Parchment Paper History: How We Got Paper Perfect for Baking

In the next week or so, ovens around the country are going to be filled with all sorts of baked goods ahead of Thanksgiving. Pies. Cookies. Biscuits. And lots of stuff in between that I will probably eat, even if I have no role in baking it myself. In recent years, a key tool that will enable such rapid-fire baking with startling efficiency has gained widespread popularity among cooks. It’s called by a variety of terms—“baking sheets,” “parchment paper,” “backpapier,” and others. The question, as originally posed by fellow writer, word obsessive, and fan of nerdy things Gretchen McCulloch, is this: Where did this object, and the terminology behind it, come from? This sounded like a mystery that I could add a little clarity to.

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