Reilly, a doctoral candidate in media psychology, added, “however as a result of the drawings are hilarious, the within jokes are comforting, the perspective is all the time constructive and regardless of its measurement or kind, it’s a very actual, very significant neighborhood.”
One spent a lot time discovering a means to attract the state of Wyoming into just about every shape posted that she felt obligated to subject a formal farewell final month when the subreddit turned an excessive amount of of a distraction. “I’m saddened to announce that I received’t be doing any extra Wyoming posts,” she wrote. “However I’ll positively nonetheless go to.” The publish obtained 1000’s of upvotes and a whole lot of feedback.
One other drew a rose in so many cookie cutter shapes that the picture turned one thing of a logo for the neighborhood, inspiring bakers to recreate it of their icing designs. “In honor of our particular good friend,” one post reads, accompanied by 9 cookies, all adorned with icing to appear like the flower.
“Reddit and Reddit customers normally get a foul rep on different social media platforms, however this subreddit proves simply how healthful customers could be,” mentioned Angelina Cannon, who lives in Middlesex County, N.J. Ms. Cannon mentioned that she didn’t have a lot baking expertise, however that she was drawn to the subreddit after following comparable identification boards, reminiscent of r/WhatIsThisThing.
“I actually wasn’t anticipating all of the artwork after I joined, but it surely positively saved me ,” she mentioned.
There are a number of guidelines, No. 1 being that each publish should be cookie-cutter associated; one other prohibits the sale of cookie cutters. The moderators attempt to not stifle creativity or enjoyable, aiming to keep up a spirited ambiance.
“I’ve been a part of some communities the place the moderators are too arduous or strict,” mentioned Garyn Greene of Ohio, who not too long ago joined the group’s moderation group after noticing the subreddit’s rising reputation. “I like ensuring it’s regardless of the neighborhood desires it to be.”
Even with the self-referential jokes, open-ended guidelines and rising sense of camaraderie, the subreddit nonetheless serves its unique objective. Final month, for instance, a baker posted a photo of the one cookie cutter that they had but to establish from a set. Folks populated the feedback with drawings of a giraffe, a “test engine” mild and, in fact, a pineapple. A stitching machine, many had been stunned to study, was the precise reply.
Not everybody appreciates the flip the group has taken, however there have been few adverse feedback, based on the moderators. To maintain individuals engaged, there are plans for contests and on-line occasions.
Whether or not you see roses in a Christmas tree or Wyoming in a circle, Ms. Reilly mentioned, there may be one factor that everybody can agree on this vacation season: “I imply, who doesn’t love cookies?”