Jam Jams: A History Explored? (Day 120)

Like many people, I like to assume that the ethnic food I eat is unique to the ethnic group I associate it with. Thus, when I discovered that pre-packaged jam jams (two soft cookies held together by red jam) were made in St. John's Newfoundland I was a little surprised. First because I thought that nobody would produce them commercially, and second because I didn't know people other than Mennonites liked them. I asked my mother, of a Scottish/Swedish heritage, which ethnic groups made jam jams. Her reply was, "I think only Mennonites in Southern Manitoba make them", to which I told her about where the pre-packaged jam jams we were eating were from. She thought about it for a little while and said, "Our family cookbook, from Regina in 1991, has a swedish recipe for jem jems which is exactly the same as for jam jams." This of course only served to make me curious. Swedish people and Mennonites have had almost no historical mixing....at all, so of course I would be curious about how they have the same cookie. So...

I googled 'jam jams'. The first site listed was the one that produced the pre-packaged jam jams. I googled "jam jams cookies'. Only recipes came up. I googled "jam jams history". Jam history sites came up. I googled "jam jams cookies history". Only recipes again. I wikipedia'd "jam jams". They don't have it on their site. Same with "jam jams cookies" and "jem jems". What they do have is a minor reference to "sandwich cookies", some of which have jam inside the 'cookie sandwich'.

Clearly there is a conundrum in the jam jams history area. How are we supposed to know where jam jams originated if the internet won't tell us? How are we supposed to find out how two ethnic/cultural groups that haven't talked to each other (except for maybe in the last 100 years) have the same cookie? How? Who else makes the jam jam? I guess we won't find out without some deep research. Here's the recipe.

Jem Jems Jam Jams

Cream together: 1 cup margarine
                         1 cup brown sugar
                         6 tablespoon syrup
                         1 teaspoon vanilla
                         2 eggs

              Add:    3 cups flour
                         2 teaspoon soda
                         1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix to a soft dough. Roll into balls and press down or roll dough and cut with cookie cutters. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread jam between cookies when baked and press together.